There is a deep meaning of the Samoan saying; “E MANUMANU LE TAVA’E I ONA FULU”
Back in September this year my wife; daughter and two young grandsons spent the weekend at the Taumeasina Island Resort.
We watched their Saturday night Cultural Group entertainment commencing with an ava/kava ceremony to welcome the guests particularly the non-Samoans.
Gosh, what a shock!! The ava/kava bowl was placed on the concrete floor.
To me this was a shameful, disappointing, disrespectful and careless act to showcase our sacred and precious ceremony. Have you the leader, ever observed any village ava/kava ceremony that places the bowl on a bare floor?
Never, never, so, why are you people doing this because what you were telling the non-Samoan guests about the importance and sacredness of the ava/kava ceremony in our custom is indeed true. Unfortunately, having the bowl placed on the concrete, was not only contradicting yourself but confused the audience.
Before we checked out on Sunday, I wrote a note for the General Manager pointing out my concern regarding the kava bowl issue. He rang on Monday to thank and to assure me that he will look into the matter.
Well, last Saturday 12th November, I revisited the said hotel with some guests to have dinner there. Again to my shocking amazement, l discovered that nothing was done to the kava bowl as assured by the General Manager. The kava bowl was still placed on the concrete, nothing was changed at all.
I was deeply disappointed especially when one of my guests noticed the kava bowl placement on the concrete floor. l briefed him about my attempt to advise the people concerned through the General Manager to have the bowl placed on a small mat.
Anyhow, l have decided to publish this important concern in the media instead of wasting my time talking to the general Manager again.
I hope that we true Samoans are not only proud of our custom but be always obligated to protect it. My humble advice to the leader or spokesperson of the Taumesina Cultural Group, stop doing the ava ceremony if you cannot do it properly.
Do not use it to make money pe fai iai se fia malie. It is not your personal custom. It belongs to all of us Samoans. “E manumanu le tava’e i ona fulu”.
T.Telea Faatino mamalu le aganuu.
Ed’s note: Taumeasina Island Resort’s General Manager, Nathan Bucknall, was contacted for a comment. He did not want to comment but assured that he will talk to their cultural group about the issue.