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Elders from Samoa's CCCS and tax decision

compiled by Samoa News staff

Apia, SAMOA — The general secretary of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa, Vavatau Taufao, says church elders will no longer respond to the government's decision to tax money gifted by church members to church ministers.

The secretary's statement follows Prime Minister Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi's criticism of the church after meeting with a delegation of elders several weeks ago.

The delegation explained in the meeting the reasons behind the unanimous decision of the church's general assembly to oppose the tax.

But Tuilaepa said the refusal would not be tolerated, warning laws were in place that allowed assets to be seized and bank accounts frozen.

Reverend Vavatau said the annual conference of the church would next discuss the decision whether or not to withdraw opposition in May next year.

It was not his duty or role to respond to the government, he said, but he would if church elders decided that he should.

(Source: RNZ)


The case of a one-year-old Tovanse Meni, who has been paralyzed since last year, has been referred to the National Health Services (N.H.S.).

This was confirmed by the Chief Executive Officer (C.E.O.) of the Ministry of Health, Leausa Dr. Take Naseri.

“I don’t have the information in regards to that matter,” he said. “However, I have forwarded your email to the National Health Services because the matter falls under them.”

Leausa did not clarify who he had forwarded the email to. “You should be able to get a response from them sometimes this week,” he said.

Questions sent to the General Manager of N.H.S., Palanitina Tupuimatagi Toelupe, were not answered as of press time last night.

Baby Tovanse of A’ufaga was born healthy last year until he became ill and was diagnosed with pneumonia and admitted to the Moto’otua Hospital. 

His grandmother Toloa’i Meni is adamant that negligence by hospital staff triggered his seizures and eventually led to him becoming paralyzed.

“My grandson was six months old at the time when we took him to the Moto’otua Hospital last year because he had a very high fever,” she said. 

“When we arrived at the hospital, the doctors told us at the time that he needs to be admitted because he’s got pneumonia and so we stayed there. After our week at the hospital he was then discharged and we came home."

“However, after couple of days we saw that there was no change at all then we took him back to the hospital. When we went there the second time and told them that there is no change at all from the first time he was admitted, the nurses at the time then said they needed to do some tests to see if he’s got meningitis.”

“I then asked them if this will affect my grandson, given that he is only six months at the time, but they said ‘no’, they only needed to get a small amount of water from his backbone so that they can run some tests to determine whether he’s got meningitis.”

Two days after the medical procedure was undertaken, the grandmother said her grandson started experiencing violent seizures. 

“He started having seizures and his arm and leg started shaking non-stop so I asked them and they said it’s nothing then they would do another injection to stop him from having seizures. From those seizures, I saw my grandson’s head was growing and his legs and arms started to get stiff and I asked them but they didn’t give me an answer.”

(Source: Samoa Observer)


The Samoa government will ban polluting plastics at the end of the year, spurring the search for something different. In a bid to protect the precious “blue Pacific” the Samoan government will ban all single-use plastic bags and straws by January next year.

Styrofoam food containers and cups will also be banned once environmentally sustainable alternatives are sourced, the government said in a statement.

You don't use so much plastic, do you? How to ditch it for July – and beyond.

 “A new era is in place for Samoa ... as we enhance our blue Pacific and join the global fight to restore our ocean and address damage caused by plastic,” said Ulu Bismarck Crawley, chief executive at the ministry of natural resources and environment.

James Atherton of the Samoa Conservation Society told Radio NZ there was increasing research into sustainable alternatives to single-use plastic bags and food containers, including plates made from coconut leaves, which is found in abundance in the Pacific islands.

Other research has identified hemp, chicken feathers and cassava as potential alternatives.

A survey conducted by the ministry revealed a significant increase in waste from 26,000 tonnes a year in 2011 to 32,850 tonnes in 2017 – an increase of more than 20% in six years.

It is estimated that Samoa generates about 8,869 tonnes of plastic a year, and that about 70% of the litter in urban coastal waters is made of plastic, which chokes mangrove systems, kills marine wildlife and pollutes many of the tourist island’s beaches and scenic areas.

“This issue is too large for us to sit by without taking any action,” said Crawley. “By making these changes as a nation, our positive impact will be felt not only by us in Samoa, but also by our global community.”

Last year prime minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi pledged at the United Nations ocean conference to crack down on plastic pollution, a key environmental threat facing numerous Pacific islands, many of whom are in the process of banning plastics or reducing plastic consumption.

Mr. Kosi Latu, director general of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, said: “We congratulate Samoa for taking bold action and working together to make changes that will benefit us all.

“This will also have a positive impact as Samoa prepares for Pacific Games in 2019 in greening of the games. This could be the first plastic-free Pacific games.”

In the 1950s the world made about 2m tonnes of plastic a year. That figure has now climbed to 330m tonnes a year – and is set to treble by 2050.

Other countries to have banned or phased out single-use plastic bags include Kenya, Vanuatu, and some states in Australia.

(Source: Samoa Secretariat)


Indigenous Samoan cultural identity expressed through dance is in danger of being lost due to the lack of commitment and pride by its current practitioners.

Gagaeolo Palepua Manu Aoete Apelu, a founding member of the original Samoa Teacher’s Cultural Group, sounded the warning recently in an interview with Samoa Observer.

