Malaeolema Mau’ava Vili crowned Mrs. Vaie’e 2020
Malaeolema Mau’ava Vili was crowned Mrs. Vaie’e 2020 on Friday night in a pageant dedicated to protecting or ending violence against women and children.
The pageant, now in its second year, focuses on recognising the role of married women (maupaolo) in the village of Vaiee.
Contestants competed in various categories such as: best evening wear, talent, puletasi, interview, personality, internet favourite, and Mrs. Charity (highest amount raised by Siva Samoa).
A parade in the morning kick-started the pageant activities which were led by police.
Event attendees included: Member of Parliament, La'auli Leuatea Polata'ivao; Samoa Tourism Authority’s Chief Executive Officer, Fa’amatuainu Lenatai Suifua; Miss Pacific Islands and Miss Samoa, Fonoifafo Mcfarland-Seumanu.
The Chairman of the Vaie'e Safety and Development Committee, Tuia Logoiai Pu’a Letoa said that the event was also a fundraiser to help construct a new community hall for the village and Safata District.
“The Mrs. Vaie'e Maupaolo Pageant is a unique event for the recognition and celebration of the service of maupaolo women,” he said.
Tuia added that the contestants are only required to be married to a man from Vaie’e.
“The significance of the pageant is the recognition and honouring the silent service by women referred to as ‘maupaolo’ or ‘nofotane’ and the promotion of their status as women who should be appreciated within all villages.
He added that maupaolo women are often viewed as ‘slaves’ to their spouse’s family and have no voice in decision making on any matters such as land and titles of her husband’s family.
“Several maupaolo women have been injured, maimed and killed in recent high profile family violence cases in Samoa," Tuia said.
The 66-year-old winner competed against eight other contestants including: Lineta Talafa Malaesilia; Faamanatu Tofinuu; Vai Iafeta; Kalameli Te’o; Helen Fagalima; Potofou Tuiletufuga; and Fay Malaesilia.
She married Mau'ava Vili of Vaie'e and Fusi Safata in 1979.
Tuia stressed that the focus of the pageant is on the talents and inner beauty of the contestants.
“It is also a family show, depicting the establishment of the village of Vaie’e in ancient times: its structure, its honorifics and the arrival of women from other villages, who have brought their talents and their own ‘mamalu’ (heritage) to the development of the village," he said.
He said the pageant, now in its second year, has been an effective way to change perceptions of and attitudes towards maupaolo.
“In the Samoan [culture] maupaolo means someone who resides in the safety and protection of the family she is married into," he said.
“The contestants will not be judged on their body shape or size, their beautiful face, their age or their cool attitude.
“Instead, they will be judged on their ability to show their talents, their ability to engage the audience and to show their values as women contributing to their families, church and village.”
The mother of two serves the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Ward at Fusi as a secretary of the Women's committee.
The pageant also recognised the services given to the village by ten elderly maupaolo women with awards
Tuia also said a new community hall would be a significant step in the development of the village and district.