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  • Uncle Tavo

About that name: 'Alamani 'Atelea

If you click here, you will have noticed that Grandpa 'Ekuasi was sometimes known by another name, that is, 'ALAMANI 'ATELEA. In his Tongan passport which he used to travel to the USA and NZ in 1982 (I was with Toni & Seini then in Wellington), his name would be the usual "Soane Patita 'Ekuasi Tavo" but then underneath that name in his Tongan passport, there was this "a.k.a. 'Alamani 'Atelea" (a.k.a. of course for "also known as"). Hence the one million dollar question: why, how, and where did that name come from? It is difficult to know of course but I hope to get some more info on this from the more elderly of the Fale'aisi clan in a few weeks time at the reunion. For now though, just two things:

First, this could have happened because of a Tongan tradition whereby the paternal aunties (= mehikitanga and also the "fahu") have great privileges over the children of their brothers which included being able to name their brothers' children. One of 'Ekuasi's paternal aunts/mehikitanga was called Vanisi who was married to somebody in the Ha'akame area with the name 'Atelea. Could it be then that this aunt or mehikitanga of Grandpa 'Ekuasi was the one responsible for the name "'Alamani 'Atelea", perhaps in honor of her own husband? The children of this aunt are the "Fonohemas" of Ha'akame.

The second thing that needs to be said about the name is that Grandma Fatai generally used the name (according to my recollection) when referring to Grandpa 'Ekuasi in a positive light or when she was happy or proud of him. I've heard her used this expression of Grandpa 'Ekuasi a few times: "Ko e kai ia 'a 'Alamani 'Atelea!" But the fact that Grandma Fatai was positive about the name may already say something about the origin of the name, i.e. it probably originated from someone she was happy with? For one thing, whenever Fatai and 'Ekuasi had their rows, and there were quite a few, your Grandpa would normally take the road to Ha'akame and only returned after he had cooled down. Anyway, you need to take what I am saying here with a pinch of salt as a lot of this is speculative rather than factual but a story to be continued..'Ofa atu,

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