We asked our Brand Ambassador, former all blacks legend, Sir Michael Jones a few questions about beautiful Samoa and Taumeasina Island Resort. Sir Michael Jone's family origins are deeply rooted in the village of Moata’a, where Taumeasina Island Resort is located.
1 – What would you recommend as the must see tourist attraction in Samoa for first time visitors?
Robert Louis Stevenson homestead and Gravesite, a wonderful celebration of the famed Scottish writer affectionately named Tusitala (teller of stories) by Samoans, and connection between old Samoa and colonial times, plus worth the walk to view a panoramic vista of Apia and the surrounding districts. There are so many stunning natural beauty spots, so to do something different like visit a historical site (museum) and tramp up Mt Vaea to read the inscription on RLS grave and enjoy the view, is a must.
The Robert Louis Stevenson Homstead
2- Go to Samoan food dish?
Palusami (onions, coconut cream in taro leaves cooked in earth oven the traditional way-Umu) and taro
3- You were knighted this year for your charities and contribution to people in the pacific, can you tell us a little more about your charities?
I am priviliged to be involved with a number of Non-for-profit agencies and charities that focus on youth development and education. The Village Trust is a non for profit that we set up 20 years ago to deliver mentoring and education programs and a drop in centre for Pasifika youth at risk in Auckland . The Pacific Peoples Advancement Trust was set up 10 years ago, and established the first Pacific island Secondary School in NZ, which we call “Pacific Advance Senior School” or PASS. I am involved in numerous other charities either as a board member or a patron. It is a privilege to serve my community in these various capacities. Ultimately I want to play whatever part o can to see our people thrive and prosper and to be the Head and not the Tail.
4- What’s your favourite memory of Samoa?
Swimming at Taumeasina island and playing beach rugby on the beach which now sits beyond the front pool as a young boy with cousins and local village boys.
The beach off Taumeasina Island
5- How did you become the brand ambassador for Taumeasina Island Resort?
I was approached by Sir Kostas Constantinou OBE, who knew I had a strong connection to Taumeasina (my family all live around the current hotel site in the village of Taumeasina/Moata’a, and my family chief title, Savae, is from Taumeasina.
6- What is your favourite thing to do at Taumeasina Island Resort?
Swimming and snorkelling in the warm vibrant South pacific ocean that gently envelopes Taumeasina… and eating all the divine food at the restaurant of course!!
Why do you think tourism is so important to Samoa?
It has an economic multiplier effect, local businesses and service providers benefit, employments is created both directly and indirectly , everyday Samoans all share in the fruits of the industry, and Samoa’s beauty is showcased globally.
Why should people come to Samoa over other Pacific Islands?
I am biased but I feel Samoa has one of the most authentic and vibrant cultural offerings and offers experiences that reflects and embodies true Polynesia, both ancient and contemporary.
Why Taumeasina Island Resort, rather than any other hotel or resort in Samoa?
Again I am biased, it showcases the beauty of Taumeasina island and the wonderful backdrop of the Upolu mountain ranges. It feels like you are a million miles away, on a secluded island, but you are 5 minutes from town, no one can offer that package.
What is your favourite Samoan Legend or Tale?
Sina and the eel, because it culminates in our village of Taumeasina/Moata’a, with a happy ending, and signifies the beginning of the coconut tree, the famed “tree of life”, which has sustained our Pacific people for generations, and still brings nutrition, resources and benefits to Samoans and our economy today.