Pupi Toelupe of Laie, Hawaii

“Pupi Toelupe of Laie, Hawaii,” Friend, Oct. 1985, 28

Making Friends:

Pupi Toelupe of Laie, Hawaii

Pupi Toelupe, a four-year-old Samoan boy, lives a busy, useful life. Although he’s too young to attend school, Pupi helps with a family project to expand his family’s income. Early in the morning or late at night, six days a week, Brother and Sister Toelupe and their seven children groom the grounds of a Laie shopping center. Pupi always remembers to pay tithing on any money that he earns. He also helps tend the family’s lumala (sweet potato) patch. Ula (breadfruit), papayas, sugarcane, and coconuts are other foodstuffs that grow abundantly on the island of Oahu.

Pupi always takes his turn saying the family prayer and is unusually thoughtful when thanking Heavenly Father for the family’s many blessings. Recently, when Pupi was ill and had a high fever, he asked his father to give him a blessing. Pupi especially loves babies and openly shows his affection for them.

Pupi’s father, Pupi Alisa Toelupe, is the foreman and supervisor of maintenance for the Hawaiian Temple, the Polynesian Cultural Center, and the city of Laie. Pupi’s mother, Peka Toelupe, is the Relief Society president of the Laie Third Ward. Church members in Laie have a wonderfully caring attitude toward each other. They take turns taking care of each other’s children and believe that Laie is a great place to raise their families.

Each summer members of the Toelupes’ ward spend a week together at nearby Kakela Beach at a private campground owned by the Church. Individual tents are erected by each family, and food is shared among the families. Ward activities are held in a circus-size tent, and at the end of the week an elaborate luau is held, with pigs and turkeys cooked underground on hot rocks. Salads, special dishes, and desserts are contributed by individual families to make the evening a memorable occasion.

Photos by Dick Brown

1. Low-hanging coconuts can be reached from the ground.

2. Pupi and his father work in their lush sweet potato patch.

3. A handsome and delightful boy, Pupi is a hard worker.

4. Pupi picks up a lost Japanese glass fishing float that washed ashore.

5. Brother Toelupe keeps Pupi’s bicycle in good repair.

6. A hug for mother is not uncommon.

7. Pupi helps his family tidy up the grounds of a local shopping center.

8. Helping with a Cub Scout service project to keep the local beaches groomed is fun for Pupi.

9. Pupi admires his family’s stand of sugar cane.