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Vaimasenu'u Zita Martel’s acceptance speech

Vaimasenu'u Zita Martel’s acceptance speech for her “Star of Oceania” award this past Tuesday, Dec. 3, in Honolulu. The event organized through the UH Pacific Business Center Program, celebrates the contributions of Pacific Islanders and residents whose heart and service is testimony to their love for the islands they call home.


I am indeed honoured to have been chosen by the University of Hawaii, as a recipient of this prestigious award, Star of Oceania, for Courage Leadership


I am humbled to be honoured in this Hawaii haven for soldiers and their families, the Hale Koa. I feel the spirits of the Polynesian warriors of old. I feel the spirits of the brave soldiers - women and men - who have given their lives with courage. Why? Because "Hale Koa" in my country Samoa means, The House of Courage or The House of Warriors. In Samoan - "Fale Toa". To receive the Courage Leadership STAR OF OCEANIA award at the Fale Toa is truly an auspicious occasion.


Today, 23 years ago, I gave birth to our eldest son, Xavier Paulo Aloalo Martel, in American Samoa. To receive the Star of Oceania award on this day which marked the day I became a Mother and Mentor makes this award truly special.


The Stars have aligned on this day for me and I thank all my Family and Friends - those who have departed and those with me - for Everything.


I thank Dr Tusi and his hard working team of organisers for tonight


Here we are gathered on the ancient shores of Waikiki, a place of renewal because of her sprouting waters, and I would like to think that the core teachings of my parents and ancestors, which became my points of reference or compass throughout my life, are the same in our other Pacific cultures for we are connected by the same beautiful Pacific Ocean.

O oe o le teine Samoa. O le Feagaiga oe a lou aiga ma lou nu'u.
You are a girl of Samoa. You are the Covenant of your family and your country.

O oe o le teine Samoa. O le ioi mata oe a ou tuagane, aua o le Feagaiga oe.

You are a girl of Samoa. You are the pupil of your brother's eye, because you are the Covenant.

There is no other point of reference that runs stronger and deeper than this. It is my compass. It's a lei of moso'oi sewn by my parents and my ancestors that binds me to our traditions, gives me the strength of a man and the feminine power of a Samoan woman warrior.

To all our young girls and women gathered here tonight...don't be afraid to be brave and venture out of your shell. You will be surprised at how strong you are as a girl and as a woman. If you are passionate about something, jump into it. Don't be the one who experiences life through an APP on your smartphone or iPad.

Keep those you love very close to you. Because the higher you rise as a woman, the harder and challenging it becomes.

Dare to be different.
Dare to express the passion that's bubbling inside of you.
Because you Can!
Dare to express the fierce feminine warrior princess in you.
If you don't, you end up being a frustrated and unfulfilled woman.

Find and know your Gift. My Gift is that I can lead, inspire and mentor young people to win, because I mix in traditional beliefs, feminine wile, intelligence and mental training to grow winning teams...with loads of Love.

Your Intuition. Listen to it. Nurture it. My deep instincts are sharp when I'm out on the deep ocean and I go into a race knowing what others don't because I have honed it. I have listened to it.

Take Courage by the horns and shake it. Tell yourself you can do it. And you will fly. For when you Own the Fierceness within you, you Fly.
And my God you will not be stopped.

I dedicate this award - The Star of Oceania - to all the courageous young people of Samoa and of the Pacific, who charted their voyages on a simple prayer ...I CAN.


Vaimasenu'u Zita Martel