Topic: Lealali I Leilua

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Hamilton City Libraries Oral History Programme, Interview with: Lealali I Leilua, Accession no: OH0094, Date: 9 November 1990. Interviewed by Rev. Mose S Atimalala as part of the Taking Root in a New Land Oral history project 1990

The Rev. Mose Atimalala interviewed first Mr Lealali I Leilua and the Mr Tafao'imalo Simanu, OH0096, during the month of November 1990, at 51 Greenwood Street.

These interviews, OH0094 and OH0096 were almost identical in that, they focused on most parts "On the impact of a change of life from Samoa to New Zealand; and whole life-style that goes with it".

However Mr Leilua was targeted on the significance of continuing as a matai or chief, in a society away from home where the system is central and flourishing.

•1.      He re-iterated enthusiastically on the importance of the continuation of this way of life, especially, when it comes to a control of a family and family affairs. Samoan customs is centred on this profession; and its value cannot be minimized whatever and however.

•2.      That the matais and the matai system is a government in her own right; and by bringing it to New Zealand, encourages the spirit of customary authority, and the sense of togetherness!

Mr Leilua also spoke of the changes done to that system, as well as the general attitude towards the matai system wrought by the coming of Christianity to Samoa. He reaffirmed the influence of the faith on all walks of life, thus forcing the system to abandon some of the practices especially those that embraces heathenism and idol worshipping.

In summing up Mr Leilua's given thoughts, the matai system ought to be regarded as the way of life for all Samoans, second o Christianity's higher standards. He thinks that Christianity has done a lot for his people and country, and must be upheld as a guiding line and a driving force in all that is good for the Samoans.

Lealali I Leilua - Oral history


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Complete recording available on Level 3 of the Garden Place Library.

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Lealali I Leilua

First Names:Lealali
Last Name:Leilua
Place of Birth:Samoa