• Uncle Tavo

Toni Rea's Photos of Matahau from 1969

Greetings everyone. Just to accompany the photos of Matahau from 1969 which are posted in our photo gallery, all thanks to the slides that I got from Tony Rea - fakafeta'i atu Holo ki Ha'a Havea Lahi. Just by looking at the photos (47 in total), 1969 seems to have been a momentous year for our little village: the building of a new church for the Catholic community, the building of a new church for the Wesleyan community, and of course the arrival in our village of a few 'palangis' (VSAs) from New Zealand, one of whom was a young handsome teenager named Tony Rea. I will ask Tony to annotate those photos for the benefit of the 'younger generation' as I myself cannot be so sure of who are in them. But here are three that I've picked out - you may need to show these to your parents:


FIRST PHOTO: You may recognize 'Ekuasi and Fatai, Poini, Lua and Tony - with Lupe between Lua and Tony. And then you have the four little ones in the middle. Between Lua and Poini is Visilia and the smiling one (guess who) is Tita, both sisters seem to enjoy the curly blond hair of the smallest guy - that's Napa who is not amused by it. The other little guy next to Napa looking formal in his blue tupenu and sote puletaha is me (Tavo). The guy missing from the photo is Tevita and my guess is that he's probably the one taking the photo but only Tony can confirm that. Both Lua and Lupe are wearing 'Apifo'ou uniforms but looking at Tony, this is probably the day he left Matahau to return to NZ. One last remark - the shoes. Only Tony, 'Ekuasi, Poini and Napa are wearing shoes. The first three is fine but Napa? 'Ai pe loto ia ke lelei tamaiki! hehe!

SECOND PHOTO: The star of this one is undoubtedly Napa in her girly yellow dress! And then you have Tita to your left (is it red eyes or too much kaukautahi?). To the left of Napa is Visilia already looking like an Indian girl, and then the two big guys facing us are Lua and Petaia or Valoa (identical twins and thus difficult to distinguish). Looking from behind is Mele'ufi and just behind Lua is Soane and Folau Pofaiva (without a shirt). And then you have the guy holding the knife (probably me) and Tevita looking straight at you. I cannot figure out the little girl in front of Tita (Paame?). Anyway, my guess is that this was at a kaime'akai (picnic) of the Catholic primary school at Monotapu but again only Tony can sort that out for us. Have they eaten or not, I'm not sure but Tevita's look would suggest that they could not have waited much longer.

THIRD PHOTO: Believe it or not, the lady with the rasta hairlocks is Lotiola who is here holding her firstborn baby 'Analena Ta'ai, and are standing in front of Tony's hut at home in Matahau, what became known in later years simply as "Fale Toni". Not to be overlooked is the little guy to your left who seems to have found solace in a freshly cooked piece of yam from the 'umu (earth oven) - that's our Patele Lutoviko who may have arrived from the other end of the village just in time.


FOURTH PHOTO: Well, this one is from another set of slides belonging to Kara's father, although also from the same year 1969. The little one in red is Kara Tavo being held here by her eldest brother Paul. Kara's dad left behind literally thousands of slides. In my free time (a rare luxury these days), I try to convert them to the digital format and am only half-way through. But it was while doing these that I remembered Tony's slides. Thanks again Tony.


'Ofa atu 'aupito mei 'Iulope mama'o,

Uncle Tavo & Kara

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