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Mele Taumoepeau


Mele Taumoepeau

Mele Taumoepeau

1978, English
Principal, Liahona High School

While successful as an educator, perhaps Mele Taumoepeau's greatest achievement is as matriarch over generations of posterity who have attended BYU-Hawaii. She has sent three of her 10 children to Laie for their own instruction (with one more coming).

Raised by her aunt on the island of Haapai, Taumoepeau enjoyed reading early in life. Books were plentiful at home, and the local store sold used books for "a few cents."

When she arrived on Oahu, a Polynesian Cultural Center employee met her and other students at the airport. Soon that man was her husband! On campus she refined her love of literature, and recounts inspiring professors such as President Shumway and Lance Chase. She also worked in the Tongan village and the gift shop at the PCC, where there was a "real feeling of brotherhood."

After graduation, Taumoepeau pursued a master's at the University of Hawaii. Every weekday she awoke at 4 a.m. to catch the bus. However, in 1981 she left the program and returned to Tonga with her husband to replace an ailing teacher. At Liahona High School, she progressed from English teacher to vice principal, then to principal in 1996.

I appreciate my experiences in Laie more now than when I was there. In the English department I learned the critical thinking skills that have helped me as an administrator. I got to know the gospel for the first time, and I had chances to be a Relief Society teacher. With the Lord, everything is possible, and I believe that I must still have something to do. The Lord will direct in His own way and in His own due time.