Government of Tokelau
Eulogy at the Family Gathering for the late Aliki Faipule Ionatana Galway O'Brien
To Be Delivered By Honourable Mose Pelasio
23 May 2015
Representatives from the Government of New Zealand
Representative of the Independent State of Samoa
Families & Friends
Ladies and Gentlemen
Firstly I would like to convey greetings and condolences of the Government of Tokelau to the family of the late Aliki Faipule Kolouei O’Brien. The Ulu o Tokelau and members of the Council for the Ongoing Government are unable to be present today due to space restrictions on the vessel sailing from Tokelau. However it gives me great pleasure and privilege to convey the Government of Tokelau's eulogy on behalf of the General Fono and the Council for the late Faipule Kolouei.
Faipule Kolouei, whom we gather to bid farewell today took great pride in his role as a member of the Fakaofo Taupulega, a member of the Council for the Ongoing Government and at the same time was a wealth of strength in supporting his wife - Limalei Ane O'Brien, their 6 children, grandchildren and great grand-children. He was born in Fakaofo on 15 July 1939 and received his primary education at the Tialeniu Primary School before spending his adult life with his family in New Zealand and Australia.
Kolouei returned to Tokelau in the late 1990s and was first elected as Faipule of Fakaofo in 1999 and became a member of the Council of Faipule at that time. In 2000 he became the Ulu o Tokelau and had the enormous task of working with his Faipule colleagues and the General Fono in shaping Tokelau’s journey for the 21st century. Tokelau was exploring new ideas and new thinking on how to govern itself at the same time was anchored in the notion and functionality of the ‘faka-Tokelau’. Together, Kolouei worked with his Faipule colleagues: Toeaina Pio Tuia and Kuresa Nasau to strengthen Tokelau’s distinct structure and voice. In 2000, as Ulu o Tokelau and Minister of Finance, Kolouei with the support of his Faipule colleagues convinced the General Fono to set aside capital of just over $600,000 for a Tokelau Trust Fund. In the following 3 years he worked tirelessly with his Faipule colleagues to formalize what is now the Tokelau International Trust Fund which today sits at $90million.
In 2002 Kolouei was re-elected as Faipule of Fakaofo and he became the Ulu o Tokelau again in 2003. Given that this was his 2nd consecutive term he had developed a distinct leadership style and relationship with his colleagues that led to some historical moments for Tokelau. In 2003 he signed on Tokelau’s behalf the Joint Statement on the Principles of Partnership between Tokelau and New Zealand underpinning each partner’s expectations of the other and creating a framework within which Tokelau and New Zealand will work cooperatively together to maximize the benefits of the relationship. In the same year, he also signed Tokelau’s cooperation arrangement with the Government of Samoa, as Tokelau slowly and carefully opened its wings through its journey.
Also in 2003 during Kolouei’s term as the Ulu o Tokelau the work on Tokelau’s self determination progressed further. The General Fono endorsed Tokelau's political option to explore a referendum on self-determination in Free Association with the Government of New Zealand. To support and strengthen Tokelau’s governance structure the membership of the Council of Faipule was increased from 3 to 6 members and was referred to as the Council for the Ongoing Government of Tokelau, which is the current name. In the same year the Council under Kolouei’s able leadership approved the Tokelau Constitution Project to develop and strengthen Tokelau’s internal self government. Under this Project Tokelau was able to develop the building blocks of its governance structure such as the Constitution, the Tokelau Flag, and the National Anthem.
During most of his term in Council at this point, from 1999-2004, Kolouei held the portfolios of Finance, Transport, Energy and Telecommunications. His visionary leadership in Energy continues to be acknowledged. In 2004, the Faipule was responsible for the Energy Department which developed the 2004 National Energy Policy Strategic Plan. This led to the feasibility study and initiated Tokelau's goal towards renewable energy.
