Tuvalu News

Naseli Kaitu Passes Away

Feb 26, 2007

We are deeply saddened to receive the news of the passing of Helena's father Naseli Kaitu on February 26, 2007 at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva Fiji.

Naseli was born in 1933, the son of the late Kaitu and Mesepa. He is survived by 4 daughters and 5 sons, and many grandchildren.

Naseli was a respected island elder. He was a carpenter by trade, and was involved in many building projects throughout the old Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony, previously working and living in such places as Banaba (Ocean Island) and Onotoa (now part of Kiribati) and Vaitupu in Tuvalu, before returning to Funafuti.

We had great pleasure of visiting Naseli and the family during our return visit to Funafuti in October 2005.

Brian, Helena and Robert (Lopati) Cannon
Langley, BC, Canada

Photos Below (c) Brian Cannon unless noted

Mr. Enele S Sopoaga, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Tuvalu to the United Nations, wrote the following:

"As well as an uncle to me, I was at Motufoua School when Naseli and Moiaga and family visited on mission to conduct construction works for Ekalesia Elise in the school. He was such a humble but very hardworking man. I have put together a poem to express how Naseli must be remembered by those boys and girls in the old Motufoua"

The Builder
(by Enele S Sopoaga, Motufoua 1966-71)

In the heat of the sun
And the cruelty of the conditions
He persevered for the Ellice sons
That the school of the Islands
Be more livable under the sun
All but for a weekly ration of pulaka

He built houses, he improved houses
Scratching from the little timbers
Re-cycling from the fallen houses
The first stools and dining tables
To the School with his skilled hands

He built the ‘Lady Field’ House
The Taj Mahal of its Days
Magnificent in its pose
That the daughters of the Islands
Be allowed to excel in talents

From nineteen-sixty seven
To nineteen seventy-seven
Motufoua was on transition
From a floor ridden dining canteen
To the start of its modernity

Naseli Kaitu was the Man
The Builder who never complained
No single boy, no single girl
Should not remember his name
Rest Well Naseli, we treasure your Fame

We, Ex-Motulu of the years
Can never say enough our fakafetai to Naseli and Family

Naseli at Vaitupu  
Naseli working at Vaitupu, 1975. Photo: Robert Stitt

Naseli and family, 1979  
Kemba, Esela, Naseli with Penina, and Moiaga, 1979

Kaitu and Mesepa  
Kaitu and Mesepa, 1979

Naseli with fishing gear
Naseli with fishing gear, 2004. Photo (c) Jocelyn Carlin

Naseli and family, 2005  
Puga, Mofeti, Naseli, Helena, Pua, Moefanoga, Penina, October 2005

Naseli, Brian, Kemba
Naseli, Brian, Kemba, October 2005

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