1918 Le Moana - Tupe Lualua & Andy Faiaoga
28 May, Whitireia Performance Theatre, Wellington

Review by Niusila Faamanatu-Eteuati 

 

 

 
The story about the Influenza Epidemic is momentous in the history of Samoa, because it had a noticeable sudden impact at local level which devastated local communities, as dear beloved members of closely knitted families were wiped out.

One awaited in much anticipation for the show of students’ hard work, showcasing their theatrical skills and talents in dramatizing this culturally unique performance based on the tragic Influenza epidemic of 1918 where 8,500 people or 22% of its total population at the time was exterminated.

One also noticed that it wasn’t just Samoans who turned up, but palagis, Maoris and a number of island ‘Pacific people from our vast Ocean ‘Le Moana’. Of course the majority were Samoan ranging from the age of 10 to 60 with majority in the youth group or between 20-40 years of age.

There was absolute silence as the audience was moved by the first part of the concert. The traditional Samoan song played during the entrance, echoing the voices of our ancestors, brought back great memories of our forebears who have been laid in tombs. As the stage lights went off, the stern surrounding reflects the meek conformist life of our people in the past before it made much contacts with the outside world other than those of the colonisers.

On the other hand, it also mirrored the peaceful life Samoan people enjoyed as they pricelessly obtained everything from their traditional environment.

It was a stunning performance from the traditional attires, singing, use of Samoan language to the customs and traditions of everyday life. Not only that but the usual ‘onoming’ or ususū which is a characteristic cry when feeling particularly lively in the form of dancing, slapping and dancing to the drum sound as the self-confident courteous performers gracefully carried the message across through their engagements. Amongst these were also glimpses of some foreign activities. Wow! It was fantastic.

As Samoa instigates to change with foreign ideas, many new developments took place. A ship called Talune from New Zealand entered her shores and unfortunately was not quarantined because there were no proper measures imposed.  The indisposed passengers spread the flu rapidly and with health measures disorganised, the death toll increased hastily. A grief-stricken scene as people suffer from coughing, breathing, wooziness, weariness and passed away. There was no time for families to mourn and no proper traditional funeral services as people had mass burial. The genealogies of some families were lost as older matais or leaders died and the new generation were left influenced with westernised ideas and knew less of family connections. Samoan survivors blamed the New Zealand Administration and made them ill-fated towards their government.

The actions were quite powerful and the message was even conveyed effectively through the lyrics of a popular Samoan song.

‘Oh My Samoa, I never forget you in your darkest hours’. The tone and spoken words by a tama’ita’i (Samoan lady) crying out calling why this has happened to my beloved country. Have we forgotten our ancestors’ dreams, our culture and our God? Calling for Samoans (young and old) not to lose sight of our heritage, our language and ethos as we progress with the tide of changes.

It was a fitting quality performance for not only reflecting back on Samoa’s history and journey but the significance of using the language as they commemorated Samoan Language Week and the lead up to celebrating Samoa’s 53rd Independence Celebration.  Memories for every Samoan to contemplate on as we are predisposed in the currents of the wide ocean – Le Moana

Malo le fai o le faiva. Congratulations and well done.

See Theatreview Review

Samoan Translation

O le tala i le faama’i o le 1918, o se tala e tāua tele i le tala faasolopito mai o Sāmoa, aua na matuā tele se a’afiaga ai o lona lotoifale aemaise lava ina ua motusia ai mafutaga ma e pele i loto ma aafia ai aiga. O le gāsolo atu o tagata i lena po ma faatalitali, i le fia maimoa i taumafaiga a le fanau, le koneseti sa faa’autūina i ‘Le Moana’.

O lenei tala e faatatau i le faama’i oti tele o le fūlū i le 1918, na aafia ai le tusa ma le valu afe lima selau tagata Samoa, poo le 22 pasene o lona faitau aofa’i.

Sa matauina o le to’atele sa auai o Samoa, ae na iai foi nai papālagi, o Māori ma nisi mai atu motu laiti o le Pasefika i le vasa laolao tele ua faaigoaina o le Moana. Masalo a fua iai, e amata mai tamaiti ta’i sefulu tausaga seia oo i tagata matutua po o le onosefulu le soifua na auai, ma o le toatele lava o le tupulaga talavou.

Na leai se mea e toe gāsē ma amata oo ifo lagona o le ootia ma le faavauvau ina ua faasolo mai le vaaiga muamua o le tala. O le pese Samoa i fātuga sa lagiina e tagata matutua a’o gasolo mai i totonu ma faafeilo’ai mai ai, na atili toe to manatu ai i aso ua mavae, ona o ‘iuleo o nai o tataou tua’a ua lagomau mai i tiasa. O le pogisa o moli ma le pāū o le si’osi’omaga, ua na faamanatu mai aso o le faigatā ma le olaga pu mo’omo’o sa i ai o tātou tagata. O aso o le le’i tele o ni feso’otaiga ma le lalolagi I fafo, se’i vaganā ai atunuu sa faakoloneina Sāmoa.

