Samoa Beat

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Discovering whether land tenure and food surplus from ancient agriculture has been used to support the authority of the chiefs or matai, is the aim of an archaeological study that is in progress.

The methodology used in this study and early fieldwork results was presented by Dr Ethan E. Cochrane, senior lecturer in anthropology and social science at Auckland University as part of the Samoa conference which is in progress.

The development of agriculture system in ancient Samoa changes in landscape and boundaries in the village of Falefa was the focus of this research.

Dr. Cochran aimed to discover whether the matai, having more land and growing more surplus food on those land, supports their chiefly control.

According to Dr Ethan E Cochrane they conducted their archaeological survey, where some students of the Centre for Samoan Studies were involved at Falefa and Falevao.

They mapped landscape features ,including massive walled walkways that predate living memory and perhaps represent early division of landscapes.

He said that Excavations next year will help them determine the result of their result.

The team re mapped an impressive network of ditches in Falevao and these mostly seem to connect to the river and likely served to channel water off the plantation during river flooding They are currently conducting an elevation and hydrological analysis to test this idea.

Study continues.

The Samoa Conference is currently in progress and will be for three days from the 4th to the 6th of September on the theme our heritage, our future,; fostering sustainable development through leadership innovation and collaboration.

Francis Fa'alili is a first year student of the Media and Journalism Programme at the National University of Samoa.

An A.U.T lecturer says Samoan children in New Zealand are spending too much time on their phones and less speaking with their parents.

She says that’s the cause behind the Samoan language not frequently used in Samoan households in New Zealand.

Dr. Salainaoloa Wilson of the Auckland University of Technology says her journey in preserving Samoan culture had been tough.

“My journey to protect our beautiful language was a difficult one because of bad influence like mixing of different languages,” she said.

Dr. Wilson is a Lecturer in the School of Language and Culture at A.U.T.

“A family is where you will learn the language not only that but our culture and our roles and responsibilities in the family,” she added.

“I was struggling trying to maintain our language that’s why I came back to Samoa,” she said.

Part of her research involved taking part in Samoan family events including birthdays and weddings.

“Because family was my first school and my parents were my first teachers,” she said.

Wilson says the Samoan language is still at a rarity in New Zealand despite Samoans scattered around the country.

“South Auckland is the only part of New Zealand with many Samoan people who speak our language,” she said.

“Too much English language for small children outside of homes like schools, using technology to type what you want to say and less communicating by talking are contributors to the problem,” she said.

“More typing but less speaking and it’s a bad influence for our language,” she added.

Dr. Wilson completed a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics and Samoan Studies (2006), a Bachelor of Arts (1st Class Honours) in Pacific Studies (2008) and a Master of Arts in Pacific Studies (2010) at Victoria University of Wellington.

*Joachim is a first year Media and Journalism student of the National University of Samoa.

Technology, particularly access to pornography, is one of the factors contributing to the continuous increase of incest in Samoa.

This is according to Auckland University's Sili Mireta Pita, who presented her research thesis on Mata’ifale– Navigating the context of incest in Samoa, in the iv Samoa Conference at the National University of Samoa.

Sili Mireta Pita defined the word mataifale which is eyes in the house.

"Its when you have an affair with a family member but you both live under the same roof or related; she said"

Sili conducted research of the archival records of the ministry of Justice and Courts Administration, examining 76 incest cases filed between 1967 to 2015.

Most of the incest cases were common between fathers and daughters.

Almost 80% of the offenders were married, in contrast to the 90% of the victims who were single or never married.

Between 2002 and 2015, 27 cases were without consent whereas 8 were.

According to Sili one of the Factors contributing to susceptibility of incest was the technology.

"Accessibility to pornography which triggers some offenders, mainly young offenders 18 to 25 to perform sexual acts on their younger siblings" she said.

She also pointed out alcohol , genetic sexual attraction (G.S.A) , and absence of the mother or a trusted adult in the home as some of the factors.

But also included are education, mental health, and isolated childhood

Some families are scared to report incest for fear of ruining their family's reputation.

"Offenders use violence as a threat and so they keep doing this for their own safety .

In conclusion Sili said that the church has a role to play in speaking about this issue and normalising what has always been a taboo topic through training and awareness.

She also encouraged village councils to monitor late night and early morning roamers, and provide somewhere for the drunkards to rest for the night to avoid going home highly intoxicated.

Sili pointed out strengthening of grassroots education to be lead by role models as one of the solutions.

However she concluded by saying the responsibility of solving this problem lies within the families.

"Protection for the family is protection for all ; as the samoan proverb goes – a malu i ‘aiga e malu foi I fafo" she said.

"Community wellbeing and a better Samoa starts within our homes, with our leaders, with our parents. If we could just begin in our homes, with honouring our children for the blessings they are… then less of these issues would occur…

Sili was inspired to conduct research after working as a volunteer for the Samoa Victim Support Group.

Her presentation is part of the iv Samoa Conference which has been underway at the National University of Samoa from the 4th to the 6th of September 2018.

 *Joachim is a first year Media and Journalism student of the National Universdity of Samoa.

Pacific Youth need support and help from the communities to make better changes in young lives.

 

That’s what Sarai Tafa and Dr. Jo Durham are pleading to Samoan communities in the region.

 

Tafa and Dr. Durham from the University of Queensland shared about the peer groups or gangs in the Pacific Islands and their relations to the communities they belong in.

 

The focus on the issue was finding ways to eliminate gangs made up of youth.

 

“Respect is one of the main issues that we want to address to maintain the good of the youth," said Dr Jo Durham.

 

Despite living in challenging environment, Pacific youth have made significant progress and improvement in some areas.

 

The two presenters said peer groups contain hierarchies and distinct patterns of behaviour.

