The 7th Measina Samoa Conference opened at the National University of Samoa (N.U.S) Fale yesterday.
Guided by the theme “Practices may Change but the Foundation Remains,” the conference started with an ava ceremony prepared by the N.U.S Centre for Samoa Studies Department.
The retired Vice President of the Land and Titles Court, Fa’amausili Solonaima Brown, highlighted the importance of culture. “I strongly believe that tradition and culture are precious because I am respected as a matai Samoa,” said Fa’amausili. “Samoa is founded on God since Malietoa Faiga accepted the missionaries from Britain. That was when changes were made, as the pastor was called the susuga but not for Malietoa anymore.”
Fa’amausili also delved into some of the changes since 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,” she said.
“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 sao and the extended families.
“The matai sao bestows new matai titles without the knowledge of the extended families.”
“The matai sao divides the extended families in different saofaiga to satisfy what they want.
“The current matai sao decides to relocate the children of the latest matai sao so that he can have the land all to himself.
“The latest matai sao’s son wants to become the next matai sao without mentioning the tautua from the families while the matai sao 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 tradition for it might be stolen from us,” she concluded.
The conference will continue until Thursday the 17th of November 2016.
*Katalina Tovia is a final year Media and Journalism student at the N.U.S .