National University steps back in Samoan cultural time

PHOTO: National University students re-enacting ‘poula’ during their cultural programme

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA – MONDAY 03 SEPTEMBER 2018: The National University of Samoa took a step in the past reliving cultural practices such as Samoan weddings and the dances that were banned by the missionaries called poula.

It’s the first time the national university has embarked into a cultural programme since its inception 35 years ago.

The Vice Chancellor, Professor Fui Leapai Asofou said it has taken the University sometime to launch the cultural inclusion programme in the university events.

The initiative supports the University’s vision an objectives to teach and share knowledge.

“Our vision is to collect all cultural and traditional information, document them and share them with the students,” said Fui.

He said the University is taking culture further from what that is presented in colleges and looks at events such as traditional weddings, funerals and other Samoan customs that no longer exist.

“We are also looking at a forum to discuss issues pertaining to culture especially the future and relevance of cultural practices against changes,” said Fui.

He said the important question lingering in the air now is which part of culture needs to be dropped and which needs to be preserved.

Samoan cultural presentations between two parties

“The actual motive behind the establishment of the national university was to inspire, encourage and instill in students what it is to be a Samoan person,” said Fui.

He believes the Committee set up specifically for this purpose has seen the importance of cultural inclusion within the University’s priority now and has a mission to accomplish it.

Based on their research, the students re-enacted how traditional Samoan weddings were conducted in the past, and how women were treated during courtship – aumoega and dancing – poula event.

Some wondered what it would be like if such customs were still practiced today.NUS, cultral p