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Chiefly title holders expected to serve family, church

By Charlina Tone APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Jan. 5, 2011) – In Samoa, the New Year has heralded more than 70 new matai for one Tufulele family.

[PIR editor’s note: Matai is a chiefly title that is bestowed upon someone with family and community responsibilities greatly embedded in the Samoan culture and history.]

The Luatuanu’u Pili welcomed 30 high chiefs and 46 orators to the ranks in a bid to maintain peace within the family and community.

Family high chief Luatuanu’u Pili says it is a joyous occasion and a milestone for the family.

"It has been more than 10 years since we have bestowed chiefly titles on any family members," he says.

He says the reason for such a high number is that he wanted more titleholders to be able to service the family, the village and especially the church.

Luatuanu’u says in Samoan tradition more matais means more peacemakers in the family and the community in general.

"I hope they will work together for the betterment and development of the family," he says.

The bestowal ceremony started with an official march pass of all titleholders led by the Tofamamao band and Member of Parliament Loau Solamalemalo Keneti Sio.

Members of the clergy from Tufulele Catechist Siaifoi Kelekolio and Reverend Elder Pala blessed all the new matai and wished them well in their duties as chiefs.

The ceremony was held in the family’s home village with some traveling from New Zealand, Australia, American Samoa and America to accept their new titles.

The high chief titles bestowed were:

Tautaiolefue, Naiutufiu, Mauailegalu, Poluveletele, Mata’afa and Lau

The orator chief titles bestowed were:

Leautupu’e, Leatuau, Sauni, Puata, Pa’ialala, Paiatea and Polumanaia

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