Dear Friends,
I was in the middle of writing a newsy newsletter when the news of the Earthquake and Tsunami hitting Samoa came in. I have decided to put that all on the backburner for now as our attention is on what is happening in Samoa and what we can do to help.
As you know, Opetaia was born in Alamagoto, Western Samoa and lived there until he was 9 years of age. He has been very worried about the situation and unsure of what to do. We have been watching nervously for updates on the internet , tempted to hop on a plane and fly across but not sure if we could really provide much assistance by doing this. This morning we have had some good news – Joe Toomata (Samoan born ,Te Vaka bass player from 2001 – 2006), called to say there was a Massive relief concert being planned in New Zealand to be held at the end of October/beginning of November. The venue is unconfirmed as yet but it will be one of the large outdoor entertainment Stadiums in Auckland – either the Vector arena or Mt Smart Stadium. The concert will be huge and at $40.00 per ticket is expected to raise a lot of money to help Samoa. Although nothing can compensate for what the people have suffered, at least we can do something to help them rebuild their homes and lives and have a future. Te Vaka has been asked to perform and of course we have said yes. We are just waiting on airfare sponsorship to get the Australian based Te Vaka members and the performance equipment across to New Zealand. The event organizers will be talking to Air New Zealand, if anyone else has any ideas or can help please let us know. If you would like to contribute in any way please let us know also.
The track Alamagoto was written by Opetaia after he returned to his village for the first time in 2001 – this is what he wrote in the inside cover of the Nukukehe CD …”to visit the place where I was born, and visit both my Mother and Father’s Islands has been a source of great inspiration to me. I was amazed to see that the houses in my village are still the same – thatched roof, no walls, one room fits all. Happy childhood memories came flooding back. I experienced the people, the music, the dance, the awesome hospitality and I left there hoping that this will always be there.”