Samoan Prime Minister praises Dwayne Johnson for his role in Hobbs & Shaw
Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi has praised the High Chief Seiuli, better known as Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, for his role in the latest blockbuster movie Fast and Furious: Hobbs & Shaw.
“I take my hat off to Seiuli,” said the Prime Minister in his weekly radio programme on National Radio 2AP.
The Prime Minister was particularly impressed with the Samoan haka, or Siva Tau, in the movie lead by Seiuli, who encountered harsh criticism on social media for not speaking fluent Samoan.
He added that speaking Samoan fluently is secondary to him, but for Seiuli to be the spokesman for Samoa to the world through his efforts on the world screen speaks volumes.
“For a few seconds, Seiuli immortalised our country, our people and our Samoan identity on the silver screen.”
Tuilaepa dismissed some critics’ response to Seiuli’s initiative as simply a promotional campaign to boost the movie’s ratings and earnings, commenting that “it can not to be compared to the spin-offs to Samoa in terms of tourism exposure.”
The Samoan leader said he was proud of the former World Wrestling Champion-turned Hollywood super star and that he deserves the recognition of the Government and People of Samoa.
“Our people residing overseas are world-renown for their natural talents and flair in their respective career and field of expertise,” said Tuilaepa.
“And Samoa’s footprints in Hollywood is the latest historical chapter,” he elaborated, noting that he will relay Samoa’s appreciation to Seiuli.
Tuilaepa said for Samoans like Seiuli, their contribution to Samoa “will no longer go unnoticed by the Samoa Government”, with the implementation of a new Register of Samoans residing worldwide.
The Registrar will be utilised as the informational data base for the Government to refer to in its deliberations on future national issues, as well as to acknowledge Samoans based overseas for their accomplishments and contributions to the welfare of the country.
Seiuli’s grandfather is the late God Father of Samoan professional wrestler Fanene Leifi Pita Maiava, while his mother Feagaimaleata Fitisemanu Ata Johnson hails from Lalomanu Aleipata. Seiuli and his mother last visited Samoa over a decade ago, where the late Head of State, His Highness Malietoa Tanumafili II, personally bestowed Johnson with the Honorary Seiuli Matai Title.