Samoa Beat

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Students and staff of the National University of Samoa (N.U.S) were given a piece of national history when four panellists spoke on amendments to the national Flag, national anthem and the Constitution of the country.

 

The four panellists presented as part of the Centre for Samoan Studies Film and seminar series, in a presentation titled Symbolic Nationalism in Flux: Origins and Amendments to Samoa’s Anthem, Flag and Constitution.

 

Panellists include, Rosa Maiai, August Hansell (Tuso), Peseta Frank Wong and Professor Meleisea Leasiolagi Malama Meleisea.

 

Rosa Maiai spoke on how, where and when the flag came about. According to Maiai, the two Tamaaiga Malietoa and Tupua Tamasese created the flag.

 

Pens were used to colour the flag. The red part of the flag symbolises the blood of our forefathers. Blue symbolises the national unity and the white part is for our Pacific location. The flag was then taken to the Fono A Faipule for approval and it was approved.

 

It was in 1948 around June was when the flag was raised for the first time.

 

The original flag was taken by Ms. Brown from Masiofo Nouē and up until now the original flag is nowhere to be seen.

One of the panel members, Peseta Frank Wong shed some light on the history of the composer of the National Anthem.

 

According to Peseta, Sauniaau Ioane Iiga Kuresa composed the National Anthem.

 

He was a well known musician of his time, releasing his first composition in 1931, called “ Lou Nuu e Samoa e, Ua e Lalelei.

in 1939 he made history of being the first person to play two trumpets together, and he went on to start his own band at Leauvaa the same year.

He started a band at Leauvaa in 1939.

 

Sauniaau was born on the 23rd of January 1901 and died on the 10th July 1978.

Among his many achievements, was his love for music and painting.

 

Professor Meleisea Leasiolagi Malama Meleisea spoke on the amendments to the Constitution of Samoa,

He covered the Fundamental Rights, Customary Rights, Voting Rights, Womens Rights and Christianity in his presentation.

 

This seminar was part of the Centre for Samoan Studies seminar and film series at the National University of Samoa.

Faculty of business and Entrepreneurship lecturer, Fesolaí Aleni Sofara says that men have an important part to play in advocating for the rights of the Nofotane.

This was during his presentation entitled, "THE LAW OF BEING AN IN-LAW.”

 

Mr. Sofara's presentation coincides with the commemoration of International Women's day, on the 8th of March 2018.

 

He said that to date, there is no English word that could define the word "nofotane" which is the term given to women married in to other families.

Fesola’i challenged many of the stigmas and stereotypes attached to being a nofotane.

 

"Nofotane are Women who are new in a family or a village and their role is to serve the men's family. She belongs in the kitchen,” he said.

“The Samoan saying is ia mu mata ile afi, or that the nofotane’s main responsibility is the kitchen facing the open fire,” he said.

 

Fesola’i said, that while Nofotane is an individual choice, it is a choice that is looked down upon by many.

“Once you made this choice to get married and move to the man’s family there is only one word to describe you. The Nofotane," he said.

 

He strongly disagrees that the nofotane is being valued less than women of the families of their husbands, and that they have no voice in decision making, as suggested by the United Nations.

Fesola’i says that many families are wealthy because of the work of the nofotane.

He says in his own experience, after interviewing five nofotane women in his family, he found them to be more trustworthy than his own family members.

Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Lafaitele Fualuga Taupi agreed with Fesolaí saying that Nofotane are not slaves, and that behind a great man is a greater woman.

 

Head of Department Samoan language and culture Seiuli Vaifou Temese commented that the word "tamaítaí," is translated as the daughter which all the fine things in her family is presented to.

 

The problem lies when she is relocated to her husband's family, where she cannot expect to take those fine things, and enjoy the same privileges as that of her husband's sisters.

 

Yet she believes that the Nofotane understands the family better, and patience is the key to her being blessed with something more special.

Fesola’i Toleafoa ‘Ape Aleni Sofara is a lecturer in Commercial law at the Faculty of Business and Entrepreneurship at the National University of Samoa.

His article, Tui’umi: The assassin has recently been published in the Journal of Samoan Studies, Vol 7, (3), 87-93.

The status of the feagaiga, or the sacred covenant, the sister as the apple of the brother's eye is not enough to protect "all "women from the prevalence of domestic violence in Samoa.

This is according to Professor Tagaloatele Peggy Dunlop, Professor of Pacific Studies at Auckland's University of Technology, in delivering the keynote address, at the second day of the 4th Samoa Conference currently underway at the National University of Samoa.

The professor presented a research titled "revisiting sisters and wives", asking the key question can value of women translates to ending violence against women.

The professor based some of her research on the recent first commission on Women's rights where a steep increase of family violence was presented.

