Mr. Epati Tamati - A Courageous Radio Announcer

By New Zealand News Group (Originally in English) 2009.12.02

At the time the 8.1 magnitude earthquake hit the Samoa Islands region on September 29, 2009, radio announcer Epati Tamati was working in a beachside radio broadcasting studio in Apia, Samoa. Knowing there would likely be a tsunami on its way to his area, most of the city evacuated to higher ground, yet he decided to stay at his post, stating “God will protect me.” Through radio broadcasts, he immediately made emergency announcements of a possible tsunami and urged people to move quickly to safety.

Later, when a powerful tsunami struck the Samoan Islands region, the southern coasts of the country were the most heavily affected, while Apia, where Mr. Tamati’s work place is located, remained safe. His courageous act may have saved the lives of hundreds of islanders who evacuated because of his warning.

During that day, he remained in his studio, which quickly became a vital point of contact for families of the affected. People were able to phone in to leave a message and even be broadcast on air. Family members all over the country and also in other parts of the world, including the USA and New Zealand, called into the station and were able to receive news of their loved ones.

Mr. Tamati’s heroic story was published in newspapers in New Zealand. Soon afterwards, he was recognized by Supreme Master Ching Hai with the Shining World Hero Award. On December 2, Golden Year 6 (2009), our Association members presented the beautiful crystal Award plaque to Mr. Epati Tamati along with a letter from Master, a Hero T-shirt and a selection of Her books, CDs and DVDs. During the Award ceremony, attended by his family members, Mr. Tamati spoke of his love for his fellow citizens and trust in God as the motivation for risking his life on that day. He sincerely thanked Master for acknowledging his good deed and humbly,said, “I work for the people of Samoa, and whatever happens, I do my job.”

Thank you Epati Tamati for showing such selfless and noble courage in a time of disaster; God bless you and your loved ones. We pray that the lives of all those affected by the tsunami will quickly return to their normal, peaceful state.