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Samoa Cancer Society / MediaPosts  / Alise Speech – Matavai Concert NZ 2019

Alise Speech – Matavai Concert NZ 2019

October 03, 2019


Ou te faatulou atu I le pa’ia lasilasi o Samoa ua aofaga potopoto I lenei faamoemoe taua.

O le’a taalolo ni o outou sa ma faiga ona e faigata o le I’a e iviivia.

E le mafai foi e lo’u tagata faatauva’a ona agaia lo outou pa’ia sautualasi, nei sala se gagana ona avea lea ma so’u lape, I le tatou mafutaga I lenei po matagofie.



Lau Susuga I le ta’ita’I o le sauniga,

Lau Afioga I le Minisita, Hon. Aupito Su’a William Sio & Faletua

Afioga I Minisita ma sui o le palemene o Niu Sila ua tatou faatasi

Taitai ma Pule Sili o matagaluega o le malo, faalapotopotoga tuma’oti, kamupani ma pisinisi, aiga, uo ma e masani.

Talu ai o lo’o filogia le tatou faamoemoe o le’a taumafai atu se upu I le gagana faaperetania.

Theme:      Love is bigger than Cancer- a Tribute to Manamea Schwalger

 Details:      Three days ago back home, the Honorable Minister of Health, Faimalotoa Kika Stowers in a letter of endorsement declared the Pinktober month officially open. Pinktober being the official breast cancer awareness month for the Samoa Cancer Society. The theme of this year’s Pinktober says –‘Together we can make a difference’, ‘Ia tasi I suiga manuia’.

The awareness, educational and patient support  work of the Samoa Cancer Society in the past 20 years, depends very much on a mutual relationship with its stakeholders at all levels of the community. It means continuous collaboration with the health sectors, to help the cancer affected patient, in navigating the Health system to get the best medical advice and referral for that patient and family. It means seeking and maintaining partnerships that support one of its constitutional mandate, to promote  education  and  other  relevant  programmes  which  assist  people  to  improve  and increase control over their life.           Ultimately, it means accepting the helping hands who give freely of their time, money and expertise to make the difference that you and I wish to see in our country, and that is to reduce the number of people who develop cancer and to help ensure the best quality of life for people with cancer.

We don’t have to look at the statistics in details to realise the alarming increase in the number of people that have been diagnosed, living with or have passed away from cancer  of any kind.

In our small community, someone will know of a family member, a friend or a colleague that has been affected in some capacity by cancer. The effects can be overwhelming for everyone concerned. Some will mourn quietly and accept the journey ahead of them, while others had or have taken it upon themselves to be champions and advocators in our community to send the message home about cancer.

Once such champion, is being remembered tonight. She is none other than the late Manamea Apelu Schwalger.  Around this time in 2017, this champion spared nothing in her efforts to rally our people, especially women, to promote and reinforce the importance of early detection, recognising the signs and symptoms, seeking medical advice and learning to do breast self-examinations. This champion, despite being in the advance stages of breast cancer, was instrumental in influencing the governments’ approval to have the Town Clock painted pink as a beacon of pink light for Samoa to see and get themselves checked.

She did not hesitate to join the Samoa Cancer Society in its outreach programs to be the voice, to testify to the horrors of cancer and to the beauty of love and support that comes with palliative care. Most importantly, is her encouragement to be proactive and be aware of your health to alleviate such illness, as she has had to endure until her passing earlier last year.

Manamea left a legacy that continues to inspire many in our community to advocate, to do as much as possible, in any means within and beyond our reach whether as an individual or together to make a difference. To strive for a cancer free Samoa.

During the month of October the Samoa Cancer Society with the support of its stakeholders have launched several activities to spread breast cancer awareness in Samoa. This included Lighting up the town clock with Pink Neon Lights that was switched on Tuesday evening and will continue to be a Pink Beacon to remind our people on the key messages of early detection: Vave iloa, Vave Vaai se Fomai & Vave vili mai.

On October 1st and Oct 25th, the Public Service Sector have been asked by the Honourable Prime Minister to wear a pink attire or pink ribbon on those days in support of Pinktober.

One other key activity is conducting education and awareness outreach to village communities, workplaces and youth groups who request for the society to provide information and resources. Too often times the Society is at the receiving end of more individuals diagnosed with breast cancer for example and present late to the hospital with stage 3 and 4  cancer, a reason for the poor survival rate. Whilst there are several factors that contribute to late presentation amongst Samoan women, the best that the Society can do is to continue to provide the necessary information through various media platforms but most importantly being in touch with the community through awareness activities.

The support for patients in terms of non-clinical palliative care, continues to be a priority for the Society who conducts weekly visitations to the homes of cancer patients.

However, tonight’s event ladies and gentlemen is one testimony of the impact of Manamea’s journey on a woman leader who is the mastermind behind the Matavai Concert that has brought you and I together this evening to witness.

She has crossed the ocean from Sydney Australia to Auckland New Zealand with a delegation of more than 60 dancers, teachers, students and parents of the Matavai Pacific Cultural Arts of which she is the Managing Director. Last year the Matavai group travelled to Samoa for this outreach and conducted the Inaugural Matavai Concert in honor of Manamea.

Whilst tonight’s event pays tribute to Manamea, I am confident that through the display of dance, music, language and creative arts, you will convey the message that  has brought us all together to make the difference we seek for our people, and to realise, that LOVE is and will always be bigger than cancer.

May I take this opportunity to say FAAFETAI TELE to you all for your show of love and support here tonight on behalf of the President of the Samoa Cancer Society, the board, Chief Executive Officer and team. I would also like to acknowledge with sincere appreciation the tireless efforts, commitment and dedication of the Matavai Cultural Arts Group to make tonights’ event a success.

Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in giving a round of applause and wishing all the best for tonights’ performance, Mrs MaryJane McKibbin Schwenke & Matavai Cultural Arts Group.

Manuia le tatou po, Soifua