You could say that as Samoan students living in New Zealand we represent the Living Heritage of our Samoan Culture. Our feet are planted firmly in New Zealand soil but inside us we carry with us our Samoan heritage which guides us on our journey. Our families and the wider Samoan community help us to keep our traditions alive.
Our past continues to shape our future. We take pride in our heritage and would like to share it with other students in New Zealand, and perhaps even around the world.
Samoans have always been open to global influences. Most of Samoa's most valued treasures originally came from Fiji and the friendly island of Tongatapu. For instance our tapa cloth was based on Tongan ngatu ( tapa cloth). Another example is the fine mat which was also brought to Samoa by the Tongan people. The Samoan people know the fine mat as the "ie toga'. This literally meant Tongan material.
Samoans also have ancient traditions and ceremonies such as the matai ceremony and the art of Samoan tattoo which Leilani has described. But we have also adopted more recent traditions such as English cricket. We gave it a Samoan twist, renamed it kirikiti (also now more commonly known as kilikiti) made it uniquely our own and exported it to the rest of the Pacific.
Our project includes information about Samoan costumes, jewellery and adornment. For thousands of years Samoans have been making these. What is special about Samoan costumes, jewellery and adornment is that they were created from natural materials such as the nautilus shells used for the Tuiga, dried coconut midrib, and chicken feathers. These materials are readily available in Samoa.
Most of the adornments that are worn in Samoa are signs of rank or status and sometimes decoration, but what is special about them is that each one has their own story to tell.