Among the most vulnerable to violence according to her research were young girls, and particular the nofotane, or women who are married into other families.

According to the professor, women were prevented from sharing their stories by the mentality of families to hide and silence what has been happening to protect the family status, undermining the emotional impacts on them and their children.

This highlights the urgency of seeking answers.

Professor acknowledges the legal processes set up by the state to address this problem.

However the professor said that rearranging a few tasks and changing a few roles, will not provide a solution.

She said we should go back to our family structures, and reevaluate how we value relationships with others in the past.

One of the practices in the faásamoa which should theoretically prevent violence against women in Samoa is the women's sacred status as the covenant or the feagaiga the apple of the brother's eye.

However the professor claim the feagaiga is no longer enough to safeguard women from violence.

This feagaiga can never stop the domestic violence that women are facing today.

The professor was unable to determine exactly when the status of the ‘feagaiga’ stops being a force to prevent domestic violence.

She claim however that the feagaiga only protect somebody's sister, and not the wives.

In the question and answer session, some says feagaiga stops when the sister gets married however some says it only stops when the sister is no longer living.

According to the Vice chancellor of the National University of Samoa professor Fui Leapai Tuua ilaoa Asofou So'o the feagaiga is now relegated to the periphery because the realities and contexts that it was related to are not there 100%.

He said it was relevant in the old times, times of wars, conflict, strategies, deciding who to hold the matai titles.

"Now we have customary laws now to take care of conflicts. So the feagaiga relegated to the periphery. It is up to us Samoans to decide what to hold on to and what to let go," commented the Vice Chancellor.

Tuiloma Dr. Susana Taua'a, one of the participants also suggested that perhaps the ideology of the feagaiga has shifted to a stranger, in this case the church minister which perhaps is the reason for the feagaiga status being relegated to the, periphery

“The wives and the sisters have the right to be safe. Women should be free from violence and harm”, says Prof. Dunlop.

“In New Zealand the family system isn’t working because there are so many options. Others turn to law for help”, says Prof. Dunlop.

In Samoa, there are many communities that they are divided into. For instance, there are the Matai Village Administration, Faletua & Tausi (In marrying wives), Aualuma (Daughters of the village), Aumaga (Untitled males) and Children.

Prof. Dunlop said we need to find a system that prevents family against "all women" not some women.

She insisted that we should go back to the traditional family structures and evaluating our relationships and how we use to view others, therein lays the solution to family violence against women.

The Samoa conference continues.

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

A Samoan Professor of Pacific Studies at Auckland University of Technology (A.U.T) has
been confirmed as one of the guest speakers to feature in this year’s Samoa Conference
hosted by the National University of Samoa (N.U.S) in September.


Professor Tagaloatele Peggy Fairbairn-Dunlop will share her wealth of experience on the
leadership dialogue during the three day conference in September at Le Papaigalagala
campus.


Her perspective as one of the successful Samoan academics in a diaspora community in New
Zealand will be of great value to emerging and aspiring researchers, academics and leaders
across sectors.


She has been heavily involved in twelve more regional and international conferences prior to
her role as one of the guest speakers for the Samoa Conference IV this year, adding yet
another initiative under her belt.

 Peggy-Fairbairn-Dunlop-Website.jpg


Prof. Tagaloatele has been teaching and researching in the area of Pacific Studies for more
than three decades including a fifteen year stint teaching at the University of the South
Pacific, Alafua Campus.


There, she taught in the Alafua School of Agriculture before taking up a post in the U.N.D.P,
U.N.I.F.E.M and U.N.E.S.C.O and eventually moving back to New Zealand in 2006.
This September, she has been named as one of the leading characters in the leadership
conversation for Samoa Conference, one of eight subthemes surrounding the conference this
year.

Those include:


1. Heritage –How do we balance heritage and development approaches? What is
Samoa’s legal framework for heritage management?

2. Climate Change – What is Samoa’s role in addressing climate change impacts and
implementation of various Climate Change conventions and funding? How
sustainable are we as an island nation in the face of increasing climate change?

3. Literacy – How has literacy helped foster sustainable development in Samoa over the
years?

4. Regionalism and security – Is Samoa a regional leader or actor?5. Leadership and Sustainable Development – As leaders how can we use technology to
ensure that we are fostering sustainable development and collaboration? How are we
preparing future leaders to champion sustainable development?

6. Innovations for Sustainable Development - How far have we come?

7. Policy and Research for Innovation – To what extent Samoa has invested in designing policies and funding research to help facilitate industrial development, collaboration
and competitiveness amongst sectors?

8. ICT and Mass Media – What ways can Samoa address cyber security issues today? Is
traditional media obsolete in today’s Facebook world? Media and agenda setting, how
valid is it in small islands? Do the media have a place in the faasamoa?

