Station identity departs
‘‘I know inmy heart I've done what I'm supposed to have done in my life, because my kids have happy lives.’’
The next stop on the life line for Simanu Sa is retirement.
Samoan-born Sa came to New Zealand in 1984 with his four children to give them a better start in life.
Now, after 23 years as the face of Porirua railway station’s office, the Whitby resident has sold his last ticket.
In his own words, he began at the station as a nobody and wanted to leave the same way.
‘‘When I came in, no one knows me. So, when I go, nobody ever knows that I was here.’’
But he was left a little embarrassed when colleagues, as well as Porirua mayor Mike Tana and deputy mayor Izzy Ford, surprised him with a farewell on his last day, June 30.
The 66-year-old spent his final work day talking to regulars, arguing with others, and reminiscing.
Sa would often be up early to open the office for the 5.30am commuters.
While he might not know everyone by name, former customers recognise him in the street.
The 2015 Porirua flood, when more than 1mm of rain fell per minute at its peak, was a standout moment for him.
Both underground walkways were flooded and Sa couldn’t leave the office.
After trains had been cancelled he and fellow stranded stationgoers had to walk along the tracks towards Kenepuru to escape.
It’s the people Sa will miss most.
‘‘I’ve got mixed emotions; I’m both sad and glad I’m retired. I know in my heart I’ve done what I’m supposed to have done in my life, because my kids have happy lives.
‘‘My first chapter was growing up and going to school, my second chapter was work and bringing up the kids, and now the third chapter is finishing work. So, the next thing is, I don’t know. I’ll find out when I get there.’’
Simanu Sa will miss his job in Porirua station’s ticket office, but is looking forward to his life’s next chapter. Inset, Sa on the job.