The 7th Measina Samoa Conference opened at the National University of Samoa (NUS) Fale this morning with the theme, Practices may Change but the Foundation Remains. The official opening ceremony began with an ava ceremony prepared by the NUS Centre for Sāmoa Studies and the welcoming of participants and guests by the master of ceremony, Matiu Matavai Tautunu.
The opening prayer was said by the chair of the National Council of Churches, deacon Kasiano Leaupepe. The keynote address was delivered by the retired vice president of Lands and Titles Court, Afioga Faamausili Solonaima Brown.
“I strongly believe that tradition and culture are precious because I am respected as a matai Samoa,” said Faamausili.
“Samoa is founded on God since Malietoa Faigā accepted the missionaries from Britain. That was when changes were made, as the pastor was called susuga but not for Malietoa anymore.”
Faamausili also explained the changes during the arrival of the missionaries.
“The changes which people faced nowadays are mainly because of mental, physical and especially the way they live their lives.”
“The family’s income as their main focus of life.”
“Others do bet on religions’ donations for they do not want any other family to be on the top but their family,” she said.
She mentioned the challenges that include donations for the religions in Samoa.
“Some are not happy because of the many donations needed by the churches, such as Faiga Me, Alofa and Taulaga,” she explained.
Apart from the challenges in the churches she also talked about the changes within the Samoa culture as in between the matai sa’o and the extended families.
“The matai sa’o bestows new matai titles without the knowledge of the extended families.”
“The matai sa’o divides the extended families in different saofa’iga to satisfy what they want.
“The current matai sa’o decides to relocate the children of the latest matai sa’o so that he can have the land all to himself.
“The latest matai sa’o’s son wants to become the next matai sa’o without mentioning the tautua from the families while the matai sa’o was alive,” Faamausili said.
Faamausili thanked God for dismissing the act to note the rightful owners of traditional lands for it solved many issues between Samoan families who have lost their lands.
She asked the participants when Samoa will overcome these issues concerning the culture and tradition through lands and titles.
“May God help us, may we hold on to our culture and traditions for it might be stolen from us,” she concluded.
The conference will continue until Thursday the 17th of November 2016.
7th Measina Conference keynote address. Afioga Fa'amausili Solonaima Brown
Photo Caption: The 7th Measina Samoa Conference Opening group photo.
*Katalina Tovia is a final year Media and Journalism student at the NUS
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