A former Member of Parliament for Fa’asalele’aga No.2 and also a former Deputy Speaker of the House in the early 1990’s, Tuilagi Namulauulu Vavae Leo II has passed away in his village of Fatausi, Savaii.
The high chief and father has made an impactful contribution to Samoa and leaves behind a legacy of legends amongst a family that has, and will no doubt continue to put Samoa on the map, for generations to come.
Tuilagi Namulauulu Vavae Tuilagi is survived by his wife Sua Aliitasi, six globally well-known rugby players, and the just as famous Tuitogamatoeoloipola Julie Tuilagi.
Eldest son Lauaki Fereti Tuilagi tells Samoa Global News their father had only just celebrated his 75th birthday last week, on the 2nd of November.
The “Tuilagi Brothers” has become an international brand in itself, that has placed not only Samoa, but Savaii and the villages of Fatausi-Fogapoa on the global map as multiple journalists find it intriguing to trace back the roots of the Rugby Internationals.
Towards the end of his lifetime, the Samoan politician and village High Chief, Tuilagi Namulauulu Vavae became famous as the father of 5 Manu Samoa internationals, and England’s star Centre, Manu Tuilagi, also now tagged for selection in the British & Irish Lions tour to South Africa next July.
Lauaki “Freddie” Tuilagi is a double international for Samoa in both rugby union and league, and founder of “Tuilagin”. His younger brothers Henry, Alesana, Anitele’a and Vavae have all pulled on the Manu Samoa jersey while Manu Tuilagi continues to make his mark in the UK.
Four sons continue to live with their families, play their rugby and have developed illustrious post-rugby careers with business ventures across England and Europe.
Second son Tuilagi Henry and his wife are founders of “Chief Events” in the South of France; an events and catering company that focuses on south pacific and polynesian cuisine.
Unable to travel due to border restrictions, Lauaki has shared beautiful images of their final moments with their father, through group facetime chats on social media.
“Things end but memories last forever and that becomes a Treasure!! You lived your life to the fullest Chief, Manuia lau malaga Papa…Agalelei le Alii.”
Namulauulu’s children are seen on video chat zoomed in to their father’s final moments, with Lauaki Freddie playing the guitar and leading songs of praise, as they farewell their father from afar.
“I love you Papa, the real Chief, the High Chief Tuilagi ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ ”
In a special tribute published separately by Samoa Global News, Lauaki recalls his father’s decision in 1986 to leave behind a developing career in Apia as Deputy Registrar Registrar the Lands and Titles Court, and move to Fatausi Savaii to serve his country as High Chief Tuilagi.
“My Dad never openly showed his pride for his sons but we didn’t need to hear those words to know that his love and support were unwavering”, shares Lauaki.
“His love, our mother Aliitasi was always by his side..Thank you Mom for all your love and support to Papa”.
Tuilagi also took up the title of Namulauulu from the village of Fusi, Safotulafai, and the legacy of Namulauulu Vavae will be remembered for generations to come as the ‘unique warrior’ who served his village and constituency to the best of his abilities.
Current Member of Parliament for Faasaleleaga No 2, Namulauulu Leota Sami Leota offers his deepest condolences to Mrs Su’a Aliitasi and the family; and says Tuilagi Namulauulu Vavae will be sorely missed in Village Council meetings.
“He always spiced up our discussion with his witty sense of humor but when things get serious we relied a lot on their “Tofa Saili and their Faautautaga Alualu Mamao”
“He is a great orator and I have learned a lot from him not only as a senior matai but a former politician”.
“Talofa e ua leai nei se tasi o poutū o le saofaiga a Safotulafai. May he rest in peace and love”.
Eucharist Cathy Tuilagi, posts a tribute, “Mapu atu ia oe i aao o lou matai. Ua matua malie mata e vaai i lau tautua i totonu o si tatou aiga, nuu, ekalesia ma le atunuu…faafetai le fai aiga lelei..Your legacy will always be remembered..Fly High Legend. E Manatua pea Oe”.
There are also many light humoured tributes depicting Namulauulu Tuilagi’s unique sense of humour, remembered for his directness and straight forward approach, and ability to always leave a room breaking out into laughter, whenever he is around.
At this time of Covid19 border restrictions, they are unable to travel home and attend his final funeral and last service, scheduled for next Thursday 19th November.