Under his Finance, Telecommunications and Transport portfolios he was very passionate and practical at the same time. During his term in Transport, Tokelau and New Zealand commenced working on the Tokelau Ship Project. In Telecommunications, Kolouei was instrumental in negotiating a deal between Teletok and Sky Pacific for Sky TV in Tokelau and likewise possible arrangements for internet and the management of dot.tk. In Finance, Kolouei left no chance to the thinking of budget beyond what was provided by New Zealand – one of his many common responses to competing priorities during budget talks is that “we can’t spend what we don’t have”.
Some of the prudent financial management we have in place today was initiated during his term as Minister of Finance with the support of his colleagues in Council. Kolouei’s attributes allowed him to interact proactively with his Council colleagues. While he was able to put forward his views during the discussions he was also very aware of the political undercurrents and was always respectful regardless of how passionate he was about a particular view.
In 2005, it was not a surprise that Kolouei was elected again as Faipule of Fakaofo and a member of the Council for the Ongoing Government of Tokelau for the 3rd consecutive term. Faipule Kolouei became the Ulu o Tokelau for the third time in 2006 when the first referendum on the Question of Tokelau's Self Determination took place. Even though self determination was not achieved, the first referendum observed by the UN to be held on Tokelau soil was exemplary.
In 2008, even though Kolouei was not re-elected as Faipule of Fakaofo he remained actively engaged in Tokelau's development through his contribution in the Fakaofo Taupulega and as representative to the General Fono. In November 2014, the Taupulega of Fakaofo appointed him as Faipule of Fakaofo replacing Foua Toloa due to medical reasons. Kolouei remained Faipule of Fakaofo and an active member of the Council for the Ongoing Government until his sudden passing in Fakaofo.
One of his final task as Minister of Transport was to travel to Bangladesh last April for the sea-trials of Tokelau's long awaited vessel - the Mataliki. I recall the Faipule conveying to Council his excitement about the visit and similarly how pleased and proud he was as Minister with the progress on Tokelau's new vessel. The new vessel should arrive very soon and I believe we will all agree that his absence will be at the forefront of our hearts and thoughts on that day.
Given the late Faipule Kolouei's age he was quite active in exploring ways to improve quality of life. He would have been 76 years come 15th July. His political career conveys a footprint of a leader. He was humble, caring and quite determined when it comes to issues of prudent budget management, self reliance, self determination, the issue of Olohega and the sustainable future of Tokelau, including raising the Tokelau Trust Fund capital and entrepreneural initiatives. His humility was what struck people most about him. He was deeply rooted in all that is Tokelauan, yet he had a subtle familiarity of Tokelau's extended Pacific family which attributed to his keen interest in a new school of thought in Tokelau.
Regardless of his full political engagements, he drew strength and comfort from his family - his wife - Ane, their children, grand-children and great grandchildren. I take this opportunity to acknowledge Ane and the family for the contribution through Kolouei to the Government and all of Tokelau. Tokelau is indebted to the contribution that Kolouei has provided. The late Faipule's departure from our midst calls for time of reflection and gratitude for a life lived to the full and lived in all its circumstances. We best honor his memory by seeking to strengthen his attributes in our lives.
Finally, and certainly not the least I would like to acknowledge the support and assistance provided by many that are here today. We may not be able to thank you personally or repay what you have provided. On behalf of the Government of Tokelau I convey our gratitude and pray that our heavenly Father will bless you abundantly.
Thanks be to God.
Malo o Tokelau
Molimau i te Fakatahiga a te Kaiga mo te maliu o
Aliki Faipule Ionatana Galway O'Brien
Fakaleo e Huhuga Mose Pelasio
23 Me 2015
Mamalu o te Kau Valakaulia
Hui o te Malo o Niuhila
Hui o te Malo Tutokatahi o Samoa
Mamalu o Kaiga & Uo
Na Matau ma na Tamana
Muamua ke momoli oko atu na alofaaga ma fakamaihega a te Malo o Tokelau ki te kaiga o te tamana e o ia te aho tenei, Aliki Faipule Kolouei O’Brien. E heki mafai ke auai mai te Ulu o Tokelau ma na hoa i te Malo Fakaauau o na ko te he lava o na avanoa mai Tokelau i luga o te tatou paopao. Kae, e fiafia lahi ma he mitamitaga foki o oku ke kavae au ma hui o te Fono Fakamua ma te Malo Fakaauau, ke tuku atu he molimau ma te Malo o Tokelau e tuha ai ma te tamana tenei, Faipule Kolouei.
