Tokelau mourns government minister, Pulenuku, Panapa Sakaria

SetefanoSakaria300v Nukunonu the village and Tokelau the nation are saddened by the passing of one of its long-serving leaders, Honorable Panapa Sakaria, aged 57.

He passed away on 30 July 2016 on his home atoll, Nukunonu, but will be put to rest later this week in Wellington, New Zealand.

Pulenuku Sakaria was one of the six members of the Council for the Ongoing Government of Tokelau (COG), and held the portfolio, Minister for Support Services.

In honouring a request from his wife Apolonia, who currently resides in New Zealand, Tokelau’s government has granted her wish for Pulenuku Sakaria’s final resting place to be in Wellington where his family will lay him to rest at Whenua Tapu.

The Ulu-o-Tokelau, Aliki Faipule Afega Gaualofa, council members, senior government officials, families and friends will accompany Pulenuku Sakaria to New Zealand provisionally on Wednesday this week.

As transportation arrangements are finalised, Pulenuku Sakaria’s body is resting in state at Ligaliga Funeral Home in Apia, having arrived from Tokelau yesterday.

While in transit, the Tokelau community and officials in Samoa will hold a memorial service on Monday, 8th August at 7pm at Ligaliga Funeral Home.
Since his passing, the residents of Nukunonu have been in mourning for a week. Their sadness heightened by the knowledge he will be buried outside of Nukunonu.

“For the past few weeks, the weather has been poor on Nukunonu, overcast and raining. But on the day Nukunonu bid Sakaria farewell, the weather was clear, still and beautiful,” said the General Manager for Nukunonu Taupulega (Council of Elders), Mr Aukusitino Vitale.

“It just made it a very poignant farewell for us, especially those of us who will end up taking him all the way to New Zealand.”

An avid sports enthusiast, Hon Sakaria played a major role in a variety of sports. It was his ‘sports’ drive that led to sports inclusion in Tokelau’s proposed new office complex that will be built at Matautu, “that will be one of the things that will continually remind us of him in the many, many years to come,” said Mr Vitale.

“It’s one of the reasons why it was quite emotional for the pall bearers carrying his casket – they were our young sports people. They will miss him a lot.”

Mr Vitale added that Pulenuku Sakaria was a man of action and vision, attributes that all villagers are reminded of by the many landmarks and achievements visible on the Nukunonu landscape.

“His influence is also visible outside of Nukunonu through the many positive relationships he forged nationally, and with many other influential people in Samoa and beyond.”

More information? Mr Aukusitino Vitale, GM Nukunonu Taupulega, Mob: +685 7703375
Name:   Setefano Teonea SAKARIA
Formally addressed as: Pulenuku Panapa Sakaria
Date of Birth:  22 October 1959
Position: Elected Pulenuku for Nukunonu
Portfolios: Minister for Support Services
Pulenuku Sakaria is one of the six members of the Council for the Ongoing  Government of Tokelau established in November 2003. 
The Minister received both his primary and secondary education at the Matiti Primary School in Nukunonu.

His Honourable was elected for the first time as Pulenuku (mayor) in 1999 to 2001.  He was re-elected for a second term in office in 2008-2010, to be followed for a third term in 2011 to 2013. He won the seat again for the fourth time in 2014. 

As Pulenuku (mayor) Hon Sakaria oversees all village affairs.

The Pulenuku is married to Apolonia Sakaria.  Mrs Sakaria is a nurse by profession. They have seven children, four girls and five boys.