Federal Way resident Angel Mulivai-Tobin has made it her mission to share the Polynesian culture and help others regardless of their background.
The 2001 Thomas Jefferson High School graduate said the Polynesian culture – which includes American Samoa, Western Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, Tahiti and Cook Islands – often gets a bad reputation with the people having anger problems.
“There are some bad apples,” said Mulivai-Tobin, who is of American Samoan descent. “There’s always going to be some, but what I grew up in, and the majority of us grew up in, the Polynesian culture is all about love, respect, sharing, togetherness, family. I wanted to bring that to share with the public. We are not all bad people. Actually the majority of us, we love, and we love hard. I think bringing that forth to the community shows that we’re not all in here for ourselves. It is not just you’re black, you’re white, you’re Polynesian.”
Through her business, Left Coast Promotions, Mulivai-Tobin has hosted a number of Polynesian events throughout Western Washington and is planning the second year of a Polynesian Holiday Bazaar from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16, at Green River College, 12401 SE 320th St. in Auburn.
“The first year was in Bremerton,” she said. “The reason we had it out there was we hosted the Kitsap Pacific Islander Festival out there as well. We did that in August, and everyone wanted something else out there.”
This year’s bazaar, which is free and open to the community, includes entertainment, vendors and pictures with Moana and Maui, characters from the Disney movie, “Moana.”
Lelumanai Ole Pasefika, the Pacific Islander club and dance team at Federal Way High School, will open the bazaar with a performance.
Mulivai-Tobin helps with the club throughout the year.
“It is pretty much teaching the kids of their culture – the respect aspect of it, all the teaching what we were brought up with,” she said.
Toys, donated by businesses, will be distributed to children in need in the community at the bazaar.
In addition to sharing the Polynesian culture, the bazaar also promotes local businesses. Along with Left Coast promotions, Mulivai-Tobin and her husband, Earlondo Tobin, own and operate Left Coast Street Wear, a screen printing and retail store in The Commons.
Knowing the struggles of being small-business owners, they want to share their knowledge with others.
“You hit so many challenges,” she said. “There’s not a lot of resources where you can go out there and say ‘how do I do this? What if I do this?’ We’ve opened up here being like a platform where people can come and say ‘hey, what can I do to get this started?”
Mulivai-Tobin is planning a Polynesian Festival for Aug. 18 at Town Square Park.
“Because I have been helping a lot of Polynesian events around Washington state, I decided maybe it is time for me to do one for my city of Federal Way,” she said.
The event will feature vendors, food, entertainment and local Polynesian artists.
“It is kind of like a big luau, but just a mixture of different cultures,” Mulivai-Tobin said.
For more information about the bazaar, visit the 2nd Annual Polynesian Holiday Bazaar page on Facebook.