Senior Lecturer retires, emphasises culture and Samoan language

After twenty-seven years of service to the education sector in Samoa, one of the oldest Lecturers at the National University of Samoa, Seiuli Vaifou Aloalii Temese, has called it a day.

Last week, the University staff and students celebrated her last day at the office. 

The 70-year-old told the Samoa Observer in a telephone interview that leaving a job she was so passionate about was hard. 

“I am leaving but my heart and prayers will always be with the University, the place that had built me into the person I am today,” she said. “I know it’s quite difficult leaving at these unprecedented times where we need all the help to educate our children but when the time comes for you to retire, you retire.”

Seiuli was the Head of the Department for the Centre of Samoan Studies (C.S.S) at the N.U.S. She hopes the University, especially students, continue to place emphasis on the importance of culture and the Samoan language.

She recalled that one of the major challenges was teaching students the proper pronunciation of Samoan words.

“I was known in the University for scolding this and that student whenever they mispronounce a Samoan word," she said.

"I live for our culture and I believe anyone else should too.

“I know the world is modernised today but look at it this way, once there’s no Samoan language, there’s no culture and when there’s no culture, the world is blind for us Samoans.

“Our culture plus Samoan language is very important at every aspects of life not just in our families but at anywhere we go.

“We used to have programmes where we travel overseas to acknowledge and teach students about the Samoan language and if we travel all the way to overseas because we value our Samoan culture, that means our people here (in Samoa) should value it more.”

Seiuli did not want to leave when she retired.

She said if there’s one thing she would change about the University, it’s the system, to emphasise the Samoan culture and language.

Seiuli also acknowledged the hard work of the N.U.S. staff and everyone she has worked with over the years.

In a Facebook post, one of the academics at C.S.S paid tribute to Seiuli and her work.

Ta'iao Matiu Matavai Tautunu who also was a student of Seiuli at the University said, "A big part of me will be gone as we part ways."

"You nurtured me when I was in school to the person I am today as we've come to worked alongside each other," he said.

"However, things would've been nicer if they stay the way they were. Seiuli, I am honoured, I have been blessed with your service as a mentor and a parent.

"God bless you mother, Seiuli Vaifou Aloalii Fofoaivaoese Lagaseu Temese. God Bless."


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