Nanumea Island

Gazette -- January 2009

Po o Tefolaha Celebrated

Major Nanumean Festival

Nanumean children, Brisbane, 10 Jan 2009 (photo, Pese Maatia)See Suva Stories and Photos
Nanumeans around the globe recently celebrated their national holiday with feasting, dancing, speechmaking, and church services. The "Day of Tefolaha", Po o Tefolaha, January 8th or 9th each year, marks the final conversion in 1922 of the last adherants of Nanumea's traditional religion to Christianity. For this reason, the day is also known as Aso Pati, "Aso Pentekoso Alo Tamaliki o Tefolaha mo Iesu."  See Origins of the Po o Tefolaha, Page 4...»

2009 Po o Tef, Nanumea
Faatele in Nanumea, January 2009 (Photo from Milo and Hamola Teuea)

Tefolaha's Trickery revealed!

Deed may be investigated

Pai and Vau's reef crack Mark on reef made by Pai and Vau
When interviewed by this newspaper's roving reporter, Ms. Pai and Ms. Vau claimed that the island of Namea (also known as Nanumea) was taken from them by trickery. They say that one day a macho warrior arrived at the shore and brazenly told them the island was his.

Though they tried to convince him otherwise, Tefolaha was insistent. Finally, he proposed a guessing game to try to learn their names. Ms. Pai and Ms. Vau gave futher details ...

see Pai and Vau, Page 4..

What is a LOKO, Anyway?

Worm famous in Nanumea

Whatever you think of Tefolaha's deception of Pai and Vau, in most versions of the story he used an innocent worm to help him.

This little creature, a "loko" in the Nanumean language, is a small tree maggot (also known as leti in Niutao, sina in other parts of Tuvalu), the larvae of a beetle or other insect living high in the trees of Nanumea's forests. It is common to see these tiny worms hanging from a slender bit of web, dangling as if floating in mid air. Lokos are simple creatures, manu o te vao, hurting no one.

Next time you are in the bush at Nanumea, look up -- you may see a loko. If so, don't hurt it. They are creatures from the mythic past!

see Tefolaha stories, Page 4...

New Video draws Praise

George Samuels Unveils Pai and Vau Animation

George Samuels, son of Marion Valasi Samuels and Sachin Roy Samuels, graduated in Decemeber, 2008 from RMIT, Melbourne with a degree in Multimedia Systems (Design). George recently put on the web his new video depicting the coming of Tefolaha to Nanumea. The short animated film features the two first ladies of Nanumea, Pai and Vau, who were the original inhabitants of the island and, many believe, formed the island with sand from a kete they brought with them eons ago.    Click on Video at right to play -->>

Nanumea Celebrates

from Milo Teuea

The Po o Tefolaha celebration in Nanumea itself was a rich mix of tradition. Church services, daytime feasts (aganuu) for Nanumea's school children and those who returned home from the holidays, a taro weighing competition, and an all night faatele in the ahiga were part of the holiday this year.

Milo's younger sister, Hamola, has recently returned from Nanumea with a great set of photos.
Hamola's photos from Nanumea...» 


from Feue Tipu and Selina Manuella

We've received a full report on the Po o Tefolaha celebrations by the large Nanumean community in Suva. A program and description from Mr. Feue Tipu (and a fine set of photos with captions by Selina Manuella) are found on Page 3.
Report and Photos from Suva


by George Samuels

On the 17th of January, 2009, Nanumeans from the Melbourne area gathered at the house of Fiuape & Suialofa Poutongo to celebrate Nanumea's holiday with dancing, feasting, and a showing of George Samuel's new video about Tefolaha, Pai and Vau (see video above). George's report, and photos from Melbourne


from Pope Ato Raponi and Emmi Telolomi

Mauri o!! The Nanumean community in Tarawa, Kiribati, celebrated the Po o Tefolaha this year with a mix of Tuvaluan and Gilbertese tradition, including, of course, dancing and delicious foods... Story and photos from Tarawa...»


from Pese Maatia

The Po o Tefolaha celebratation in Brisbane on January 10th brought together Nanumean residents of the city and visitors (including Kokea Malua and his wife Katalaina).

Pese's photos convey images of a spirited faatele, dancing, and children playing outside.
Pese's photos from Brisbane...»