Postgraduate History students from the School of Social Sciences recently met the Head of State, His Highness Tui Ā’ana Tuimaleali’ifano Va’aletoa Sualauvi II, and his wife, Her Highness Fa’amausili Leinafo, at their residence in Falelātai.
The students were conducting fieldwork in the village from 24 September to 2 October as part of their postgraduate diploma in History, and were interviewing locals about the traditional gift-giving ceremony (known as the o’o) for His Highness which was held on 21 July 2017.
The students were also invited to the Fono Masina – monthly Meeting of the Matāutu Village Council and witnessed the ‘ava ceremony which precedes every meeting.
This was part of a broader research project led by U.S.P historian Associate Professor Morgan Tuimaleali’ifano to examine the impact of the diaspora on Samoan customs and practices.
This ambitious undertaking is the second time that the History Division, headed by Associate Professor Tuimaleali’ifano, has led a fieldtrip overseas.
The students who participated came from Labasa and Suva, and for some it was their first time to leave Fiji.
The students also visited Malua Theological College, Rev. Dr. Aukilani Tuiai and Rev. Dr Latu Latai, and the National University of Samoa, Associate Professor Penelope Schoeffel and Aruna Abdullah-Tuala Tamalelagi Misi, to engage with Samoan church historians/anthropologists and to help strengthen connections between these institutions and the USP for further research collaborations.
“The History Division would like to thank the Fiji Ministry of Education for granting leave for those students who are currently working as history teachers in Fiji’s high schools, the FALE Associate Dean (Research and Post-graduate) and Head of the School of Social Sciences for their support.
The students were greatly encouraged by the active support of His Highness Tui Ā’ana Tuimaleali’ifano and Masiofo Fa’amausili, Ta’ita’ifono and Chair Nanai Moemai and the Matāutu Village Council, Rev. Elder Tauti’aga Senara, Chair of Ekalesia Fa’apotopotoga o Samoa (EFKS), St. Theresa Catholic Church Community in Tiafau, Ramona ‘Asi Tupe, ‘Asi Nusi Tiumalu ma Tama-a-Tausala, Sā Lanuolā, and the ‘Āiga in Matamatanonofo.”