Pereira Lands and Title
By the turn of the century 1900, the Pereira strains of lineage are known to be an ethical, solid family unit with much wealth in the form of land and community reach. From Samoa, Upolu, city center of Apia, stretching approximately 3 kilometers, as far west to Savalalo, to Fakaofo and Nukunonu in Tokelau, lands are vast and copra production has given passage to free accommodation for all the family. Over time, much of the vast area of land held by the Pereira’s in Apia is gifted back to the people, for such is the good character and Tokelauan influence within the Pereira family.
It is conjecture, but with the benefit of hindsight it may appear that some Church administrator may have unassumingly held rank over a piece of land and consequently unjustifiably retained a hold over the properties, receiving the fruits of sales that were not directly theirs to receive, nor the land theirs to sell. According to surfaced documents, Togafu’afu’a, a grand swamp, and prime quality land in Mulivai were also part of the greater Pereira land accumulation. Being of sound character and a devout Christian, José Pereira gifted the grounds of Mulivai to the Catholic Church.
Later, Lafaele Pereira, eldest son of José Pereira, and his wife Rovine, live and raise their family on the Togafu’afu’a plain. As a swampy unforgiving area, the family works the land diligently, raising it up to become fertile grounds, suitable for growing food, farming animals and housing families. Church records provide testimony to the fact that the land is gifted back to the people to use.
The events that follow are sketchy at best but information passed down to future generations of the inequities of the Church’s ministry in seeking compensation for the land once gifted by the founding family seem to follow a typical pattern of land accumulation.
As the caretaker of the family estate, Lafaele’s family land on the Togafuafua plain is somehow absorbed by the Church administrators. Whether or not this was by mutual agreement is unclear. However, in order to placate the family, an arrangement is made and compensation is sought by the Church in the form of a payment of £5,000. Grandson of Lafaele, Etimani Pereira, now living and working in New Zealand, is contacted by his father Sipiliano Pereira to appropriate the funds in order that the family land will not become privatized and sold out from under them. The funds are secured and Sipiliano gallantly takes the news to the administrators to secure the purchase.
What Sipiliano was to find out was that the Church Administrators had no intention of forfeiting their acquisition and refuse to honor the agreement. To cement the deal the Church would now require £10,000, to which a now disillusioned Sipiliano replied in disgust with a resounding “Forget it”
Consequently, Sipiliano Pereira, a gentleman of sound character and formidable Tokelauan based communal family traits, fed up with the turmoil growing in Samoa, makes the decision to relocate himself and his wife Elisapeta to New Zealand, to be away from the influences of greed that are spreading throughout the realm.
1963 AD – Inosesio Pereira, a desendent of the Pereira dynasty is an intelligent businessman. Being located in Savaii for 5 years, studying and practicing his nurtured skills, he is well aware of the historic legacy that is his lineage. Worried that certain family titles may be lost through the sands of time, he secretively organizes a Matai Title for Etimani Pereira (his cousin), against the wishes of Etimani’s father Sipiliano.
Aware of an upcoming Marist football tournament, Inosesio Pereira knew that as rightful heir to the Matai Title, Etimani was on the team and would soon be in Apia from New Zealand. Inosesio Pereira makes plans to have the historic ceremony take place upon his arrival. A surprised Etimani lands on the shores of Samoa to be spirited away and instructed to write his speech.
The day arrives and Etimani is escorted with honour to a traditional ceremony in the main fale at Mulinu’u, finishing in Apia at a signing ceremony of registration before British governmental representatives and Kingly Chiefs. Witnessed by the three great Kingships of Tamasese, Malietoa and Mata‘afa, the blood of which runs through Etimani by the lineage of Sipiliano Pereira and Elisapeta (Stowers) Pereira, the acknowledgement bears witness to the rightful entitlement of the Pereira familys’ noble claim and is written into history.
Etimani Pereira was the eldest son of Sipiliano Pereira, who was the eldest son of Lafaele Pereira, who was the eldest son of José Pereira, who was the eldest son of the Patriarch ‘Antonio Pereira Vitorino de Barros’.