I le isi itu, o loo faa-ata maia foi le toe tepa i le soifuaga o aso anamua i le to’afīmālie ma le mātalasi, o le ola fiafia o tagata aua e maua mea uma mai lona siosiomaga.

E matagofie le tapenaga e amata mai i la’ei, o le gagana, o tu ma aga masani i aso ta’itasi. E le gata i lea a’o aga masani o faafiafiaga faasāmoa, o le tuliususū ma faataupati e o faatasi ma le pātē, pati ma le po, o le sivasiva mai i totonu o taga gatasitasi lelei ma le mataa’lia, o le to’a ma le onomea tele o le au siva o lesi lea vaaiga na atili malosi ai le momoliga mai o le fe’au I le tala. E vasa’i nei gaioiga i ni vaaiga faakolone, o la’ei, tu ma aga faapapalagi – Oka! Ua le ‘ole lea.

O le faaolooloma’au ma le augani a le tama’ita’i Samoa i le amataga – e taliaina ai le ofi mai o suiga mai le faakolone, ae ia taofiofi i’umaea pea i a tatou agaifanua. Ia mau pea le to’ovae ma maua’a pea o tatou talitonuga aemaise  le aganu’u, ia le aafia ai le olaga sologamalie o tagata Samoa i aso taitasi. Na maligiligi lemu ifo o’u loimata a’o usuina mai ma le pese – Samoa lo’u atunu’u pele, e le galo oe i taimi faigatā ma le augani mai mo tupulaga e manatua aso anamua. E le gata i lea ae ia faamuamua pea le Atua, o lo tatou maluāpapa.

Ua alu a’i le olaga o Samoa ma auaua’i mai pea suiga sei’a oo ina āfea e le vaa o le Talune mai Niu Sila ma taula e aunoa ma se kiliaina lelei. Ona o le faatamala tele o i latou sa i ai, na faapea ai ona aumaia le faama’i tele o le fulu. O se vaa’iga mata’utia, aua na ona tale tale lava ma lavea tagata, faanivaniva ma uma atu ai lava, o matua ma fanau ua motusia gafa o aiga ma leiloa ni faasinomaga aua ua maliliu ma faalalava solo tagata i le mea lava e uma ai le ona ola.

O se vaaiaga faamomoi loto tele lea ina ua aafia uma ni tagata se to’atele i se taimi e tasi ma oo ai ina le aloa’ia ni lotu o ni maliu, ma ni falelauasiga lelei – ae ua na ona lafo o tino maliliu i ni lua tetele ma tatanu faatasi ai. O se faiga e matuā lē masani a’i le aganuu a Samoa ma ona tagata. E tiga ma o’ona ma faagalogata lea tulaga i le tala faasolo pito o Samoa ma avea ma ala na atili matua tete’e atu ai I le malo o Niu Sila ma ana pulega.  O le faatinoga e amata mai i la’ei ma le minoi a e na faatinoina le tala i le savavali faafitafita mai totonu, faatatau i pese sa usuina, o taga, o foliga vaaia, o le gaioi, o le tautatala na matuā aumaia ai le lagona ma o’o ifo i loto o e na molimauina le feau o lea po. Na matua ootia le loto i nei vaaiga o le faama’i ona o mafutaga motusia. O le pese foi na usuina, ua fetaui lelei ma ma upu a le tama’ita’i a’o faamemelo ma tagi atu e fesiligia poo ai ua solia lo tatou laue’elele, poo lea le mea ua tupu, po o se agasala ea ua māfua ai lenei faama’i tele?

Talitonu e matua vavala mai le eseesega o le olaga faatekonolosi faaonaponei ma le toa’filemu sa iai Samoa, ae le’i ofi mai atunuu mai fafo. E mafai ona toe faaopoopoina tele se a’oa’oga tāua ma loloto mo o tatou tagata mai lenei lava tala a emaise o se faamanatu mai mo i tatou I lenei vaitau o le televave o suiga. Ia aua ne’i vave mamulu ai pe vale tuulima ai lo tatou tofi mai le Atua, aemaise oa tatou measina e atagia i le gagana, o o tatou laueleele, o tu ma aganuu. Faamālō faafetai i le galuega matagofie ma le ‘anoa, ua le gata ina toe fafagu mai ai nisi o vaega tāua i le tala faasolopito, a’o faigatā sa tauasaina mai  e o tatou tagata a’o le’i maua so tatou malo tuto’atasi. Mālō fai o le faiva.

1918 Le Moana Review

 
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