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Blessed to be a Blessing!

Somoa

Motto: Samoa is founded on God

Samoa, formerly called Western Samoa lies in the South Pacific Ocean and is famed for its natural beauty and friendly people. Samoa consists of four main islands. Independent Samoa has 2,860 sq. km. of land.

For 42 years after World War I, New Zealand occupied and administered the islands. In 1962 Samoa became the first Polynesian nation to re-establish its independence in the 20th Century. In 1997 the island nation officially shortened its name to Samoa. Today, Samoa has a parliamentary style of government and an education system reflecting its former ties with New Zealand.

The local population of 179,000 is mostly indigenous Samoans. The port city of Apia is the center of local government and trade, and the economy revolves lumber and tourism with agriculture the main economic activity. Most of the population subsists on traditional farming and some of the country's main exports are agricultural crops, such as coconuts (and derived products such as coconut cream and coconut oil), taro, breadfruit, bananas and cocoa.

Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen, happened upon the islands in 1722. In 1768, French Admiral Louis de Bougainville visited the islands. He was so impressed with the Samoan's numerous canoes and their great skill in handling them that he gave Samoa its original European name, "The Navigator Islands."

RELIGION

European whalers and traders started to arrive in the late 1700’s. By far the most important agents of change in Samoa were the western missionaries, converting the people from belief in gods for the sun, earth, heavens and sea to the one God.


Christianity has been one of the few western influences that has been accepted into Samoa. John Williams from the London Missionary Society arrived in 1830 with eight Tahitian and Rarotongan teachers to spread the word of God.


Today the motto on Samoa’s crest reads, Samoa is founded on God. 99 per cent of Samoans are devoted Christians and Sunday is a day of worship and spending time with family and no physical work is done. While many tourist attractions are open on Sunday, visitors are expected to behave quietly and to travel slowly through villages. Reverence to God is shown daily also where even visitors are expected to avoid walking through villages during the evening prayer curfew (usually between 6pm and 7pm). This usually lasts for 10 to 20 minutes and is often marked at the beginning and end by a bell or the blowing of a conch shell.


SAMOAN LIFESTYLE

Samoa lifestyle has three key elements to it: the chiefs (matai), the extended family (aiga) and the church.


Chiefs are the heads of the extended family unit and their role is very complex covering family, civic and political duties in the village. There are 362 villages found throughout the islands with a total of 18,000 families.


The extended family is made up of parents, brothers and sisters, children, grandparents, cousins, nephews and nieces living together within the village. When family members marry partners in other villages, the in-laws too become part of the extended family unit and in times of happiness or sadness all come together to pitch in. It is ones duty as a Samoan to be of service to family for life.


National anthem:

Samoa, arise and raise your flag, your crown!

Samoa, arise and raise your flag, your crown!

Look at those stars that are waving on it:

This is the symbol of Jesus, who died on it for Samoa.

Oh, Samoa, hold fast your power forever.

Do not be afraid; God is our foundation, our freedom.

Samoa, arise: your flag is waving, your crown!