It was an emotional moment for historian and author, Dr. Patricia O’Brien, on Wednesday evening.
She was at the National University of Samoa standing in front of dignitaries, members of the Diplomatic Corps, and invited guests in the Samoan Fale there, and she was about to deliver her presentation on her book, ‘Tautai", about the life and history of Ta’isi O.F. Nelson.
To her far right sat the former Samoan Head of State, and grandson of the late Ta’isi, Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese Efi, looking on and adding to what was a stirring, poignant moment for Tuiatua, as a direct descendant, and for author, Dr O’Brien.
After four years of pouring herself into this project, Dr O’Brien had finally brought Ta’isi home.
The Australian High Commissioner, H.E. Sue Langford, gave the introductory remarks, and spoke about how hard it was for her to put the book down, while reading it.
She told the audience that in ‘Tautai’ one can expect a story rich in historical detail and a moving one at that, with personal insights into the man, Ta’isi O.F. Nelson, his life and his ambitions.
Although serious historical research was undertaken in the writing of this book, one only needed to take a look at the bibliography to see the number of primary, and in some cases unpublished sources, as Her Excellency emphasised that “family was at the heart of the book.”
In her opening speech, Dr Patricia O’Brien, became overwhelmed with emotion as she brushed away tears, recalling the thousands of hours spent journeying all over the world, of researching and writing, meeting with other research experts as well as the descendants of Ta’isi.
She took us back four years ago in 2012 to the moment she “discovered” Ta’isi O.F. Nelson, in Pacific historical documents while she was on a J.D. Stout Fellowship at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand.
From there, she sought permission of the then Samoa Head of State, Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese Efi, to proceed with the autobiography.
Her journey in bringing ‘Tautai’ to life began the moment her feet hit the ground at Faleolo Airport, as she was on her way to meet with Ta’isi’s grandson, Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese Efi.
As the evening came to a close, Dr O’Brien remarked how incredibly overwhelmed she was to be in Samoa.
In calling the book ‘Tautai’ which plays homage to the significant Pacific Pioneer and Navigator in Ta’isi O. F. Nelson, who lived and travelled all over the world forging new pathways in business enterprise and growing his immense wealth, it was not lost on everyone that this ‘Tautai", had journeyed one more time across the seas but this time round, the coordinates were homebound.
A prayer service was held at the Tuaefu Gravesite yesterday, and the book, "Tautai, Samoa, World History and the Life of Ta'isi O.F. Nelson," is launched this morning, 10am at the Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi building.