Perks of living on customary land

By Vatapuia Maiava and Ilia L Likou ,

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OVER HERE, I AM MY OWN BOSS: Naomi Nauer, 53, from the village of Lauli’i.

OVER HERE, I AM MY OWN BOSS: Naomi Nauer, 53, from the village of Lauli’i.

Naomi Nauer, from the village of Lauli’i, says there is nothing better than living on customary land.

Aged 53, Naomi explains all the perks of living where she is. With no space limitations, great relationship with other villagers and a good Village Council to keep order, Naomi says she wouldn’t have it any other way.

And growing up in the area, Naomi says she can never get used to living anywhere else.

“I have grown accustomed to growing up on top of customary land,” she told the Village Voice.

“To be honest, I prefer living in this village to any other village. I am in charge of my own piece of land; I can do, grow or build whatever on my land and no one can say otherwise.

“On the other hand, the Matai’s and the village heads have fair authority over this village and it helps keep everything together. I can live peacefully knowing that our village leaders will keep order around this village. “

Unlike the western concept of land distribution and use, Naomi says that there aren’t as many limitations.

“You see the thing with village land; it’s not like the western idea of land use,” she said.

“For westerners, they have a quarter acre and that all they have to use. But for us in this village, the land is very big and the only limitation is your will to work it.

“It doesn’t matter whether my family has a funeral or any other similar gathering, we will still be able to host a big crowd on our land.

“The size of the family doesn’t matter because this is my land and it’s up to me.”

And not to mention the bonding relationship shared between villagers.

“We have that certain relationship with all the villagers,” Naomi said.

“When I grow or build something, I will sleep soundly and not worry if it will affect any other family because it doesn’t. There is a unity in this village and between families.

“In the western world, when you pay for your piece of land then you can go over the boundary when doing your work. When you have a plantation then you must keep within your boarder but it’s different over here.

“All the villagers are understanding and united.”

On top of all the already mentioned perks, Naomi says that having a village council who runs things fairly is also a great perk.

“Another benefit of village living is the fair intervention of the village head,” she said.

“In a village or place with no village head, when a family has a very big party and make a lot of noise then people will come and stone the house.

“But in these village, the village leaders can intervene and calm the party down to avoid problems. That’s the great thing about living here.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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