 

"We are looking for some better way to improve the youth productivity, so we’ve researched on their identity as well as their families to ensure that the number of peer groups will decrease,” Sarai Tafa.

 

Part of these issues they say are to be attributed to identity issues.

 

"One of the major factors that influence the formation of a person identity is his or her peers,” Tafa said.

 

"Family does give us the strength to have big emphasis on youth and culture, and encourage the young people on doing the right things,” she added.

 

"Trust and Respect is very important for the youth academically to protect their relations within their society and the communities,” added Tafa.

 

*Marilyn is a second year Media and Journalism student at the National University of Samoa.

In spite the lowly stigma attached to being a nofotane, as strangers who marry into the family and as women who serve, Fesola'i Aleni Sofara of the National University of Samoa claim nofotane is not a demand on women but a choice.

 

Fesolai Aleni Sofara presented at the National University of Samoa, during Samoa Conference IV on the second day, on the theme ‘The law of being an in-law’ [nofotane ole tofi]

Fesolaí defined nofotane as Nofo- means to stay, to live or to be with and tane the husband.

 

 

Nofotane is the Samoan translation for "wife" or Ava.

 

That status will be with the woman for life.

 

"No matter if you are a daughter of an orator, a well respected lady within the family and village, once a woman is married she is called a nofotane.

 

She belongs to the kitchen and does all the nofotane responsibilities," he added.

 

“In addition, the late Hon. Tofilau Eti Alesana 1991 said this when the Department of Women Affairs was established, "E tamaitai uma tamaitai o Samoa ae le Tina uma tamaitai,” he said.

 

Fesola’I added that, “All Samoan women are ladies (tamaítaí) but not all ladies are mothers".

 

He said to be a nofotane is a choice made by each individual woman, and not a demand.

 

As such they have the right to voice their concerns, and involve themselves in decision-making within their homes and communities.

 

He said in addressing the role of a nofotane that a good nofotane can make a good man out of her husband to be a Matai of the family.

 

Fesolai concluded by pointing out that many families' economic status have improved because of the contributions of the nofo-tane.

 

Fesola’i Aleni Sofara is a lecturer in Commercial law at the faculty of Business and entrepreneurship at the National University of Samoa.

 

*Marilyn is a second year Media and Journalism student at the National University of Samoa.

 

Matai titles are proof that Samoa continues to get exposure outside of Samoa.

That’s what for N.U.S. Director of Center for Samoan Studies and now University of Auckland lecturer Lupematasila Misatauveve Dr Melani Anae said about the reach of Samoan matai titles in the current age.

“Transnational Matai and Fa’amatai is another instance of Samoan development in leadership, specifically when they are born from migrated parents into outside countries and become matais while living outside Samoa,” she added.

Lupematasila highlighted the importance of Matai in Samoa and overseas countries like New Zealand.

Most of whom were born and raised in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Amongst the 550, 96.2% are from Western Samoa and 3.8% are from American Samoa.

From the total number of matais in New Zealand; 25% are Catholic, 16% Ekalesia Faapotopotoga Kerisiano I Samoa, 10% are Methodist, 9% under Mormon Church and 8% from Assembly of God.

More statistics provided by Lupematasila’s report state that 55% of overseas Samoan are matai title holders.

Amongst which, 88% are full Samoan, 14% part Samoan or half cast and 2% who are non-Samoan.

She attributed these Matai duties to being the reason Samoa’s main income is of family remittances. She says these are part of the responsibilities that Matai’s hold.

Lupematasila is the former Director of the Center Samoan Studies since 2002 to 2007. She moved to New Zealand in 2008 and works at the University of Auckland.

She was awarded in Marden Award in 2014 for her project called ‘’Samoa Transnational Matai Ancestor God ‘’Avatars’’ or merely title holders” funded by the Royal Society of New Zealand.

*Director is a first year Media and Journalism student at the National University of Samoa.

Helping local farmers market and sell products to overseas markets is the aim of a new mobile app, developed by Skyeye and introduced to participants of the Samoa Conference.

The Skyeye is a company that helps farmers to export and sell products to overseas markets

“This app is something that will save time for those who want to sell product and the buyers of those products" says Miss Anna Marie Saili, the Executive Officer of the company.

Her role is to help people learn how to use the app.

According to Saili the only problem is that the buyers never meet the farmers of the products as it is an online transaction, but the owners will get money from the buyers.

People who access with this app will is it for trading, and to increase their income from their products.

Skyeye's new app is now connecting with lots of markets around the world in the USA, New Zealand , Australia.

“All you do is just login or sign in the app and login to upload the sell sheet and those markets will access them" says Marie Saili

The purpose of this creation is to make it easier for farmers to get financial assistance and sell as well as market their products online" she said.

The company's presentation is among the many innovations displayed during the iv Samoa Conference, of the National University of Samoa, from the 4th to 6th of September 2018.

A theological college teacher has called upon the churches to be at the forefront of the fight against violence perpetrated on women.

“Violence is a sin and a distortion of Gods image, the role of Churches in Violence is that to invite them to church, and be an advocate for better family bonding,” says Dr. Mercy Ah Siu Maliko.

Dr. Mercy Ah Siu Maliko is a Methodist Minister’s wife and a PhD holder.

Dr. Maliko went on to add that 99.8% of Samoa’s populations are members of Churches purporting that this influence that church has on people must be the powerhouse in eradicating violence against women.

“60% of reported violence is from relationship cases. And there has been an increase in violence in the past years including 2018,” she added.

The church though has responded since.

“Violence is everywhere and the response from the church is that they are willing to take the lead,” she added.

Dr. Maliko says the common practice has been turning the blind eye to cases of violence within the villages. It is the hope that with the churches taking the lead this time around, it will make a big difference.

*Savili is a second year Media and Journalism student at the National University of Samoa.