Students and staff of the National University of Samoa (N.U.S) were given a piece of national history when four panellists spoke on amendments to the national Flag, national anthem and the Constitution of the country.


The four panellists presented as part of the Centre for Samoan Studies Film and seminar series, in a presentation titled Symbolic Nationalism in Flux: Origins and Amendments to Samoa’s Anthem, Flag and Constitution.


Panellists include, Rosa Maiai, August Hansell (Tuso), Peseta Frank Wong and Professor Meleisea Leasiolagi Malama Meleisea.


Rosa Maiai spoke on how, where and when the flag came about. According to Maiai, the two Tamaaiga Malietoa and Tupua Tamasese created the flag.


Pens were used to colour the flag. The red part of the flag symbolises the blood of our forefathers. Blue symbolises the national unity and the white part is for our Pacific location. The flag was then taken to the Fono A Faipule for approval and it was approved.


It was in 1948 around June was when the flag was raised for the first time.


The original flag was taken by Ms. Brown from Masiofo Nou─ô and up until now the original flag is nowhere to be seen.

One of the panel members, Peseta Frank Wong shed some light on the history of the composer of the National Anthem.


According to Peseta, Sauniaau Ioane Iiga Kuresa composed the National Anthem.


He was a well known musician of his time, releasing his first composition in 1931, called “ Lou Nuu e Samoa e, Ua e Lalelei.

in 1939 he made history of being the first person to play two trumpets together, and he went on to start his own band at Leauvaa the same year.

He started a band at Leauvaa in 1939.


Sauniaau was born on the 23rd of January 1901 and died on the 10th July 1978.

Among his many achievements, was his love for music and painting.


Professor Meleisea Leasiolagi Malama Meleisea spoke on the amendments to the Constitution of Samoa,

He covered the Fundamental Rights, Customary Rights, Voting Rights, Womens Rights and Christianity in his presentation.


This seminar was part of the Centre for Samoan Studies seminar and film series at the National University of Samoa.

Faculty of business and Entrepreneurship lecturer, Fesolaí Aleni Sofara says that men have an important part to play in advocating for the rights of the Nofotane.

This was during his presentation entitled, "THE LAW OF BEING AN IN-LAW.”


Mr. Sofara's presentation coincides with the commemoration of International Women's day, on the 8th of March 2018.


He said that to date, there is no English word that could define the word "nofotane" which is the term given to women married in to other families.

Fesola’i challenged many of the stigmas and stereotypes attached to being a nofotane.


"Nofotane are Women who are new in a family or a village and their role is to serve the men's family. She belongs in the kitchen,” he said.

“The Samoan saying is ia mu mata ile afi, or that the nofotane’s main responsibility is the kitchen facing the open fire,” he said.


Fesola’i said, that while Nofotane is an individual choice, it is a choice that is looked down upon by many.

“Once you made this choice to get married and move to the man’s family there is only one word to describe you. The Nofotane," he said.


He strongly disagrees that the nofotane is being valued less than women of the families of their husbands, and that they have no voice in decision making, as suggested by the United Nations.

Fesola’i says that many families are wealthy because of the work of the nofotane.

He says in his own experience, after interviewing five nofotane women in his family, he found them to be more trustworthy than his own family members.

Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Lafaitele Fualuga Taupi agreed with Fesolaí saying that Nofotane are not slaves, and that behind a great man is a greater woman.


Head of Department Samoan language and culture Seiuli Vaifou Temese commented that the word "tamaítaí," is translated as the daughter which all the fine things in her family is presented to.


The problem lies when she is relocated to her husband's family, where she cannot expect to take those fine things, and enjoy the same privileges as that of her husband's sisters.


Yet she believes that the Nofotane understands the family better, and patience is the key to her being blessed with something more special.

Fesola’i Toleafoa ‘Ape Aleni Sofara is a lecturer in Commercial law at the Faculty of Business and Entrepreneurship at the National University of Samoa.

His article, Tui’umi: The assassin has recently been published in the Journal of Samoan Studies, Vol 7, (3), 87-93.