Nae lahi te mitamitaga o Faipule Kolouei ki o na tofi i te Taupulega o Fakaofo, he hui i loto o te Malo Fakaauau o Tokelau kae maihe ko ia foki he pou tu i te tauhiga o te kaiga - Limalei Ane O'Brien, te la fanau e toka 6, vena foki ma na mokopuna. Ko te tamana kia Kolouei na fanau i Fakaofo i te aho 15 Iulai 1939. Na kamata ana akoakoga i te aoga a Tialeniu i Fakaofo. Ko te lahiga o to na olaga talavou ko te fakaolaolaga o to na kaiga i Niuhila ma Auhetalia.
Ko Kolouei na toe foki ifo ki Tokelau pe ko te 1997. Ma i te tauhaga 1999 na filifilia ai ia ma Faipule o Fakaofo ma ulufale atu ai foki ki loto o te Fono a Faipule i tena vaitaimi. I te tauhaga 2000 na nofoia ai e ia te tofi Ulu o Tokelau ma ko he galuega lahi na fakafeagai ma ia i tena taimi, i he galulue fakatahi ma o na hoa Faipule ma te Fono Fakamua, ko te falitega o te malaga a Tokelau mo te 21 o henituli. Ko he vaitau tena nae hakilikili ma vakilikili ai e Tokelau ni mafaufauga fou pe vehea hona faiga malo e olatia i he vaimoana o lukitau fakaonaponei kae e fakavae i te ‘faka-Tokelau’. Na galue malohi te tamana kia Kolouei fakatahi ma o na hoa Faipule: Toeaina Pio Tuia ma Kuresa Nasau ke atili makeke na fauhaga ma te leo patino lava o Tokelau. I te tauhaga 2000, i te tofi Ulu o Tokelau ma ko ia foki nae Minihita o te Tupe, i he lagolago malohi foki mai o na hoa Faipule i tena vaitaimi, na mafai ai te Fono Fakamua ke fai hana ikuga ke teu he $600,000 mo he Teuga Tupe ma Tokelau. I na tauhaga e 3 na hohoko na galulue malohi ai ia Kolouei ma o na hoa Faipule ke fakatulaga fakatetulafono. I te taimi nei ko te moemitiga tenaa te tamana ma o na hoa Faipule o tena vaitimi kua $90 miliona i te Teuga Tupe Fakavaomalo a Tokelau.
I te tauhaga 2002, na toe filifilia ai ia Kolouei ki te tofi Faipule o Fakaofo ma toe nofoia foki e ia te tofi Ulu o Tokelau i te tauhaga 2003. Ona ko te lua tena o ana nofoakiga hohoko ma kua tau totoka ai tana hokotaga ma o na hoa Faipule vena foki ma ni ana faiga ma ni metotia faka-takitaki na auhia ai ni vaega fakapitoa o te tala fakaholopito mo Tokelau. I te tauhaga 2003 na haini ai e ia mo Tokelau te Maliliega Faifakatahi mo na Takiala o Faiga Paaga i te va o Tokelau ma Niuhila. Ko te vaega tenei e fakavae kiei na mokomokoga o na itu takitahi mai tetahi, ma ko te fauhaga foki tenei e galulue fakatahi ai ia Tokelau ma Niuhila ke lahi ni leleiga e puna mai i te faiga paaga tenei. I te tauhaga foki lava tena, na hainia ai foki e ia te Tukutukuga Faifakatahi ma te Malo o Samoa, i te kua tau fakamātala o na kapahau o Tokelau i tana faigamalaga.
