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Samoa Tula'i : ecclesiastical and political face of Samoa's independence, 1900-1962

Liua'ana, Featuna'i Ben


This study consists of eleven chapters and a conclusion. Chapter One is entitled Introduction - Echoes From the Past. It serves several purposes. It introduces briefly a summation of the political aspirations of Malietoa Vaiinupo, who accepted the LMS mission, and the political mayhem that beset Samoa from the 1850s to 1962. The introduction also introduces briefly the relationship between the Samoan (LMS) Church, the LMS missionaries, and Samoan politics, and how these interacted with...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorLiua'ana, Featuna'i Ben
dc.description.abstractThis study consists of eleven chapters and a conclusion. Chapter One is entitled Introduction - Echoes From the Past. It serves several purposes. It introduces briefly a summation of the political aspirations of Malietoa Vaiinupo, who accepted the LMS mission, and the political mayhem that beset Samoa from the 1850s to 1962. The introduction also introduces briefly the relationship between the Samoan (LMS) Church, the LMS missionaries, and Samoan politics, and how these interacted with one another, during the political turmoil in the late nineteenth century, and the nationalistic fervour of the Samoans ln the early twentieth century. The next ten chapters are presented chronologically as far as it is possible, although the guiding principle for the placement of each chapter is thematic, consisting mainly of case studies. Chapter Two, entitled A German Plantation and Samoan Aspirations, looks at the German administration of Samoa from 1900 to 1914. The study highlights various factors, issues and events that contributed to the motivation of Samoans towards independence. It looks at Germany's treatment of Samoans under Wilhelm Solf, and how Samoans reacted to Selfs administration. The chapter points to inconsistencies in the German administration, and Samoan misunderstanding as to their role, and Germany's role, in the administration of Samoa. The study illustrates Solfs negative treatment of Samoan protocol, which eventually led to hostility, rejection, and anti-German opinions and the role of the missions in supporting the German regime to the displeasure of the Samoans. The view of the LMS mission, and the Samoan (LMS) Church leaders, on the issue of independence, during the German period is also discussed. Chapter Three is entitled The O!oa Kamupani Controversy. This is a case study taken out of the German administration era. The Oloa Kamupani (Goods Company) was a Samoan enterprise, which struck a chord with the political aspirations of some of the Samoan leaders. Although initiated by a partEuropean opportunist, the Samoan Faipule immediately entertained the idea. The Samoans were reeling under Selfs administration policies, which had taken away most of the Samoan protocol. The political leaders were looking for a way to reassert their authority, albeit an economic one. The Oloa Kamupani gave the Samoans the opportunity to control their own economic future while, indirectly, voicing an economic protest at the low price offered by the merchants and the Germans for their products. It gave Samoans like Mata'afa losefo and Lauaki Namulau'ulu Mamoe the opportunity to regain political ascendancy, especially in the eyes of the Samoans. The German administration's reaction to the Samoan enterprise and the consequence thereafter set a bitter anti-German reaction. Chapter Four is entitled The Mau a Pule Conflict This is the second case study from the German administration period. The Mau a Pule conflict is further evidence of the anger stored up within the Samoan community. The German administration had by 1909 destroyed all the customs, tradition, and authority that meant anything to the Samoans. The failure of the Oloa Kamupani, and the punishments meted out to the Samoan leaders for defying German authority, was still haunting the Samoans. The worst affected was Mata'afa losefo whose status as Alii Sili (Primary or Greater Chief) was diminishing as the Faipule closer to Solf were consulted on important Samoan matters. The Mau a Pule also provided an opportunity for Lauaki Namulau'ulu Mamoe to regain some of his authority, and to re-unite Samoa under Samoan control. The Mau a Pule was not just a reaction to the German administration but a cry and a call for Samoan independence. Chapter Five is entitled A Ramshackle Administration and Samoan Expectations. This chapter looks at New Zealand's administration of Samoa from 1914 to 1926. It takes a brief look at the Samoans' reaction to New Zealand's arrival and Germany's departure because of World War I. New Zealand's 'ramshackle administration' caused some animosity among the Samoans and Europeans, especially New Zealand's role in the 1918 influenza epidemic, which took many Samoan lives. The chapter highlights how New Zealand dealt with Samoan rejection, and Samoans called for New Zealand's removal. The year 1926 marked the beginning of an era in which Samoan nationalism began to surface and New Zealand's competency as administrator declined. For the Samoans, the Germans' first fourteen years as administrators, compared to New Zealand first fourteen years, was paradise. Chapter Six is entitled An Administrative Blunder and The Logan - Moore Debate. This is a case study taken out of the New Zealand administration period. The 1918 influenza epidemic blunder cost many Samoan lives, and New Zealand its credibility to administer other nations. The lack of positive action and immediate medical assistance only highlighted the incompetence of the New Zealanders. The Samoans were furious, and from that time harboured angry sentiments that would surface again and again in their future dealings wtth New Zealand. The pain for the Samoans was not just a result of the epidemic, but also Colonel Robert Logan's (Samoa's administrator) insensitivity in his attack on the LMS mission, especially the missionary Elizabeth Moore, and the Samoans. This chapter looks at the impact of Logan's actions, and Moore's reactions, and how the Samoans perceived their verbal confrontation in relation to New Zealand's irresponsibility. Chapter Seven is entitled Political Incompetence and Samoan Nationalism. This chapter continues the story that ended in Chapter 5. It highlights the beginning and expansion of the Mau movement, and how it became the vehicle