My personal reflections on this blog take inspiration from the Bahá’í teachings.

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Funeral for Samoa ruler held

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Here is a BBC television news report on Malietoa's funeral.

Sunday, 20 May 2007

Head of a small state who left a major legacy

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"Blessed is the king who marcheth with the ensign of wisdom unfurled before him, and the battalions of justice massed in his rear. He verily is the ornament that adorneth the brow of peace and the countenance of security." -- Baha'u'llah


Susuga Malietoa Tanumafili II, late Head of State of Samoa, showed an example of leadership that has won him exceptional praise since his passing a week ago.


The United Nations General Assembly paid tribute to his memory on 16 May. Tonga Now reports that on behalf of the Pacific Forum states, Tonga's Ambassador to the UN, HE Mrs Fekitamoeloa 'Utoikamanu, said:


"He has faithfully served his people as Head of State of Samoa for forty-five years with great humility, distinction, and with much affection. He worked tirelessly to pursue the development aspirations of Samoa. The death of His Highness is a great loss to Samoa. His Highness’s dedication and commitment in the service of his people will always be remembered by the people of Samoa."


South African President, Thabo Mbeke called Malietoa, "an inspirational leader, richly imbued with great warmth, kindness and generosity of spirit", according to The Independent.


Fairfax journalist Michael Field wrote that Malietoa was "a very much-loved man, incorruptible, humble and funny."


Field also wrote:


"He defined the post [of Head of State] by a gracious dignity and sincere warmth of character. He was a nationalist, immensely proud of Samoa, but he was also an intelligent leader well aware of the need to offer a guiding hand rather than an oppressive one."


Malietoa's daughter Papalii Momoe Von Reiche told New Zealand television before his funeral yesterday: "My father really reflected humanity, humbleness and a great deal of love for his people. I think he'll be sorely missed."


Don Rivers told the Honolulu Advertiser that his highness also was held in high esteem by residents of American Samoa. "Whenever there was any kind of little problem, he would try to solve it," Rivers said. "He was like a glue that kept both islands together."

In tributes given at Malietoa's funeral and over the week leading up to it, the word "humble" was used repeatedly. Commentators have also uniformly emphasized that Malietoa was a unifying force in his country, through his calmness, compassion, wisdom, and ability to mix easily with all ranks of people.


Malietoa's role as Head of State was above partisan politics and the day to day affairs of government, but Samoa's unusual stability and wellbeing owes a great deal to his influence. He demonstrated that fostering unity is the key to progress.


Although Samoa is a small state, with a population of only 200,000 people, through Malietoa it has given the world an example of what can be achieved through dedication to unity.


Malietoa was a follower of the Baha'i Faith, and his record shows that he took the principles of his faith to heart.


"The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established." -- Baha'u'llah


"His service to the people of Samoa as Head of State was distinguished by the high principles, genuine compassion and personal humility that characterized the constancy of his concern for the welfare of all," the Universal House of Justice, the international Baha'i governing body, said in a statement to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Samoa.


Friday, 18 May 2007

Elegy to Malietoa Tanumafili II

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O signal Chief of Polynesia's heart
Your noble soul has done its earthly part

You brought Mount Vaea's heights abiding fame
By blessing them, with worship of God's Name

Your hands gave true acclaim to what is just
Your deeds gave rise to loyalty and trust

Resisting power's corrupting, worldly wiles
You kept the flame of discord from your isles

To have seen a reign that history will extol
Each child of Silisili, must console

Embodying the best of royal arts
Your life became a signal to our hearts

[Malietoa's funeral will take place Saturday, New Zealand time / Friday, Samoan time. See Baha'i World News Service. See also, the Samoan Government website.]

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Sunday, 13 May 2007

Humble Head of State who embraced Baha'i Faith

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The Samoan Prime Minister's office today announced the passing of the Head of State of Samoa, His Highness Malietoa Tanumafili II, who died on 11 May at age 94. His 45 year reign had made him one of the world's longest-serving living monarchs.

As mentioned by Television New Zealand in its report on Malietoa's passing, he was well known as a follower of the Baha'i Faith.

Barney Leith's blog recalls Malietoa's visit to London in 1976, where he paid respects at the grave of the late Guardian of the Baha'i Faith, Shoghi Effendi.

As an 11 year old school pupil, I marched with my school in Samoa's annual independence day parade. Malietoa stood at attention on a reviewing stand in front of the Parliament Building, in the tropical sun, acknowledging troop after troop of marchers who passed by. I think of this when I read the media obituaries praising his record as a pivot of unity for his country, through wisdom and humility.

Saturday, 12 May 2007

Recently in New Zealand

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New Zealand's Baha'i National Spiritual Assembly recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. The Head of State, Governor General Anand Satyanand, spoke at the celebration event -- the text of his speech is published on his web page.

A new website for the New Zealand Baha'i community has just gone on line. It presents a wide range of information on the Baha'i teachings and the activities of the Baha'i community in Aotearoa.

Reflected fern tree

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Reflected fern tree
Originally uploaded by John Bryden.

Most of my spare time lately has been going on a house-painting project, hence my silence on this blog. But I did take time out for a walk in the bush. (Bush = the usual New Zealand term for woods / forest.) See Flickr for more pix.


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