I te tauhaga 2003 foki lava i te nofoakiga a Kolouei ma Ulu o Tokelau na toe iei ai ni etahi lakahaga mo he faiga malo mo Tokelau. Na pahia aloakia ai e te Fono Fakamua ke hakilikili ki he faiga malo pule fakalotoifale i he hokotaga haoloto ma Niuhila. Ke fehoahoani ma atili fakamakeke te fauhaga mo pulepulega, na fakaopoopo ni etahi hui e toka 3 ki te Fono a Faipule ma hui ai foki te igoa, e ve o na iei ai nei, ki te Fono a te Malo Fakaauau o Tokelau. I te tauhaga foki lava tena, i lalo o te takitakiga a Kolouei, na pahia alokia ai e te Malo Fakaauau te Polokalame mo te Tulafono Fakavae ke atiake ma atili fakamakeke na fauhaga mo he faiga malo pule fakalotoifale. I lalo o te Polokalame tenei na mafai ai e Tokelau ke kamata fakatatitia na poloka fakavae e ve ko te Tulafono Fakavae, Fuka ma te Viki o Tokelau.
I tana nofoakiga i te Malo Fakaauau i tena taimi, mai te 1999 ki te 2004, na taukave ai e Kolouei na tofi Minihita o te Tupe, Femalagaakiga, Malohiaga ma Fehokotakiga. Ko tana kikila mamao faka-takitaki mo Malohiaga koi matau lava i te taimi nei. I te tauhaga 2004, i lalo o te takitakiga a te tamana tenei na tukufakatahi ai e te Mataeke o Malohiaga te Peleni Takiala mo Malohiaga a te Atunuku. Na puna mai i te takiala tenei he iloiloga hakilikili ma te hini a Tokelau mo he malohiaga fakatenatula.
I lalo i tana takitakiga o te Tupe, Fehokotakiga ma Femalagaakiga nae iviivinaki ki na mokomokoga o te atunuku ka nae totoka foki hana kikila. Mo femalagaakiga i tana takitakiga, na kamata galulue fakatahi ai ia Tokelau ma Niuhila ki te Polokalame mo he Vaka o Tokelau. Mo fehokotakiga i tana takitakiga, na lahi te hao o Kolouei ki te fetukunakiga o he maliliega i te va o te Teletok ma te Sky Pacificmo te Sky TV ki Tokelau vena foki ma ni tukutukuga mo te initaneti ma te pulepulega o te dot.tk. I te Tupe, e heki fakatamala te tamana kia Kolouei. Na tu malohi lava ia ki ho he lagona fakahula e ono pahia ai he fakatupega e hilia ai te tupe maua e te tupe fakafano. Ko he tali mahani ea te tamana i na fono tupe kafai kua lahi ni manakoga “e he mafai e tatou o na fakafano he tupe e he ia te ki tatou”.
Ko ietahi o faiga mo te pulepule lelei o te tupe e fakaaoga e Tokelau i te taimi nei na kamata i tana nofoakiga i te Minihita o te Tupe i he fehoahoani kiei a o na hoa i te Malo Fakaauau.Ko na uiga ma na amio lelei ma agamalu o te tamana kia Kolouei na mafai ai e ia ke hokotaki to na va fealoaki ma o na hoa i te Malo Fakaauaui he tulaga mafana.Nae katoa tana tufa ki na talanoaga ka nae maina lele foki hana kikila ki na itu uma fakapolitiki mae i taimi uma nae fakaaloalo e tuha pe hea hona lagona ki ho he matakupu.
I te tauhaga 2005, e heki fakatekia foki te toe filifilia o te tamana ki te tofi Faipule o Fakaofo ma kavea ai foki ma hui ki te Fono a te Malo Fakaauau mo te 3 o nofoakiga hohoko. Na toe nofoia e ia te tofi Ulu o Tokelau – ko te 3 foki ia o taimi i te tofi Ulu o Tokelau – i te tauhaga 2006. I te tauhaga foki lava tena na fakataunuku ai te faiga palota fakapitoa mo he faiga malo. E ui lava e heki auhia te fakamoemoe mo he faiga malo, ko te faiga palota fakapitoa muamua tenei, i he fakamatalaga a he hui o Malo Kaufakatahi nae iei, ko te fakatinoga ke kavea ma fakatakitakiga mo ietahi fenua.
