Victoria University of Wellington Samoan Studies celebrates 30 years

The University is celebrating 30 years of the longest-running Samoan Studies school in New Zealand—and the only University to offer an undergraduate major in Samoan Studies.

Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Pasifika) Associate Professor Hon Luamanuvao Dame Winnie Laban says, “Samoan language is critical for culture and identity. Fifty percent of Pacific people living in New Zealand are Samoan. New Zealand has a Treaty of Friendship with Samoa, reflecting the long-established relationship between New Zealand and Samoa.”

“The investment that the University has made in Samoan Studies helps to bolster this strong relationship,” says Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Studies Professor Sarah Leggott.

The keynote speaker at the celebration event on 4 October is inaugural programme director, Mr Galumalemana Alfred Hunkin MNZM. Mr Hunkin will travel from Samoa for the event, joining Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences Professor Sarah Leggot, Associate Professor Sally Hill; members of the Samoan community and alumni.

“Victoria University of Wellington also has a long relationship with Samoa,” says Associate Professor Laban. “University academics were involved in drafting the constitution of Samoa. The University has a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the National University of Samoa and many National University of Samoa staff have studied here in Wellington. There is also a large number of our alumni in Samoa.

“These factors support the need to strengthen and support the ongoing teaching and learning of Samoan language and culture in the School of Languages and Cultures at Victoria University of Wellington.”

Along with a video of past students who have gone on to become prominent in their professional lives, the event will host the launch of poetry collection, Tui Aotearoa: Faamanatu mai le Matamatagi, translated by lecturer Niusila Faamanatu-Eteuati.

Samoan is the third most spoken language in New Zealand. In a recent blog post Ms. Faamanatu-Eteuati says, “For all our students, regardless of their ethnicity, Samoan Studies courses challenge them to develop new understandings of themselves as residents of multicultural societies and disaporic communities in Aotearoa.”

See more about Victoria's courses in Samoan Studies - Mataupu Tau Samoa