John Newton

Just briefly: I am an American who grew up mostly in the Los Angeles area.  As a child, I spent some time in Missouri, where I now reside somewhat as the prodigal son. 

In 1966, I was hired by the B.F. Kneubuhl Company, of American Samoa, to help set up and run the printing plant associated with their fledgling weekly tabloid. Although I was successful at producing quality printing products, there were many reasons the small community of American Samoa just simply wasn’t able to support a weekly newspaper.  So, I joined in a partnership and bought out the printing facilities to start a new printing company.

Over the years between 1966 and about 1980, I lived in American Samoa and engaged in many business activities.  Between 1980 and about 1990, I lived in Hawaii and traveled throughout the Pacific Islands in my capacity as associate publisher of a small island-wide magazine and as the owner of trading companies moving products to and from the islands.

In about 1990, I returned to live full-time in American Samoa, where I continued the trading activities and took over a derelict bowling alley with a restaurant and bar.  That venture literally nearly killed me.  In 1992, my son, Jeffrey, returned to live in American Samoa at the age of 27, to help me with the bowling alley.  He died the following year in an industrial accident and is buried in the village of Vaitogi, American Samoa. 

After Jeffrey’s death, I needed help with the trading business and with a restaurant I started and named Jeffreys.  My eldest son, John, and youngest son Jerome returned to American Samoa to help with what had now become several business ventures. 

In about 1999, I was asked by the American Samoa Telecommunications Authority (ASTCA) to publish telephone directories for them.  I saw this as a possible road to retirement and agreed to take on the task of publishing annual telephone directories, supported entirely by advertising.  Most of my peers thought I had lost my mind and that the telephone directory could never produce any meaningful profits.  But I proved them wrong and took what had been a failing publication and turned it into a beautiful full-color publication that, after the first year, became very profitable and garnered requests from other island nations to do the same for them.  I published six directories over about 9 years.  You can see the covers for these directories here: https://pagopago.com/directory/telephone-directory-covers/.  This venture came to an end when ASTCA failed to provide me with the listings to be included in the directories. 

I then moved to Las Vegas, for health-related reasons, where I continued to attempt to publish ASTCA directories while developing my skills in website design, both of which are ventures that still focused on American Samoa and were entirely doable from Las Vegas.  I have never been able to get the cooperation from ASTCA that is needed to facilitate the publication of directories, and consequently, American Samoa has not had a directory publication since 2008. 

However, I have moved along with my website development venture, producing several sites for American Samoa entities.  Examples of my work are but are not limited to, pagopago.com, sadieshotels.com, pagopagomarinecharters.com, friendsofamata.com, and americansamoatourism.com.  This brings us to the real subject at hand, which is this site: visitpagopago.com.

So, here I am in my childhood home (Nevada, Missouri) still producing websites for American Samoa.  This site, visitpagopago.com, is my best effort, partly due to new technologies in website design and partly due to new skills I have developed.  I do this site entirely at my own cost in hopes that I can find a way to monetize it.  But, even if I don’t make money on this site, I will have the satisfaction of knowing that I have produced a quality product that favorably represents American Samoa.

For the past six years, I have worked for Congresswoman Amata Radewagen, representative to the US Congress.  Among my other functions, I do things like manage her websites, both official and campaign, produce her newsletter and help with her social media.  I enjoy working for Amata because it keeps me in touch with my home, American Samoa.

John on his front porch at his home in Nevada, Missouri
John on his front porch at his home in Nevada, Missouri