Samoa oratory practices book out in June

By Fuimaono Lumepa Hald 04 May 2022, 12:10AM

A Samoan-born academic in a New Zealand university has written a book on Samoan oratory practices and how it can be understood with the publication out next month.

The book titled “Lāuga: Understanding Samoan Oratory” published by Te Papa Press will be out next month (June 2022) and is the brainchild of Samoan-born lecturer at the Victoria University of Wellington, Leausalilo Dr Sadat Muaiava. Leausalilo teaches in the School of Languages and Cultures.

According to the Te-Papa Museum of New Zealand, the 320-page publication explains the intricacies of lāuga or Sāmoan oratory, a premier cultural practice in the fa‘asāmoa.

“It is written by Dr Sadat Muaiava, who is a prominent contributor to the discussion of Sāmoan language, oratory, tattooing and history and includes contributions by 19 guest writers, many of whom are well-known and respected orators.”

The book's focus will highlight the heritage and knowledge of the faaSamoa. 

"Lāuga or Sāmoan oratory is a premier cultural practice in the fa‘asāmoa, a sacred ritual that embodies all that fa‘asāmoa represents, such as identity, inheritance, respect, service, gifting, reciprocity and knowledge. 

“Delivered as either lāuga fa‘amatai (chiefly speeches) or lāuga fa‘alelotu (sermons), lāuga is captivating and endowed with knowledge, praxis and skill.

"Lāuga is enjoyed by many, but today many Sāmoan people, especially in the Sāmoan diaspora also remain disconnected from it and lack proficiency in its rhetorical inventory. 

“It is critical that the knowledge and skills that underpin lāuga are retained.”

Leausalilo was born in Sāmoa and holds the matai titles Le‘ausālilō (Falease‘ela), Lupematasila (Falelatai), Fata (Afega) and ‘Au‘afa (Lotofaga, Aleipata). 

His research focus is the interdisciplinary domains of the Sāmoan (and Pacific) language and culture in the homeland, the Pacific, and in diasporic contexts and has contributed widely and publicly in forums that discuss Sāmoan language, oratory, tattooing and history. He lives in Wellington with his wife, Shana Muaiava, and their four children.

By Fuimaono Lumepa Hald 04 May 2022, 12:10AM
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