Aniva Alumnus Tagaloatele Fialauia Toailoa-Amituanai Luatuanuu (or Fia for short) has one really long name, and an even longer list of endeavors to go with it. A dedicated health professional, community and church leader, mother and dedicated wife, Fia can now add “Shortland Street actress” to her ever -growing list of achievements.
Earlier this year, Fia starred on Shortland Street as a sick diabetic women in need of treatment. To diagnose her situation, the dashing Dr Avia portrayed by Samoan actor (Robbie Magasiva) came to her rescue and conversed with Fia’s character in Samoan to establish the cause of her distress.
Albeit a brief moment of fame, the opportunity to take up a one off speaking role on the popular soap opera was a chance to prove to her children that ‘nothing is impossible’!
Though to act is something Fia would love to do more of, Fia is dedicated to her professional career in the health sector. Earlier this year, she landed a new job with the Royal District Nursing Service (RDNS) where she is the Pacific Cultural Advisor. RDNS is a 127-year old Charitable Health Care organisation providing home-based support service and restorative home care for the elderly.
“As the Pacific Cultural Advisor, I work closely with the Maori cultural advisor. Together, we advise management on cultural matters as well as supporting staff to ensure the cultural needs of our Pacific and Maori clients are met.”
Outside of her nine to five job, Fia is actively involved in civic and community roles. Her tireless passion to serve her community stems from her leadership mantra: “Ola e ‘au’auna” or “Live to serve”.
She is the Samoan faufautua (facilitator) for the Incredible Years Parenting Programme (I.Y.) run by Family Start, Manukau. She also holds a number of community and governance roles including Acting Chair of the Pacific Islands Board Auckland Central (PIBAC), and Leader of the Women’s Ministry Remuera SDA Church. She is a member of the Auckland City Council Pacific People’s Advisory Panel; life member of the Samoan Advisory Council and founding member of the Auckland Ethnic Council.
If serving and advocating for her community isn’t enough, she is also studying and working towards achieving Master Trainer status in the Standford University SME health programme run by the Counties Manukau District Health Board.
Fia attributes her leadership style and moral compass to her parents. Raised in Samoa in the village of Laulii, Fia spent her early childhood in Lano, Savaii before moving back to Lalovaea in Upolu where she lived for most of her life before moving to New Zealand. Her father also has roots in Tufulele, Saipipi and Nofoalii, and her mother is from Lano, Satoalepai, Lelepa, Satupaitea and Faleasiu.
As well as the influence of her parents, Fia names His Highness, the late Head of State of the Independent State of Samoa – Le Susuga i le Malietoa Tanumafili, and the late Sir Robert Muldoon as two of her most admired leaders.
“His Highness was renown for his humility despite royalty (or perhaps because he is royal), kindness, honesty and love. He was esteemed by leaders from around the world for these qualities,” says Fia.
“As for Sir Robert Muldoon, I admire him because he was an honest and principled leader who stood for what he believed in. He was a straight shooter reflecting the fierce intelligence and iron-will of his maternal grandmother Jerusha.”
Fia completed the Pacific Health Leadership programme in 20xx. She says the opportunity has made a significant contribution to her leadership development.
“It was an honour and a privilege to be selected for the programme. The experience has been invaluable and what I learned was relevant to my everyday work life. The on-going Aniva Alumni support is priceless.”
“I attend the Aniva programmes to learn the latest – not only from its learned leaders such as Dr Debbie Ryan and Dr Api Talemaitoga, but also from fellow alumni and the remarkable guest speakers.”
“The alumni programme also provides a safe environment to re-charge and be re-affirmed as well as the fellowship with our Pacific leaders from around the country.”
If you missed out on Fia’s moment of fame on Shortland Street, be sure to look out for her in episode 26 of Hercules where she acts as a Roman woman!