Samoan Speech Competition for High Schools in Wellington

13th July 2021
Samoa High Commissioner, H.E. Leasi Papali'i Scanlan delivering remarks at the competition
On Friday 2nd July 2021, the Samoa High Commissioner & Patron of the Fagasa (H.E. Leasi Papali’i Scanlan) was invited by the FAGASA (Fa’alapotopotoga mo le Aoaoina o le Gagana Samoa i Aotearoa) to speak at the Samoan Speech Competition for High Schools in Wellington at the Memorial Theatre, Victoria University of Wellington. The event commenced with a prayer & sermon by Rev. Misionare Tuitama’i (Samoa Methodist Church in Tawa). In his address, H.E. Leasi Papali’i Scanlan, spoke of the importance of understanding and speaking the Samoan language in order to appreciate more the beautiful Samoan culture and Custom. Referring to the Theme of the Competition (Strengthen the posts of your House to Thrive), the High Commissioner compared the Posts of a Samoan House to Samoan Children. The strength and Security of the Samoan Fale depends very much on its specially selected posts as, unlike the Palagi House, the Samoan House does not have walls but only posts to support the heavy roof. Similarly, the ongoing and future strength of a Samoan Family will depend very much on the children. Thus, the importance of providing a good education and standard of living for the children. Leasi reminded the Students of the need to utilise the opportunities provided to them by their Parents and Grandparents, many of whom had to work two to three jobs to ensure that they get the best education. His Excellency then advised the students that not everyone will win a Prize. But the fact that they have the courage to stand up and speak in Samoan in front of many people, makes them all winners. The High Commissioner concluded by thanking the President and Members of the Fagasa for organising this year’s Samoan Speech Competition and for their ongoing work in the promotion and teaching of the Samoan Language as well as Samoan Custom and Tradition in New Zealand. Leasi also thanked the Teachers, the Reverend Ministers and the various Churches & Organisations for their important roles in the teaching of the Samoan language, which is currently the third most spoken language in Aotearoa.

A total of twenty two (22) students of years 9 – 13 from several Colleges and High Schools throughout Wellington, competed. The quality and level of the students’ speeches in Samoan this year were very high, especially given that many of them were born in New Zealand. The Competition concluded with the Prize-giving which consisted mainly of Gift Vouchers and every student that spoke received a Prize. The President of FAGASA in the Wellington Region, Tofa Leausalilo Dr. Sadat Muaiava (Head of Samoan Studies at the Victoria University) spoke on behalf of the Fagasa to thank the Parents and Teachers for preparing the Students for the Competition. He also acknowledged the high level of the Students’ Speeches and Deliveries.

The winners were: Year 9 - Senetenari Taula (Taita College); Year 10 - Maima Ieru (Aotea College); Year 11 - Katie Tuimuaiava (St. Marys College); Year 12 - Simon Seleue Va’a (Naenae College); Year 13 - Sam Tautiaga Mamea (St. Patricks Town College).