Be strong, have faith, says Tua

By Vaimoana Tapaleao

David Tua, whose aunt died in last week's tragedy, stands in the rubble of the Sinalei Resort. Photo / Greg Bowker
David Tua, whose aunt died in last week's tragedy, stands in the rubble of the Sinalei Resort. Photo / Greg Bowker

Heavyweight boxer David Tua stands solemnly at the beach he knows well, looking defeated.

The Sinalei Resort has for many years been his choice of residence when visiting his homeland of Samoa, and he has become a well-known guest.

Now, it is in ruins.

"I don't know what to say," he says, shaking his head slowly.

Tua touched down at Faleolo Airport on Wednesday night after he and cousin Va'aiga "Inga" Tuigamala decided to come to see how they could help those affected by the tsunami.

Scanning the beach - where piles of rubble and dirt now lie - he surveys the damage and stands in front of a large post, looking out to sea and seemingly trying to come to terms with the damage caused only by water.

He approaches villagers and hotel staff, who stop doing their chores for a second to shake his hand and congratulate him on his win over Shane Cameron in Hamilton last weekend.

When he offers his condolences, the locals nod and smile softly, knowing that Tua lost an aunt in the tsunami.

"He's a good man," Margaret Schuster says, after meeting the Tuaman.

"He really feels for us and that's what he said. We are all going through the pain together - him too - because he lost his aunty. But we - the whole of Samoa - is in pain."

Fa'ailoa Savea, leaning on her broomstick, has tears in her eyes after meeting her familiar guest.

"He told us to be strong and to have faith," Mrs Savea says, wiping her eyes with her shirt.

"Seeing him here gives us strength and it gives him strength, too, to come here and see everything and meet us."

Being a regular guest, Tua had quickly befriended the owners of the popular resort, Joe Annandale and his wife Tui.

Mrs Annandale died last week, when the tsunami struck the resort, while she was trying desperately to save a number of children who were on the beach.

Tuigamala, at seeing the destruction for the first time, said the damage was a hard thing to look at.

"What are you supposed to feel?

"It's just tragedy after tragedy - there's so much damage. It's unbelievable."

The pair are also accompanying the Fa'ataua o le Ola - Lifeline Samoa - organisation, offering counselling services to villagers affected by the tsunami.

- NZ Herald

How you can help

Pacific Cooperation Foundation
Deposits can be made at at any Westpac branch. All the money raised will go to the Samoan Government

Red Cross
- Make a secure online donation at redcross.org.nz
- Send cheques to the Samoan Red Cross Fund, PO Box 12140, Thorndon, Wellington 6144
- Call 0900 31 100 to make an automatic $20 donation
- Make a donation at any NZ Red Cross office

ANZ bank Make a donation at any ANZ bank branch, or donate directly to the ANZ appeal account: 01 1839 0143546 00

Oxfam - Make a secure online donation at Oxfam.org.nz
- Phone 0800 400 666 or make an automatic $20 donation by calling 0900 600 20

Caritas - Make a secure online donation at Caritas.org.nz
- Phone 0800 22 10 22 or make an automatic $20 donation by calling 0900 4 11 11

TEAR fund - Make a secure online donation at tearfund.co.nz
- Phone 0800 800 777 to specify Samoa the Philippines or Indonesia. You can also donate at CD and DVD stores.

Mercury Energy - Donate at mercury.co.nz
or text the word Samoa followed by the amount you wish to pledge and your Mercury account number to 515 or by calling 0800 10 18 10.
Habitat for Humanity Habitat for Humanity is asking for help with the clean-up habitat.org.nz

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