A Guide to Samoan Oratory hits Bookshelves
A Modern Guide to an Ancient Art has just been launched and released today!
The book 'Lāuga: Understanding Samoan oratory' is being Launched at the Museum of New Zealand: Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington. The launch includes saunoaga by author Dr Sadat Muaiava, Hon. Aupito William Sio (Minister of Pacific Peoples), Luamanuvao Dame Winnie Laban (Assistant Vice-Chancellor, Pasifika, Victoria University), and Caren Rangi (Chair of Arts Council of New Zealand Toi Aotearoa). