Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

An early Christmas surprise for Fotu

In this age of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, it’s pretty tough to keep a secret – especially one as big as a family trip from New Zealand to Hawai’i.

But that’s exactly what three members of the Fotu family did, and they were successfully able to surprise their son/brother on the Hawai’i basketball team.

Freshman forward Isaac Fotu was genuinely stunned on Tuesday morning when his father (Manu), younger sister (Ella) and youngest brother (Jacob) walked in to an office on the UH-Manoa campus to see him.

“Am I dreaming? This is crazy,” Isaac said when his family walked in.

Manu Fotu organized the secret trip, and with help from assistant coach Brandyn Akana, was able to set up what amounted to a Christmas surprise for Isaac. The family plans to stay in Hawai’i for at least two weeks.

“Manu wanted to surprise Isaac and give him an early Christmas gift, so we had it all planned out,” Akana said. “Everything worked out. Isaac’s quite surprised.”

Isaac said it was the first time he has seen his family in person since June, when he departed New Zealand to enroll at UH. However, he stays in contact with them regularly through Skype and phone calls, which makes it all the more remarkable that the trip was kept a secret from him.

“Some nights we talk to him on Skype and put the computer on the table with us while we eat dinner, so it’s like he’s there with us,” Manu said. “But with all my other kids there, I was so worried somebody would say something about this trip, but everybody did a good job keeping it under wraps.”

Manu noted that several relatives helped make the trip possible, including Isaac’s maternal grandparents, who helped with funding. It also helps that Manu has relatives on Oahu who they can stay with for the majority of the trip.

The Warriors are scheduled to play Chaminade on Moloka’i this Saturday, and the Fotus will make the trip to watch Isaac.

Isaac’s mother, Jenny, and two other younger siblings had to stay in New Zealand due to work/school schedules.


  1. Beautiful surprise! Nice Fotu Ohana! Now watch Isaac have a great game on Molokai against Chaminade..All the guys, Clair, Pavlovic, Harper, Rozitis, Vander, Standhardinger, and the guys from USA mainland, far from home, nice when family here to see them!!

    Aloha to the Fotu Ohana!!
    Welcome to Hawaii!!

  2. What a great surprise. I’m sure Isaac really appreciates seeing his family again after six, long months. Skype-ing is nice, but nothing like actually being together again. Welcome to the Tonganator and his kids. Hope they have an enjoyable stay. Maybe Isaac and the team can welcome them with a few wins over the next couple of weeks. Thanks for the video, Dayton.

  3. Definitely a great moment and beautiful surprise on video. That was a very nice gesture for the grandparents, relatives on Oahu, and the coaches to help out. Wishing the Fotu family a great stay in Hawaii.

  4. what a pleasant surprise for Isaac! I feel for you too.
    it’s shocking to see this timely video. really topped it all over the ongoing TEAM activities! Mahalo Dayton.

    expected Mr Fotu to be here around DHC time.

    well, Tonganator, enjoy being with Isaac of course..
    hope all of you find Hawaii is enjoyable as well as we appreciate you being here.

    Mele Kalikimaka!

  5. Awesome! What a great Christmas surprise. 🙂

  6. It’s so emotional
    I can almost feel their emotions watching video

    the best Christmas present for all of them
    I am so touched

    I want a family Fotu to spend unforgettable days in Hawaii

    special greetings and merry Christmas mom who stayed home to keep other children

    Thanks Dayton
    Thanks assistant coach Brandyn Akana to help family it is a fabulous gesture

  7. This video brought tears to my eyes – have a great time together.
    Isacc’s grandparents are very generous and are rightly very proud of their family.
    Isaac’s brother is a cutie -is there a minimum signing age!!!!!!

  8. Welcome Tonganator & Ohana….
    What a Great Early Surprise…
    Isaacʻs Cam-Shyness might explain the start of Froductions
    A Lttle more Comfortable on the other side of the Camera?
    Thanks for Sharing…
    Good Time to Spend together (After Finals);
    and GoodStart to Molokai Week 2
    Thanks, Dayton & Coach B

    Will Be Looking for Tonganator & Family @ Diamond Head Classic …

    Maybe Aussie Mum as well?

  9. Yeah I will be there!!!!! But I am not shy so you will notice me.
    Tonganator, we should get together and have a meal?

