Let’s give out of love instead

Dear Editor, 

Re: The question of culture 

You hit it on the nail’s head. Your words; GAUMATA’U and GAUALOFA is the essence of the whole discussion, the key to the reappraisal of our Samoan Culture Fa’alavelave tradition. 

Gaumata’u is to give with Fear. Fear of losing cash if no money returns, losing culturally if no ie toga, siapo, goods and honorific adulations are returned. Worse of all is to fear losing pride if someone else gives more money or goods. This is the giving that have dominated the landscape. The giving that should be discouraged by our church leaders, government leaders and our family matai leaders and most especially our immediate families, our parents, siblings etc. This the source of people’s suffering and poverty.

Gaualofa is to act out of love. Samoans did not have insurances to cover the unexpected or the extraordinary. Hence giving in it’s purest form in the Samoan tradition is motivated by love and compassion. 

Giving can be in labor, money, means, or simply present to tapua’i le faalavelave. The driving force is; many hands lighten the load. Gaualofa gives when the normal routine of daily life is off tract or temporarily interrupted by famine, disaster, celebrations of achievements and accomplishments, marriages, birth, illness and death.

Gaualofa knows that when one is in a similar or worse situation, families, friends, and loved ones will standup and reciprocate, hence the knowledge of reciprocity, in it’s sensible application. In this light it makes a lot of sense.

Now let us ask ourselves the following questions in the hope it might bring us back to our senses and help save our Samoan fa’alavelave traditional practices, which should be viewed as motivated by honest love and not a curse.

What went wrong? Who took us there? When did we get there? Where is gaualofa? How can we get back to giving out of gaualofa not of gaumata’u?


Asipau McMoore

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