THE OLO LETULI LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
In honor of Chief Letuli, the PTAA will be presenting the Olo Letuli Lifetime Achievement award to two individuals who have been ambassadors of the Polynesian Arts for many years.
2018 Joey Quenga (Aug 25th @6:30pm) AND Mua "Kiki" Sotoa Solia (Aug 26th @6:30pm)
2016 JEROME FA'ANANA GREY
ABOUT JOEY "Q" QUENGA
As the first generation to be born in the United States, Joey "Q" Quenga has deep roots in the Pacific, more specifically on the Island of Guam in Micronesia. Raised by strong parents with high integrity and utilizing the Chamoru values, including I”na fan’maolek” or “making things right” Joey has had an excellent example set before him. This particular Chamoru value has played an integral role in how he conducts his every day life, personal and professional relationships.
Being the first in his family to attend college, “Q” earned a Bachelors Degree in Communicatons from San Francisco State University. While there, he was was the founder of both the Pacific Islanders Club as well as the first Pacific Islander Fraternity, Tau Omega Alpha. He has worked in the private sector, for Fortune 500 companies as well as local government. He is a twice published author, public speaker, mentor and has worked with various NHPI community based organizations around the country.
Working with various non-profit organizations throughout Los Angeles and Orange County, Joey "Q" Quenga has been serving the Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander community for over 25 years. Currently, Joey sits as Board President for Kutturan Chamoru Foundation (KCF), a recognized 501c3 since 1993. KCF was founded by his mother Regina Quenga and is currently directed by his wife, Heidi Quenga. This group was one of the first groups in the Continental United States that focuses on preserving the Chamoru Culture through dance, songs and chants. With the initial focus on Chamoru dance, exclusively, it was apparent that services needed to expand. Along with the leadership of the Board of Directors, programming expanded to providing scholarship for Pacific Islander students, Chamoru language workshops as well as a Chamoru Immersion Camp that takes place on the campuses of institutes of higher learning.
As many in our community, Joey “Q” Quenga wore many hats in addition to Board President. He is also the musical director for the performing group of the organization. He is a song writer, plays multiple instruments and is the lead vocalist for the group. KCF has performed both domestically and internationally, from Capital Hill in DC to the Festival of the Pacific on Guam in 2016.
Currently Q, along with his business partner Joe Sav, are owners & creative directors a new radio platform called Dash Radio in Hollywood California. Headed by DJ Skee, LA Reid, Mark Cuban and NFL's Adrian Peterson, Dash Radio set out to become the world's largest commercial free music platform changing the way we listen to radio. On this exciting new platform, he curates music from Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesian on a station called Island Block Radio
Island Block Radio has a global audience of over 5 Million monthly listeners and boasts the top morning show on Dash Radio, a station that is comprised of over 85 Channels including those programmed by Snoop Dogg, Kylie Jenner, Ice Cube and much more. Island Block is the only “Pacific Owned” station radio that broadcasts 24 hours a day 7 days a week providing a platform for our Oceanic voice to be heard around the world.
Whether hosting community events, international cultural festivals, concerts or behind the mic broadcasting around the world, Joey “Q” Quenga will continue to live his life by “Ina fan’maolek”, to inspire the next generation of Pacific Islanders in media.
ABOUT MUA "KIKI" SOTOA SOLIA
Mua (Kiki) Sotoa Solia was born in San Francisco, CA. in 1963. The youngest of 6 children to Father - Iole Logona Sotoa from the villages of Ta'u Manu'a, Faga'alu Am. Samoa, and Falealili Samoa. Her mother Eseta Talamaivao Sotoa, derives from the villages of Faga'alu and Leone Am. Samoa, Lepea Upolu, and Lefagaoalii Safune, Samoa. Kiki and her 5 siblings were all raised by their parents and second mother figure - Aunty Mua Amituana'i Taele Mika, who dedicated her whole adult life raising Kiki and her older siblings since birth. With three parent figures in the home, Kiki and her siblings were raised in a bilingual-bicultural home and spoke Samoan and English fluently/daily. Kiki's father, who is a Tulafale (High Talking Chief) derives from direct line of Tui Manu'a. Her paternal grandfather is the late Paramount Chief of Ta'u, Manu'a, Afioga le Vaimagalo o Sotoa (Rapi) who also served as the President of the Senate in Am. Samoa in the 60's and early 70's. Her maternal grandfather is the late Sefo Talamaivao, builder of the Leone Catholic Church, and is the son of the late Malaitai Lautaimi, older brother of Paramount Chief Fiame Mata'afa Faumuina Mulinu'u, I (the first). Kiki's great, great grandfather is Faumuina Tafagamanu of Lepea Upolu and Lefagaoalii Safune, that derives from the Sa Tonumaipea clan. Kiki is married to her soul mate, husband, band leader and co-owner of Taupou Samoa, Mike Melea Solia of Leona, Am. Samoa. She has 6 beautiful children Casey James, Cheyenne, Christian, Cyrrona, Melissa and Joshua. 3 grandchildren, Bella, Joshie, IrieLove. Kiki is proud of her Samoan heritage and honors all who paved the way for her...for today's generation and generations to come...
