News 18 Mar 2020
Mālō e lelei everyone,
We hope you are all keeping well and safe. As you may know, we are currently in the San Francisco on tour with our film. Due to the unfortunate circumstances, we could no longer hold our events. We had planned to continue on our journey from the Bay Area even though we knew we wouldn't be able to have our scheduled screenings but unfortunately we were notified by our airline that we needed to return to New Zealand by the end of the week because our government has issued travel restrictions. This would mean that we would not be able to return home for another two months.
It's been a hard decision to make but for the safety of Dad (Saia Mafile'o) and our communities, we have decided to discontinue our USA journey and return home this coming Saturday, March 21 from San Francisco.
All is not lost though. We are blessed to have had two very successful public screenings before restrictions were put into place. These were at the CSM Moana program, CSM Film 140 film class and Laurel & Richmond United Methodist Church in Oakland. These screenings completely touched our hearts and we got to see first-hand the impact our film had on Pacific Islanders and diaspora living here in the USA. We were uplifted to see such a huge positive and emotional response from students and people of all ages, races and walks of life.
It has been a very heartwarming and eye opening time for us and as a family, a reassurance that this USA journey is valued and important. Even though this unfortunate event has occurred, we would still like to pick up our tour again once the situation has cleared and it is safe for everyone.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank our main sponsors, Pacific Cooperation Foundation and Toko Collective, especially Alisi Tatafu, Marina Potter, Pauline Taufa, Don Mann, Nicole Metzger, Cathryn Laban, Linda Kaua, Matt Emery and Debbie Mathews. Without their support, we would not have been able to have this wonderful opportunity.
We would also like to thank everyone here in the USA who has supported us, housed us, fed us, driven for us and spent hours of their valuable time organising, planning screenings with their schools, universities, churches and communities: Sela and Phil Tukia, Lisa Kupu, Rev. Sifa Hingano, his wife Mele and famili, Mele Faiva Manu-Blagojevich, all of the Veikoso family (Vasa's family) for the mountains of food and Keleise for cooking it all, Cheryl Hirasa, Rev. Tonga Mafi mo famili, Danny Boy and BexxBumble for our fab "For the Qultures" podcast interview, Sione and Emily from Radio Tonga, Vake Tali Folau USA, David Kinikini, Alisi Tulua, Sina Fifita, Finau Tovo, Erin Presley, Deborah Laulusa, Esiteli Hafoka, Wesley Hingano, 'Anapesi Ka'ili, Lauren Ulugia, Tiffany Smith-Anoa'i, Joshua Walker, Mara Hosoda, Karen Lyons, Robin Miller, Tarisi Sorovi-Vunidilo, Tevita O. Ka'ili, Misa Sione, Our For My Father's Kingdom production team, The New Zealand Film Commission, our family at home and a great big thank you to Russell Willis and Leo Mabini from Hawaii airlines who sorted our tickets out before the big rush, no fuss, no hassles - great communication which will bring us home safely! Apologies if I have missed anyone.
During our time here we have made many valuable connections and lifelong friends! I will be back in touch with everyone shortly where hopefully we can pick up where we left off and reschedule our screenings and tour of the U.S
Be safe everyone, with much love and appreciation, from Dad, Vasa, Robert and I, thank you all.