Ta’afuli Andrew Fiu was born in 1965 in the village of Lefaga, Matautu, a small province of Apia in Western Samoa. In 1970, Andrew, his parents and younger brother migrated to Auckland, New Zealand.
In 1979, at the age of 14, he became seriously ill. A doctor’s misdiagnosis of his condition as a‘bad cold’ resulted in rheumatic fever, damaging Andrew’s heart valves and becoming untreatable through medication.
During the next 26 years, he underwent four planned open-heart surgeries and one unscheduled reopening.
(According to some health professionals, surviving five open-heart surgeries is a record.) On two different occasions he has died and been revived. Andrew grew up in hospital, and his years in cardiac wards have armed him with life experiences most people will never encounter. Although he must continue to live on a cocktail of medications, he thrives and continues to be an optimist.
Now aged 40, he has four children and is co-director of Pacific Mango Media and Design Agency Ltd. He is also studying for a post-graduate Diploma in Not-for-Profit Management and is active in the community.
Check out Andrew's biography Purple Heart:
Practice boy practice
He sat in the car.
The full moon outside illuminating,
The outlines of trees, a row of telephone poles
And the rusted wreck of a commodore –
That could swell an owner’s chest with pride.
As it slid, grunted then swerved on country roads once
…when in its prime.
Alas…an after thought, now long forgotten…
As if a naked blade held by a delicate white hand -
Expertly takes the flecks of paint from the body of his own heart.
You are so dumb.
Your dreams blunted
Making all those beautiful memories plain and uneventful.
The sound of her laughter haunts you still,
here in the dark.
An unwanted escapade for badly trained clowns and gypsies that couldn’t fathom why laughing is the opposite of anger.
As if ‘delight’ is only for the light skinned.
The colour white.
Which you’re not.
A son of an immigrant carpet weaver.
Though you’re comfortable languishing in this moonlit sea of dismay.
‘unbelievingly still yearning for her, still in love’
‘what do they say in your language? …Valea?’ she said once.
What do they say in the movies ‘fool betrayed’
losers like you still do not comprehend.
But still warm for those beautiful, wonderful yesterday’s
When you mistakenly believed you were ‘right’
for each other
Wake up and propel yourself…out of a ten story window.
‘He flew like a stone kite’ is what they will write about you.
To the village back home.
She never loved you.
It was all a sham.
Fake and empty as her ancestors promises to your barefoot
A nice white girl falling for you?
Like getting your cake and eating it too.
An island boy, who only recently learnt to wear shoes.
As fucked as your eloquent broken English –
And a nonexistent pronunciation.
As plastic as your understanding of real events that,
What happened to the ‘humble’ attitude bred into you
And the happy go lucky, big teeth smile and simpleton notion.
That you fell for someone so above you.
Samoan boy – you never had a chance!
So easily led.
But you’ll continue to survive.
To fall again…
To spend more moonlit nights in the dark.
Contemplating every heart break commotion.
Always but never knowing
Why fate makes you fall
For those beyond your station