  10. Dayton,
    Regarding Isaac’s sister, is that the one that plays both basketball and Touch rugby?

  11. Tonganator, Fotu Ohana, Aussie Mum and Ozi Mum, you all are great, great family , and supporters of your sons! You can tell with reunion with Isaac and dad , sister and little(maybe another 6’8″ PF?)..brother, the love..

    Man , Dayton, and Brandyn and Gib , and staff, this kind of stuff, the video, the surprise for Isaac, it is better than reality TV stuff! True Aloha!

    I echo Aussie Mum, that causes a tear to come to eyes, when Isaac saw part of his Ohana!

    When Manu, and Emma and Jacob and Aussie Mum are in Stan Sheriff Arena, along with other families visiting, Billie V. , the voice of SSC , should anounce “there is the true rainbow warrior ohana” from across the globe, we extend a very warm Aloha to the Fotu family and Aussie “Tim Tam” Mum, and others..

    At the Diamond Head Classic, ESPN , commentator, local boy Kanoa Leahy,(Kanoa if you read these posts)should acknowledge(since KHON uses by permission WI video and updates), the Fotus and Aussie Mum, ..that is a long trek across the Pacific..then the local fanbase, and a global(via ESPN networks)will know, that Gib and staff, along with the young athletes and their fantastic families are a true MBB family!!

    Great job, Dayton(once again , for about a dozen times!)do you ever sleep? Just kidding,..you are a UH MBB fan , supreme and we will always cherish this site, and your staff, and sponsors, and forum contributors..I have never, seen coverage of a UH sport like this WI site does, in decades..Great, Great service Dayton, Mahalo and Thank you!!

  12. I know it’s early… but back on October 26, 2012 • 8:57 am I said…

    “Yes, Long Beach is wayyy overrated. They have to replace just about their entire starting lineup this year. If Dan Monson can reload and finish top 2 in Big West, he will have done an unbelievable job.”

    LBSU is 3-6 so far. Yes, they have played an incredibly tough schedule, so most of the losses are expected, but it’s the way they’ve lost is what’s troubling for LBSU. Long Beach was non-competitive vs the 4 ranked teams they played. 15pt loss vs UNC; 22pt loss to Arizona, 31pt loss to Syracuse, 34pt loss to OSU.

    They lost to a mediocre Fresno St team at home and had to come from behind to beat a mediocre WCC team LMU. Long Beach also suffered an 18pt loss to a bad USC team also.

    UH lost to a bad Pepperdine team at home so UH equals LBSU in the ‘bad loss to bad team at home’ department. UH should have beaten Illinois (which btw cracked the top 10 this week), and outplayed UNLV for the last 25 minutes in that loss.

    Long Beach will still be very competitive in the Big West, but I don’t see them winning the conference. Pacific is the team that everyone should look out for.

    Cal-Northridge will fall back to the pack. They have had a powder-puff schedule so far and they’ve lost to the 3 decent teams they’ve played. They played BYU tough, but CSNU was blown off the floor vs UCLA and ASU controlled them easily.

  13. Great job Dayton sharing Isaac’s time with family. Great job overall we really look forward to your video’s and write ups on the Warriors.

  14. good way to keep fotu here….coaches know he is our future

  15. Come on fotu your family is here now so have a big game on Molokai Saturday and don’t disappoint Warrior Nation and dad and sister and little brother !

  16. Thanks Dayton for the amazing job you are doing, and thanks to all the sponsors. Thanks to coach Arnold, Akana and the rest of the coaching staff for making us feel welcome when we visited their office. We got to watch the team train and was awesome when we got to meet all the players. It felt like I have been here before only because we get the update on WI. I am really looking forward to watching a couple of games at the SSC, and to meet some of you the great supporters of the Warriors.
    I had the pleasure of finally meeting Dayton and spent time chatting with him.
    Well. I am sure we will be enjoying our time here at your beatiful Island and spending time with Isaac.
    Aussie mum, we will catch up at the games…


  17. What a great surprise! Another heart felt touching video! Great job Dayton! Enjoy Molokai.

    To all the families that are on the mainland and overseas, I am hopeful that you will see that the boys will continue to get love from the families here in Hawaii, and the families that are visiting! You are all in our hearts now and especially during the holidays!

    Happy Holidays from the Schmidt Family!

  18. Hi my friend! I wish to say that this article is amazing, nice written and include approximately all significant
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