“Our traditional Samoan dances were an identity for us as we promoted our culture in the first Pacific Festival of Arts held in Fiji in 1972. It saddens me to witness the rapid alterations that are evident nowadays, from traditional costumes to the style of dances there are so many additional changes,” Gagaeolo said. 

Indigenous Samoan cultural identity expressed through dance is in danger of being lost due to the lack of commitment and pride by its current practitioners.

Gagaeolo Palepua Manu Aoete Apelu, a founding member of the original Samoa Teacher’s Cultural Group, sounded the warning recently in an interview with Samoa Observer.

“Our traditional Samoan dances were an identity for us as we promoted our culture in the first Pacific Festival of Arts held in Fiji in 1972. It saddens me to witness the rapid alterations that are evident nowadays, from traditional costumes to the style of dances there are so many additional changes,” Gagaeolo said. 

“When I attended the exhibition that showcased the history of the Samoa Teachers’ Cultural Group, I was also fortunate to witness the performance by the current Teachers Cultural Group. In all honesty, they would not compare to us back in the days. But I am not saying they are a bad group, it’s just that there were inconsistencies I picked up. Their actions projected could not showcase the spirit of performing, the essence of and pride of presenting your country’s culture with every move you make.”

He said during his time there was uniformity in the traditional dance patterns and they won awards for their performances. 

“The Samoa Teachers’ Cultural Group is really iconic in terms of performances, they stand out. And I just want to encourage them to be consistent. Speaking from experience, I used to take youth groups from our village to Teuila festivals and we won for five years in a row with our traditional Samoan dance.”

Expressing concern at the absence of originality in the traditional performances today, Gagaeolo said it is important that Samoans maintain their culture in order to preserve its origins. 

“My advice is to encourage the sustainability of our culture, maintain it so it would not be lost. For those that perform our traditional dances, you need to commit. You are not only just dancing for the sake of dancing, that is your culture, your identity and birthright as a proud Samoan, so carry it with pride,” he added.

(Source: Samoa Observer)


APIA, – Samoa and Papua New Guinea will represent the Pacific at the Ministerial level central negotiating for the post-Cotonou agreement.

This is according to Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade CEO Peseta Noumea Simi. He said Samoa is in the technical negotiating team for pillar two on development cooperation.

“Samoa has also registered its interest to be the host of the signing of the post-Cotonou agreement,” Peseta told the Samoa Observer.

Peseta was part of the Pacific ACP delegations that attended a series of trade meetings in Apia last week.

The Cotonou agreement aims to reduce and eventually eradicate poverty and contribute to the gradual integration of the ACP countries into the world economy. It is based on three pillars: development cooperation, economic and trade cooperation and political dimension.

By February 2020, a new agreement is to be effective, and the discussions held in Apia were to basically discuss on one aspect of the negotiation – trade, which is one of the three pillars of the post-cotonou arrangement from the Pacific ACP countries.

“There is no firm decisions made at the moment, we are looking at all the options that is available for the Pacific region and of course we’ll be making an assessment in the near future on the Economic Partnership Agreement and the post-cotonou arrangements,” Pacific Islands Forum Director (Policy – Economic Governance) Shiu Raj said.

“These negotiations will be taking place in the ACP countries and in the EU. headquarters in Belgium and all those aspects of negotiations are going to be determined by the parties and of course the ACP group has already declared what their negotiating mandate is.

“We’re are waiting for the EU to provide the details of their negotiating mandate and we understand it will available soon and once we view the mandates and analyse them, then we would better determine the Pacific perspective.”

Peseta said Samoa like all other members of the Africa Caribbean Pacific (ACP) Group is preparing for the negotiations process with the European Union to be launched soon.

“One of the most important factors to note is maintaining the solidarity of the Group. A single agreement is intended and regional specificities will be defined under the technical working groups for each of the broadly defined pillars of political cooperation, development cooperation and economic and trade cooperation.

“The European Union is one of the key partners of the Pacific region – Pacific ACP countries and its regional organizations must ensure that they are in readiness for the post Cotonou arrangements,” she added.

(Source: Samoa Secretariat- PacNews)


Samoa’s Krissy Company is taking four of its food products to the Auckland Food Show. 

The company is one of nine food and beverage companies from the Pacific Island that Pacific Trade Invest (P.T.I.) New Zealand will host at the show between July 26 and 29 next week.

Krissy Company is part of the well-diversified Ah Liki Investments Corporation that has interests in businesses and industries ranging from infrastructure to retail and food and beverages besides several others in Samoa.

The products that will be displayed and sold at next week’s show are the popular Savai’i Popo brand of canned coconut cream; canned Palusami, the well-known traditional Samoan delicacy of taro leaves and coconut cream; canned Samoan corned beef and corn-based packaged snack chips.

Representing the company at the show will be Sam Yip of Mellow Foods, the Krissy Company’s Auckland agent and distributor.

Speaking to Pacific Periscope Mr. Yip said he was looking forward to meeting up with a wide range of customers at the show. 

“This is a great chance to talk to people, tell them about our 100% Samoa made coconut cream and Palusami with natural ingredients and no additives or preservatives and get their feedback.”

Mr. Yip said the products would be available at special promotional prices at the show, where he also hopes to meet retailers interested in stocking and selling the product range.

(Source: Samoa Observer)