“Aue! ua maliliu toa, ua tagi ai nei le fatu ma le ‘ele’ele. Ua talai ofu tau, ua vala’au le Atua ia Levao lana auauna.”
Alas! A Great Warrior has passed! The stones & the earth weep. The warriors armour has been removed. The Lord has called his servant, Levao, home.
It was our honour to have worked alongside Matua Levaopolo Seupule Mupopo Siaosi Tiava’asu’e. A great humanitarian and dedicated community leader who played a major leadership role in spearheading Pasifika cultural governance within the mental health and addiction sector, and the establishment of a strong Pasifika mental health and addictions service within the Waitemata District Health Board. He was instrumental in the establishment of New Zealand’s first District Health Board Pasifika Matua Council, which has played a significant role in advising and guiding health policy, as well as Le Va’s work.
Levaopolo and his fellow Matua council members have also provided cultural interpretation and guidance to mental health acute services as well as the New Zealand Police for Pasifika service users in acute stages of mental unwellness services. Over the years, his work has contributed to the successful transition of hundreds of Pasifika individuals and families through mental health and addiction services, not just in Waitemata DHB but in the wider Auckland metropolitan.
Service is a key Pasifika cultural value, and one that Levaopolo practised every day in his work and in his communities. In the Samoan culture, there is a value of servitude that is reflected in the very well-known proverbial expression — “O le ala i le Pule, o le tautua” — the pathway to leadership is through service. Levaopolo’s vision and legacy was always to mentor and nurture young emerging Pasifika leaders to serve their communities with integrity, honour, and alofa (love). Today we can see in our emerging Pasifika leaders the positive impact he has had on their success and their values-based leadership and service.
The Pasifika Matua Council of the Waitemata District Health Board and northern region advise Le Va on all of its work.
They provide cultural and spiritual knowledge, wisdom, protection, safety and guidance for our projects, organisation and staff.
Levaopolo Seupule Tiava’asu’e was Le Va’s matua and led the Matua Council, who are recognised Matua or chiefs from each of our ethnic Pacific communities.
- Matua Bill Teariki – Cook Island
- Matua Rev Elder Suamalie – Tuvalu/Tokelau
- Matua Neville Luisi – Niue
- Matua Taulanga Kupu – Tonga
- Matua Qoriniasi (Tiko)Tuifagalele – Fiji
- Matua Koroseta Maiava – Samoa
- Matua Papali’i Seiuli Johnny Siaosi – Samoa (Consumer Advisor)
- Levaopolo Seupule Tiava’asu’e – Samoa (Chair)
- Matua Aufata Aufata – Samoa
- Matua Sioeli Vaiangina – Tonga
- Tina Lanifole – Niue
- Matua Koringo Strickland – Cook Island
- Matua Moaseniatu Sioli – Samoa
- Matua Malesala Malesala
- Matua Sione Feki – Tonga
- Matua Sione Tupou – Tonga
- Matua Sene Fuimaono – Samoa
- Matua Mahe Ha’unga – Tonga
- Matua Paul Fakalago – Niue/Samoa
- Matua Tafesilafai Lavasii – Samoa