A Tribute To The Late Dr. Teresia Teaiwa By Sia Figiel

Renowned Samoan novelist, playright, and painter Sia Figiel composed the following tribute to the late Dr. Teresia Teaiwa, which was read by Dr. Teaiwa's eldest son, Manoa Teaiwa, at the memorial service. 

Tatalo Mo Tere, le uo mamae
A Prayer For Tere, beloved friend

Ua maliliu toa
Ua maumau ai auʻupega o le taua

Alas, warriors have fallen
And with them, the weapons of war

Amuia e faʻanoanoa
Aua ‘e faʻamafanafanaina i latou

Blessed are they who mourn
For they shall be comforted

The moon has fallen from
The ninth heaven
The clouds are crimson red
The sun drips blood
The estuaries are empty
And the celestials shiver in the distance as
We mourn under this merciless black cloud
Under these barren Oceanic skies
Lamenting your loss
That has left us all empty
And weak
And lost
In a never-ending abyss
Of grief
Since we first heard the
Terrible, terrible news of your sudden passing
Causing ripples of shock across our
Sea of Islands

Where is the Morning Star?
Most bright and brilliant?
Most gentle and fearless?
That guided us
And gave us direction
Whenever we needed counsel
Or whenever we were lost
Like the way we feel right
Dazed and confused
In our shock and bewilderment
And why does the salt
Taste so bitter
Streaming down our faces
Stirring in our blood
As we search
Aimlessly for Nei Nim’anoa
Under this barren Oceanic sky
Marked by
Sorrow and tears
Of uncertainty and fear
Tere, where are you?
And why have you left us so soon?

Today, as we taste  this most bitter cup
And wipe the pain from our sad, sad faces
Lamenting this sudden emptiness
That has pierced and wounded our hearts
Bleeding, bleeding, under this merciless black cloud

We will remember you, dear Tere
With love, al(ofa), namaste, aroha
Aloha and loloma
From Kiribati to Pohnpei to Guahan
To West Papua
To Rabi to Fiji to Tuvalu
To Rotuma,
The Tokelaus
Tonga, Niue, Tahiti
Samoa, Hawaiʻi, Marquesas
The Solomons
Niusila, Aotearoa
And wherever these oceanic waves
Shall kiss the fanua of our mama

Farewell dearest friend
Farewell Mother of
Us all
Lover of Life
Of humanity

May your vaka sail safely into the heavens Tere
To be welcomed by the ancestors
In your new home in the skies and
As long as blood flows through our veins
And birds sing of new dawns
We find comfort in the thought
That the precious words of
Wisdom you left behind
Will feed the next generation
Who will continue your warrior legacy
And feel the mana
Of your heart
That beat always
For love
& Al{ofa}

Through Jesus Christ our Lord,


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