for nationalistic fervour and independence aspirations. The chapter highlights the close working relationship between Samoans and other members of the communi1y, especially the half-castes. It discusses New Zealand's reaction to Samoan nationalism, and also looks at the efforts of those outside Samoa to promote Samoan grievances. The chapter looks at the various petitions drawn up and sent to New Zealand, England, America and the League of Nations (later replaced by the United Nations) - a sign of determination to gain independence. Chapter Eight is entitled Samoan Patriotism and the Emergence of the Mau Church. This chapter focuses mainly on the relationship of the Mau and the Samoan (LMS) Church, at a specific time in the history of the Samoan Church, when the involvement of the Mau in the Samoan (LMS) Church was at its height (1928 -1931). Although the relationships between the three main mission societies were cordial, they sometimes deteriorated into hatred and spite. These attitudes were ultimately transferred onto the Mau - Samoan (LMS) Church conflict, especially when the Catholics stood in opposition to the Samoan (LMS) Church. The other minor denominations, such as the Mormons and the Seventh Day Adventists, had very little influence on the Mau. The period covered saw the Mau and the Samoan (LMS) Church unite to form the Mau Church. The alliance formed a strong foundation for propagating Mau beliefs. The alliance also questioned the continuing existence, and the control the LMS mission had on the Samoan (LMS) Church. The issue of the Samoan (LMS) Church taking control of its religious life surfaced again during this perlod to haunt the LMS missionaries. Chapter Nine is entitled Chinese in Paradise and Indentured Labour Problems. This chapter covers a period that stems from the German era to just after the end of World War IL The previous chapters act as a background to the Chinese problem, and the chapter itself will help fill some of the gaps in the previous chapters. The chapter has been included because it helps paint a bigger picture of the many problems facing the New Zealand administration. The problem was not just with indentured labourers but with the Chinese, Melanesians, and others arriving in Samoa to satisfy the planters greed. The issue at hand was an ethical one - keeping the Samoan race pure, and the failure of the New Zealand administration to consult the Samoans in its decision to recruit Chinese labourers. The story of the Chinese in this chapter highlights the plight of the Chinese in Samoa and how the New Zealand administration tried to deal with it. The social problems that went with the recruiting of Chinese labourers affected the Samoans greatly. For many Samoans, especially at the height of the Mau period, the Chinese issue was both a problem and a blessing. The treatment of the Chinese by the New Zealand administration and the planters was not condoned by the Samoans. Jt not only black marked New Zealand's administration, but it gave the Samoans a further opportunity to denigrate New Zealand. Chapter Ten is entitled A Question of Authority: Samoan {LMS) Church Leadership Challenges. This chapter covers a period that encompasses the German era to World War II. lt is a case study chapter that highlights the intense conflict between Samoan pastors, especially the Samoan elders, and the missionaries of the LMS mission. It looks at the relationship between the National Advisory Council and the Samoa District Committee. It also discusses the conflict between Samoan pastors and LMS missionaries in the mission fields, such as Tuvalu and Kiribati, to highlight the Samoans' struggle for leadership and control. The chapter looks at the Goward conflict, Sibree and Huckett's dismissal, and other events, which undermined LMS leadership in the Samoan (LMS) Church. It includes a case study of Samoan pastors trying to replace Christian ideals with fa'ataulaitu or faipe/e practices. The radical actions reflected a challenge to the LMS for control of their own spiritual destiny. It happened at a time when the Samoan quest for independence had reached the minds and hearts of the League of Nations. Chapter Eleven is entitled The Impact of World War II and A Mandate For Independence. This chapter deals with the arrival of Americans troops in 1942 and how Samoans responded to the change of lifestyle and to the wealth the Americans offered. It examines the reaction of the missions to the Americans, and how they dealt with the problems at hand. The chapter also focuses on the events after the war in relation to Samoan's petitions for independence and their dealings with the United Nations. It examines the pressure and the impact of other newly formed institutions, such as the World Council of Churches, on Samoan aspirations for independence. Finally, the Conclusion places this study in the context of existing literature on Samoan history. The conclusion also collects all the factors, issues and events, which motivated Samoans to seek independence, and shows how these factors impacted on the Samoans in their struggle for independence. These factors, issues and events are evaluated to highlight the intimate relationship between the Samoan (LMS) Church and the political vein of Samoa's independence movement. The conclusion also evaluates whether the Samoan (LMS) Church influenced Samoa's political independence or vice versa. It also evaluates the impact of church independence on the Samoan (LMS) Church itself, and its relationship to an independent political government. Finally, the conclusion attempts to provide an answer to the dilemma as to who made Samoa independent, and explores whether independence was indeed the aim of the Samoan people or something completely different.
dc.format.extentxxvi, 359 leaves
dc.subject.lccDU819.A2L58 2001
dc.subject.lcshChurch and state Samoa
dc.subject.lcshSamoa History Autonomy and independence movements
dc.subject.lcshSamoa Politics and government
dc.titleSamoa Tula'i : ecclesiastical and political face of Samoa's independence, 1900-1962
dc.typeThesis (PhD)
local.contributor.supervisorGunson, Niel
local.description.notesThis thesis has been made available through exception 200AB to the Copyright Act.
local.type.degreeDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)
local.contributor.affiliationResearch School of Pacific and Asian Studies, The Australian National University
CollectionsOpen Access Theses


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