APIA: MONDAY 16 SEPTEMBER 2013: A delegation of Samoan Mormons from Brisbane left a meeting with Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi happy with his response.
They met to discuss what the Brisbane Samoans say is a ban on Samoan in worship services by their church leaders.
“The Prime Minister has promised to write to the Elders in Brisbane and Utah,” said lawyer Leulua’iali’i Olinda Woodroffe who accompanied the delegation to the meeting.
The delegation sought help from the Prime Minister in the controversial matter.
One of the delegates Anne Siakisina Hakula said they had sought help from other Elders without success.
Hakula said they were never told the reason for the ban directly.
“We only knew of the ban when one of the Elders was a guest at one of our festivities, “she said.
There, the Elder gave a speech and at the end of it said ethnic languages will no longer be used in services without giving any reasons for the decision.
It was during a Court hearing that the reasons behind the Elders decision were revealed.
They wanted Samoans to go restore or revive palagi wards, Hakula said.
Anne said the stakes (a group of wards) affected by the ban were never informed of anything.
“There were no talks or negotiations between the stakes and the Elders over the issue,” she said.
When they disputed the ban “they threated to remove our names from the list of LDS members.”
The members then turned to the Human Rights Court and no more threats were issued.
Another member of the delegation Tareta Siakisina said they were happy with the outcome of the meeting with the Prime Minister and are looking forward to a bright future the church.
Sialisina said the ban included the Tongan language.