Be brave, Tui Atua raises customary lands at Vaiola graduation

The former Head of State, His Highness Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi, highlighted the importance of title and ownership of customary lands in Savai’i last Thursday.

Tui Atua made the point as the keynote speaker during Vaiola College’s graduation, which was guided by the theme “Be Bold, be brave and make a change.” He was accompanied by the Masiofo, Her Highness Filifilia during the trip to Savai’i where they also visited their Safotulafai family.


At the Malae o Fuifatu, Tui Atua placed wreathes on the grave of his great, great grandmother, Taeleumete, and his beloved relative, Rev. Elder Oka Fauolo.

Back at Vaiola, the former Head of State congratulated the students and teachers for their work this year and he focused on his connections to Safotulafai and Savai'i in a speech in delivered in the Samoan language.

“For me who was reared in Fuifatu, I prefer to speak in Samoan,” a translation of his remarks read. “One because in my Samoan cultural reference I am speaking not only to you but also to my forbears; specifically to Taeleumete my great, great grandmother who is buried in Fuifatu.  

“According to custom, this is the justification for my qualification to speak to you from the heritage of Safotulafai.  According to that heritage, my great, great grandmother is amongst the audience listening to me. Even though I do not see her, I am very conscious of her presence.”

The former Head of State said Vaiola’s theme for their graduation could not be more applicable to what is happening in Samoa today.

“We face a number of critical issues, like the coronavirus pandemic and measles; damage to the environment due to climate change, technology and its challenges and others,” he said. 

“But I think that it is better to identify a focus in order to achieve clarity.  For this purpose, I have opted to concentrate on the title and ownership of customary land.”

“One of the Provisions approved by the Constitutional Convention 1960 was to refer the Constitution to a Plebiscite.  This was an affirmation of a commitment to the preeminence of the people celebrated by the American Constitutional writers by the constant assertion, WE THE PEOPLE, which in simple terms means that in a democracy, it is the people who decide.

“The point is reinforced by Section 102 and Section 109 of the Samoan Constitution.  What it means is that the people’s right to customary land can only be changed or modified by a referendum that is supported by two thirds majority of the eligible voters.”

Tui Atua then turned his attention to the three bills before Parliament, proposing monumental changes to the Judiciary, Land and Titles Court and the Constitution.

“The government asserts that it has eighty percent support of the people for the Three Bills amendments.  If this is so, why do they find it so hard to abide by the insistence in section 102 and section 109 to refer the issue of customary land alienation to a referendum that must be supported by two-thirds majority of the eligible voters?” Tui Atua said.


He called for the recognition and remembrance of the wisdom and vision of the framers of the original Constitution.

“Let us be guided by the wisdom and the sacrifice of our forbears.  They were the ones who struggled for our Independence,” he said. 

“They were the ones who fled to the forests, were exiled and imprisoned, deprived of their matai titles and customary land.  And in the words of the song, tried to protect themselves with their hands from the bullets of the military Police.  

“The words of the song gives substance and meaning to the Biblical text:  “ Your old men will dream dreams; your young men will see visions”.  The prophetic message of the young is reflected in the theme of the message  of the Graduating Class 2020, Be Bold!  Be Brave and Make a Change!”.

The following is the full text of Tui Atua’s message translated in English. The Samoan version is at the bottom:

BE BOLD, BE BRAVE AND MAKE A CHANGE!

(The theme of the graduating class 2020) 

(Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Ta’isi Efi, Vaiola College, Faasaleleaga, Savaii, 3 December 2020) 

Even though the Church College administrators said I can speak in my language of preference, I detected an obvious preference for English.  So I brought along three books for your college library specifically for those who prefer an English reference.

For me who was reared in Fuifatu, I prefer to speak in Samoa.  One because in my Samoan cultural reference I am speaking not only to you but also to my forbears; specifically to Taeleumete my great, great grandmother who is buried in Fuifatu.  According to custom, this is the justification for my qualification to speak to you from the heritage of Safotulafai.  According to that heritage, my great, great grandmother is amongst the audience listening to me.


Even though I do not see her, I am very conscious of her presence.  If I speak in English she most likely would be offended and tell me off:  You hardly come to the family and yet when you come you speak to me in a language that I do not understand.

