Fa'a Saymore - from promised land to dreamland: perceptions of Fa'a Samoa by New Zealand-born Samoans in Brisbane

  • Dion Enari

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Despite Samoan being the second most frequently spoken language in the Logan City Council, Moreton Bay Regional Council and the Ipswich City Council, there are grave concerns for its practice among those born outside of Samoa who now reside in Brisbane, Australia.

This research explored the lived experiences of 22 New Zealand-born Samoans who reside in Brisbane and their journeys within mainstream society and Samoan spaces. For some, their navigation was done with ease, while others were met with challenges in both contexts.

In this thesis I argue for the importance of Fa’a Samoa (Samoan way) among this cohort as necessary in navigating both Samoan spaces and mainstream society. This thesis shows that despite being “twice removed” from their ancestral homeland, with birth in New Zealand and residence in Australia, this cohort still valued the importance of Fa’a Samoa in their life journeys.

Through exploring our lived experiences with Fa’a Samoa concepts such as aiga potopoto, fa’alavelave and fa’a matai, respect, support, identity and learning were identified as carrier aspects of Fa’a Samoa, whilst disconnect and burden were recognised as challenges and barriers to Fa’a Samoa continuation. Although Fa’a Samoa was valued among this cohort, Fa’a Samoa challenges must be addressed in order to ensure its survival and sustainability.

This study is underpinned by a need for Samoan cultural continuity as it relates to Brisbane. As an insider in this research, I used talanoa, participant observation and relevant literature to bring theirs, mine, our voices to the forefront and centre. It is envisioned that our stories will provide valuable insight to ensure Fa’a Samoa initiatives are done with us, and by us, now and for future generations.
Date of Award15 Jun 2022
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorMarja Sarvimaki (Supervisor) & Daniel O'Hare (Supervisor)

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