I te tauhaga 2008, e ui e heki maua e ia te tofi Faipule o Fakaofo nae tumau pea hona hao lahi ki te atiakega o Tokelau kui i te Taupulega o Fakaofo ma i te tofi uhufono ki te Fono Fakamua. I te mahina o Novema 2014, na tofia ai ia e te Taupulega o Fakaofo ki te tofi Faipule te nae nofoia e Foua Toloa o na ko ni he malohi. Nae taukave e Kolouei te tofi tenei ma ko he hui nae galue malohi i o na tiute i te Fono a te Malo Fakaauau mai tena taimi ke pa lava ki te taimi na tokehea fakafuaheki ai i Fakaofo.
Ko hetahi o ana toe galuega i te tofi Minihita o Femalagaakiga ko tanamalaga ki Bangladesh i te mahina kua teka mo na fakatakitakiga o te vaka fou o Tokelau - te Mataliki. E ko manatua te Faipule i tana fakamatalaga ki te Malo Fakaauau, te fafia ko o ia i tana malaga ma to na fiafia ma mimita i te tofi Minihita ki te tulaga kua iei ai na galuega mo te vaka fou o Tokelau. Ko te vaka fou o Tokelau toetiti pa ifo ma e talitonu au e tau uma o tatou mafaufau ki te toeaina kua he nofo mai i te aho e pa ifo ai te vaka.
I te matua na iei ai te tamana Faipule Kolouei nae lahi lava to na hao ki na hakilikiliga ki ni auala e fakalelei atili ai te olaga mo tagata Tokelau. E katoa te 76 tauhaga te matua i te aho 15 o Iulai. Ko to na olaga tautua tau politiki e matea ai ni tulagavae o he takitaki. He tamana loto maulalo, he tamana alofa ma loto toa ki na matakupu tau pulepule lelei o te tupe, vena foki ma na matakupu tau ki te ola hē fakalagolago ki he tino, he faiga malo. E heki tiakia foki e ia te matakupu kia Olohega ma he lumanaki olatia mo Tokelau, e aofia ai te fakaolaolaga o te heleni a Tokelau i tana Teuga Tupe Fakavaomalo ma ho he galuega atiake. Ko to na loto maulalo ma o na uiga tauhafia ko te mea ia kua matau ma manatua pea ai ia e tagata. Nae loloto ma makeke hana tu i na mea uma faka-Tokelau kae nae malama lele foki hana kikila ki te tulaga o Tokelau i te kaiga lautele o te Pahefika, ma i he tulaga venei nae lahi hona initalehi ki ni mafaufauga fou i Tokelau.
E ui nae lahi ni ana galuega i te atunuku, na katoa he fakamakeke ma fakamafana kiei o to na kaiga – te faletua kia Ane, te fanau vena foki ma na mokopuna. Ke kavea e au te avanoa tenei ke kavatu ai he fakafetai lahi kia Ane ma te kaiga mo te koutou hao, kui ia Kolouei, ki te Malo kae maihe ia Tokelau. He fakafetai he lava tena a Tokelau nei ma na tupulaga o te lumanaki ki na tautuaga uma a Kolouei. Ko te tokehea fakafuaheki o te Faipule ko he taimi o mafaufauga ma he taimi o fakafetai mo he olaga na fakaaoga lelei i ho he tofi na tau kiei. Ko he olaga ke kavea ma akoakoga mo tatou uma ke atili fakamakeke na uiga ma na amio lelei a te tamana tenei io tatou olaga tautokatahi.
Ko haku toe kupu, kae he veake e he taua, e kavatu taku fakafetai lahi mo na fehoahoaniga uma kua maua mai te tokalahiga kua potopoto i te aho nei. E ono he mafai ke fakafetai ma fakafetaui atu ki tagata tautokatahi pe toe taui atu foki na alofa. Kae ke kavea au ma hui o te Malo o Tokelau ke kavatu te matou fakafetai he lava.Ma, ko te tatalo, ke toe fakatumu ma fakaluaina e te Aliki na fakamanuiaga mo koutou uma.
Fakafetai, fakafetai lahi lele.