The second reason was the invitation to visit Germany in 2014 to celebrate the hundredth anniversary of the ending of the relationship between Samoa and Germany.

One of the main features of this visit was to examine the archival records about the invitation to my grandfather Tupua Tamasese Lealofi 1 and his party to visit Germany in 1910.  It seems that the invitation was not meant to honor my grandfather but to draw him away from Samoa at a critical moment.  Mataafa le Ali’i Sili’s health was dicey and Tupua Tamasese Lealofii 1 seemed the most popular candidate to succeed.  The German administration was very much opposed to Tamasese succeeding.

The return trip was delayed for a long time and the evidence of the conversations between Berlin and Apia was very revealing.  The Berlin Office were wanting constant reporting about Mataafa’s health.  My grandfather in desperation sought assistance from the office of Godgroy und Sohn, a German company with plantations in Samoa, who canvassed the authorities in Berlin and through their canvassing succeeded to convince the German authorities for Tamasese and his party to return to Samoa.

When Tamasese and party arrived in Samoa, Mataafa le Alii Sili was still alive.  Shortly after, he died.  The German regime abolished the Alii Sili position and appointed Malietoa Tanumafili I and Tupua Tamasese Lealofi I as Alii Fautua.

The reason for the German administration’s antagonism to Tupua Tamasese Laelofi I was because he and Vaimoso broke down the doors of Vaimea Prison and released Lauaki and his partisans.  When asked by the German officials why Tamasese broke down the prison and released Lauaki and his supporters, I answered in one word, genealogy.  Taeleumete the daughter of Fauolo was the mother of Tupua Tamasese Titimaea, the father of Tupua Tamasese Lealofi I.  Taeleumete’s sister, Uluuila is the mother of Atamu who married a lady of Tufutafoe and issued Lauaki Mamoe.

The question begs:  How can I connect the history of these people to the theme of the graduating class, Be Bold! Be Brave And Make a Change!

The leadership and  achievements of Lauaki are attested to by song and historical recording.  As well, Tupua Tamasese Lealofi I with Vaimoso breaking the prison at Vaimea and releasing Lauaki and his supporters. The exile of Lauaki and his companions in Saipan, North Pacific, is constantly celebrated in song, in dance and in historical recording.  The legacy continues in the life of Tupua Tamasese Lealofi III when he and others of a peaceful march were shot and killed by New Zealand Police.

We face a number of critical issues, like the coronavirus pandemic and measles; damage to the environment due to climate change, technology and its challenges and others. But I think that it is better to identify a focus in order to achieve clarity.  For this purpose, I have opted to concentrate on the title and ownership of customary land.

One of the Provisions approved by the Constitutional Convention 1960 was to refer the Constitution to a Plebiscite.  This was an affirmation of a commitment to the preeminence of the people celebrated by the American Constitutional writers by the constant assertion, WE THE PEOPLE which in simple terms means that in a democracy, it is the people who decide.

The point is reinforced by Section 102 and Section 109 of the Samoan Constitution.  What it means is that the people’s right to customary land can only be changed or modified by a referendum that is supported by two thirds majority of the eligible voters.

The government asserts that it has eighty percent support of the people for the Three Bills amendments.  If this is so, why do they find it so hard to abide by the insistence in section 102 and section 109 to refer the issue of customary land alienation to a referendum that must be supported by two-thirds majority of the eligible voters?

Let us move forward.  Let us be guided by the wisdom and the sacrifice of our forbears.  They were the ones who struggled for our Independence.  They were the ones who fled to the forests, were exiled and imprisoned, deprived of their matai titles and customary land.  And in the words of the song, tried to protect themselves with their hands from the bullets of the military Police.  

The words of the song gives substance and meaning to the Biblical text:  “ Your old men will dream dreams; your young men will see visions”.  The prophetic message of the young is reflected in the theme of the message  of the Graduating Class 2020, Be Bold!  Be Brave and Make a Change! Soifua.


SAMOAN SPEECH 

Aua le fefe! Loto malosi ma fai se suiga!

Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Ta’isi Efi 

Faamanuia Kolisi o Vaiola, Faasaleleaga, Savai’i 

3 December2020

E ui lava ina fai mai Sui o le a’oga, “Pule lava oe i le gagana!” ae i la’u matau, e falala lo latou taofi i le gagana Peretania.  La lea la ua ou sau ma tusi e tolu, o la’u mau i le gagana Peretania e tuu i le faletusi (Library) a le Kolisi mo ē o loo ‘ave le faamuamua i le gagana Peretania.

A o a’u lava ia, o le tama na faafailele i le malae o Fuifatu , e fia fai atu la’u mau i le gagana Samoa. Auā e lē na o outou lea e faalogologo ma ii la’u tautalaga.  O lea fo’i e faalogologo mai  lo’u tinā o Ta’eleumete, o le afafine o Fau’olo.  O lo’u piitaga lea i le lau’ele’ele lenei.

E lua mafuaaga.  O le mafuaaga muamua,  e ui ona e lē o vaaia le tino o le tinā o le aiga, ae ou te talitonu o loo auai i le tatou mafutaga lenei.    A faalogo mai nei ua ou nanu atu, e ono fetuu a’u:  “Ia o le a e taataa ona e sau lea e nanu mai ae faapefea matou lea e faalogo atu?”  O le mafuaaga lona lua, o le valaaulia o ma’ua e le malo o Siamani i le tausaga 2014;  na faamanatu ai i Perelini le laumua o Siamani le selau (100)tausaga talu ona motusia le mafutaga a Siamani ma Samoa.

O se tasi o vaega o lenei malaga, o le asiasi i faamaumauga i le tala faasolopito ma mea na tutupu na māfua ai ona tala’ia Tupua Tamasese Lealofi Muamua ma lana ‘aumalaga e asiasi atu i Siamani i le tausaga 1910.  

Fai mai le molimau o faamaumauga a Siamani, na māfua ona ua gasegase ia Mataafa le Alii Sili ma e foliga mai ua lata ona tuua le malo.  O loo faamaumauina i pepa nei, o le mafuaaga na valaaulia ai Tupua Tamasese Lealofi Muamua ma lana ‘aumalaga, ina ia malaga ‘ese mai Samoa ia Tupua Tamasese Lealofi Muamua ina ia ‘aua ne’i auai i le maliu ma le filifiliga o lē suitulaga i le Alii Sili auā e foliga mai e fulisia le atunuu iā Tupua Tamasese Lealofi Muamua e suitulaga i le tofi Alii Sili.

Toeitiiti atoa le lua tausaga o taofiofi e le ‘au Siamani le toeaina ma lana ‘aumalaga i Siamani.  E molimau faamaumauga a Siamani i fe’au faauaealesi a le malo o Perelini  i Samoa po o le ā le tulaga ua i ai le gasegase o Mataafa.  A na lē alu le toeaina i le kamupanῑ Siamani Godfroy und Sohn  lea sa fai faato’aga i Samoa e su’e  ai se tupe mo pasese e toe fo’i mai ai i Samoa, e lē gaioi le malo o Siamani e faaavanoa  pasese o se vaa e fo’i mai ai Tupua Tamasese Lealofi Muamua ma lana ‘aumalaga i Samoa.

E taunuu mai le malaga o soifua lava Mataafa le alii Sili ae ona ua tuumalo Mataafa le alii Sili, ua soloia e Siamani le tofi o le alii Sili ae tofia Malietoa Tanumafili Muamua ma Tupua Tamasese Lealofi Muamua e avea ma alii Fautua.

Na māfua ona lē fiafia le malo o Siamani ia Tupua Tamasese Lealofi Muamua, ona o ia ma Vaimoso na talepeina le falepuipui i Vaimea ae tatala mai i tua ia Lauaki ma isi o ana paaga sa falepuipui faatasi ma ia.  Na fesili mai ia Siamani pe na māfua iseā ona foua e Tamasese le malo o Siamani.  Na ou fai atu lea, e māfua ona o le gafa.  O Ta’eleumete le afafine o Fau’olo o le tinā o Tupua Tamasese Titimaea le tamā o Tupua Tamasese Lealofi Muamua,  o lona uso UluuIla e tupuga mai ai Atamu na usu i le tama’ta’i Tufutafoe ona maua ai lea o Lauaki Mamoe.