Kiki was raised in a “FaaSamoa” (Samoan way) home and life. Living and learning lessons of being a Samoan daughter in the home, church and community, has molded Kiki to be the Samoan woman she is today, honoring, serving and perpetuating the Samoan culture and traditions as a mentor, community leader and "aunty kiki" to many. Early on, with her father serving in the US Navy, her family travelled to numerous duty stations and for a period, lived in Am. Samoa while her father served in the Vietnam War. It was Manulele Tausala Elementary School where she started her first year in school with her mother who was a 7th grade school teacher at the time. Upon her father's return from Vietnam, six year old Kiki and her family settled in the beautiful city of San Diego (her father's final duty station). She grew up in the First Samoan Congregational Christian Church of San Diego (of the United States) founded by the late Reverend Suitonu Galea'i, where her family was actively involved. Kiki grew up in the Samoan church, youth group (autalavou) and choir, where she credits a lot of her Samoan religious beliefs, cultural practices, etiquette, protocol and influences in her life. She was honored to be the first taupou to "palu ava" in the congregation, as the daughter of a matai and autalavou leader at the time.
Kiki started dancing at the age of 12 where she discovered this was her true passion. At the age of 16, Kiki was given the responsibility to teach the church Autalavou (youth group) Polynesian and Samoan dancing, ranging from 50-70 performers year after year for major events and fellowships. She was mentored and inspired by elders of the church and talented artists, one of them being - Julia Salilo Levi (taupou, of the Am. Samoa Arts Council) along with her mother Eseta, older sisters Aiga, Eseta and Sarona who were Polynesian performers. During this time, Kiki was also active in high school as the Sweetwater High School ASB Commissioner, Captain of the Varsity Volleyball team, Varsity Cheerleader, Most School Spirit standout and Homecoming Queen!
While in high school, she pursued her love and passion further to explore Polynesian dancing outside of the church. She was inspired by mentors: Her mother and father, cousin Soaimaile Sotoa Reardan, Julia Salilo Levi Foifua, Lika Yandall, Aunty Jean Kalani, Aunty Kaui and Donna Brown and Vao Poueu. During her tenure dancing with the Yandall Sisters, she danced among iconic celebrities such as Bob Hope, Dezi Arnaz, Sr., Jockey Shoemaker, Roy Rogers, Danny Thomas, to name a few. In August of 1990 at the age of 27, Kiki started her own dance group Taupou Samoa Polynesian Dance Troupe & Band (thanks to her close and dearest friend Kathy Lane Zolezzi who encouraged and motivated her). She gives credit to her siblings, who supported her from the start, Sarona Sotoa, Eseta Sotoa, Aliitama Sotoa, Peka Sotoa, nieces/nephews Leilani & Leina Sotoa, Tiana Titialii, Malia Sanborn, Joseph Taumua, Casey James, and all her nieces and nephews from their humble beginnings... In 2003, Kiki created and launched Polyrobics (Polynesian Aerobics) a dance and fitness routine with the motto "keep it moving". Polyrobics has been directly introduced to places such as Mexico, Germany, Carson and San Francisco. Today, Kiki continues to share her love and passion for our Polynesian dance and culture with her Taupou Samoa aiga.
In conjunction with managing Taupou Samoa, Kiki (a fulltime wife and mother) she also held a full time career as an Immigration Officer and later worked in Retail and Management. She served the Samoan and Pacific Islander community in various capacities. As a community leader and advocate, she was actively involved with the Samoan Community Council of San Diego for 20 years since its induction and served as President for 10 years, active member of the Pacific Islander Association (PIFA San Diego) since 1995, and served on the Executive and Board of Directors. Oceanside Cultural Celebration Entertainment Committee, Samoan Representative of the San Diego District 4 Jacobs Neighborhood Foundation, Performing Arts Director/Choreographer for the Samoan Community Council Dancers for 16 years. Kiki was recently the Polynesian Outreach Specialist for the Oceanside School District for 3 years, mentoring and outreaching to middle and high school students in cultural enrichment and life learning skills. She served on numerous Pacific Islander committees and events in San Diego, such as the Am. Samoa Political Status Study Commission in 2006, Spear headed the Samoa Disaster Relief San Diego 2009, Vaka Voyagers of the Pacific, USA Rugby 7's, Miss Tausala San Diego Pageants, Performing Arts and Culture Groups exchange and endless community outreach events. Kiki continues to judge and emcee for various Polynesian pageants, competitions and festivals and will wear the hat of "ambassador" and "advocate" wherever she goes. Today she and Taupou Samoa represents the islands of Samoa annually at the Pacific Islander Festival-San Diego.
Taupou Samoa group has been blessed to travel abroad. In 2008, she led her Taupou Samoa Dance Troupe as an Am. Samoa Delegation at the 10th Pacific Festival of Arts. They have travelled abroad to Am. Samoa, Tahiti, Bora Bora, Germany and Mexico and will travel to this coming November Samoa to perform at the 2018 Samoan Jazz and Arts Festival in both Apia and Tutuila. Kiki has been a professional entertainer for 40 years and a community leader and advocate for over 20 years. All her years of serving and outreaching, she has sacrificed a lot of her personal and family time to serve others and the community. She is grateful to her wonderful husband Mike and her children for their patience and understanding, most of all for their love and support for many years.
Today, as she is honored and blessed to receive this distinguished award, she dedicates the Olo Letuli Lifetime Achievement Award to her husband Mike Solia and their children Casey James, Cheyenne, Christian, Cyrrona, Melissa, Josh and IrieLove, for allowing their mother and wife endless hours outside of the family and home to serve the community and our people. She also dedicates this award to her parents and aunty Mua for teaching and instilling her true Samoan values that made her the person she is today.
"This award is for them because without them I wouldn't be standing here today... I always had a desire to make a difference in this world, not sure at what capacity that would be until I realized, God gave me the gift, the wisdom, the platform and showed me the way... Always put God first in all things - to be a great leader is to serve and not be served"
Samoan proverb: "O le ala I le Pule o le tautua" In order to lead, one must serve
Learning a foreign language, and the culture that goes with it, is one of the most useful things we can do to broaden the empathy and imaginative sympathy and cultural outlook of children.
- Michael Gove