Prof. Tagaloatele holds a PhD from Macquarie Syd. Australia, MA from Victoria University
of Wellington (V.U.W), New Zealand, BA (Hons 1) V.U.W, BA V.U.W, TTC (Teachers
Certificate).Her research areas include imperative topics discussed in the region far reaching into some of
the focuses for Samoa Conference.Such research areas including; Sustainable development, Pacific Small Island States, Gender,
youth and development issues, Family security (domestic violence and Child abuse and
neglect issues) and Education.

She’s behind many other current projects at A.U.T including Youth connectedness, Pacific
youth in New Zealand, Pacific males and educational outcomes, Pacific epistemologies,
pedagogies and methodologies, Gender and equity issues Pacific, Police and domestic
violence, and child abuse and neglect.The following is a list of her publications and work done throughout her stellar career in
terms of reports, conferences, seminars and presentations:

 Response to Domestic Violence – Pathways to recovery, V Kingi and J Jordan, with T
Moeke-Maxwell and Peggy Fairbairn-Dunlop (2009)/li>

 Vanuatu Domestic Violence Report,; Pacific Police Prevention of Domestic Violence
(PPDVP) August 2009 (PPDVP, NZAID).

 APPCAN, Perth (Nov 2009 Plenary Session — Invited member of 4 member panel
Indigenous Responses to Child Abuse and Neglect (CAN).

 APPCAN, Perth (2009) Bringing Police into Domestic Violence/CAN strategies:
Pacific, Paper presented.

 Association of Asian Social Science Research Councils (AASSREC) 18th Biennial
General Conference, Bangkok August 2009 Biculturalism, Cultural Identities andGlobalisation: Issues for Aotearoa New Zealand (with professor David Thorns, and
Associate Professor, Rosemay Du PLessis (University of Canterbury).

 Association of Social Scientists (NZ) Pacific students and the Talanoa access grid
(Jan 2009) (ASSR website).

 BRCSS Conference (Aug 2009) The Pacific Post Graduate Talanoa Network,
Wellington (with Salainaoloa Wilson p/g).

 BRCSS Conference (Aug 2009) Coordinated and chaired the Pacific Sessions (x2). NZFUW Keynote, Pacific Women Graduates: Learning to Say 'no' and 'help'
Auckland (Sep 2009).

 Pacific Bible College Conference, Family based strategies for child abuse and neglect,
Wellington (2009).

 Samoan Teachers National Refresher Course (2009) Growing Samoan researchers at
VUW, (October 2009).

 Climate change and migration in the South Pacific region: Policy perspectives,
Institute of Policy Studies, VUW (9-10 July 2009) If I plant a tree, will my children
be here to see it group. (Climate Change, Migratoin and the Community.

 UNESCO Biculturalism, multiculturalism and globatlisation; Pacific, paper presented
at UNESCo, Royal Society, ASSR forum, Wellington Cultural identifies in a
globalizing workd, (17 April 2009).

 Wellington City Council Forum (2009) Creating Pacific learning communities,
Wellington


Invited chair

 Pacific Island Family Study Workshop, From Research to Policy (Dec 2009), AUT
University.

 PIPSA Conference, (Dec 2009) Women and Politics Session,Auckland University.
Prof. Tagaloatele’s acceptance of the Organising Committee’s invitation as one of the guest
speakers further affirms the wider support of Samoan leaders in the course of N.U.S taking
proactive approaches to support the SAMOA PATHWAY by encouraging existing and
emerging scholars to contribute to this conference by providing high quality analysis and
evaluation of Samoa’s contribution to the priority areas that need to be addressed.Again, the conference is open to local and overseas scholars, who have conducted research on
Samoa, practitioners of various disciplines, university students, political leaders, non-
government organisations, civil society, businesses and global audiences.This conference will also provide a platform for our diplomatic community to share their
invaluable resources and priorities with attending groups and organisations.Participants are expected to pay a registration fee in order to receive full conference package.Held during the famous Teuila Festival week, there are organized tours where participants
and guests can choose from.

The Samoa Conference Committee encourages members of the public to join us at this
conference by becoming a speaker, presenter, or even as a participant to share your views and
thoughts with us on how Samoa through YOUR UNIVERSITY, YOUR FUTURE, can
address challenges and make valuable contributions to the many development issues.The deadline for abstracts is 31 July 2018 and so far there have been interesting and diverse
interests received by the Organising Committee from Samoans here and abroad.
Stay tuned for our next article.(*The writer is a member of the Publicity Sub Committee of the SCIV Organising Committee
and also News Administrator for Media and Journalism School news service, Samoa Beat)Prof. Tagaloatele confirmed as one of the three guest speakers at the Samoa Conference IV
in September. Credit: www.aut.ac.nz