O le soifuaga o tagata nei, o se tasi lea molimau ola o le fe’au na momoli mai e fai ma ta’iala i la’u tauutalaga: ‘Aua le fefe! Loto malosi ma ia fai se suiga! O Lauaki o lena o loo faamauina i le tala faasolopito ma pese e lagi e le atunuu i lana galuega sa’ilimalo.  Faapea ai   fo’i  ma Tupua Tamasese Lealofi 1 ona ua ia faatasi ma Vaimoso ua talepe le falepuipui  ae faasa’oloto ia Lauaki ma ana paaga.  Faapea ai ma le aunuua o Lauaki ma ana paaga i le motu o Saipani i le Pasefika i Mātū.  Faapea ai fo’i ma  Tupua Tamasese Lealofi le Tolu ona ua tafanaina ia ma isi o ana paaga i le savali filemu a le Mau, i totonu o le taulaga o Apia i le tausaga 1928.


I lenei vaitau, e tele  faafitauli matuia o loo feagai  ma lo tatou atunuu ma le lalolagi, e i ai faama’i  pipisi pei o le Corona Virus ma le misela, afaina o le si’osi’omaga ona  o  fesuia’iga o le tau, le tekonolosi  ma ōna faafitauli.  Ae i ai se manatu e sili ona fai auaua’i e manino ma e lē tupu ai le nunu. 

Ua ou filifilia le faafitauli  o le puipuiga o ‘ele’ele e faasino faapitoa i tagatanuu o Samoa e ‘ave i ai le faamuamua. 

Muamua, ina ua pasia e le Fono Faavae ia le Tulafono Faavae ae o loo i ai ma le Faai’uga faapenei:  Ia toe ‘ave le Tulafono Faavae e fai i ai le Pelepesite (palota) a le atunuu.  O le uiga o lea mea, e ō gatasi lava le finagalo o ō tatou mātua ma le mea lea e ‘auga i ai ia malo malamalama;  pei o lea e lauvivilu i ai le gagana a le Tulafono Faavae o le malo o Amerika, WE THE PEOPLE. O lona uiga, o le amataga ma  le tulu’iga o le pule, e ‘auga lava i tagatanuu.

E te maua le mau lea i le tausisi i le pelepesite ma e toe maua mai fo’i i le puipuiga o ‘ele’ele faaleaganuu.  O loo faapea mai le Tulafono Faavae Fuaiupu 102 ma le Fuaiupu 109, a aafia loa le pule a suli i ‘ele’ele faaleaganuu, e lē mafai ona suia vagana ua faia se palota faalaua’itele e lagolagoina e le lua vaetolu (2/3) o le ‘au palota.  O le a le uiga tonu o lea faa’upuga?  O lona uiga, o le pule i ‘ele’ele faaleaganuu, o loo i aao ma lima o suli o ‘ele’ele.  E lē pule ia Tumua ma Pule, Aiga ma ā latou Tama, le Palemene, le Palemia ma le Kapeneta; e pule tagatanuu, o suli o le lau’ele’ele.

Afai la e moni ua fulisia le atunuu e lagolago le mau a le Malo, aiseā e ‘augatā ai e usita’ia le Tulafono Faavae?  Ia fai se palota faalaua’itele pe ‘ausia le lua vaetolu (2/3) o le ‘au palota a le atunuu e lagolagoina.  

Tatou alo i luma.  Ia fai ma ta’iala le aga ma le mau a o tatou mātua na latou sa’ili ai le malo.   Auā  o i latou ia na taavao.  O latou na aunuua; o latou na falepuipui; o latou na fāoa suafa matai ma ‘ele’ele; ma o latou fo’i na tali i lima pulufana, pei o upu o le pese.

Ae ia salani upu o le pese i upu o le Tusi Paia: “E fai miti a toeaiina ae perofeta ia taulele’a”.  O lona uiga, ia salani ia miti a toeaiina i le faaperofeta a le fanau.  O le faa’upuga faaperofeta o loo momoli mai i le tuualalo a le A’oga ‘Aua le fefe! Ia loto malosi ma ia fai se suiga!  Be bold! Be brave! And make a change! Soifua.

 

 

 

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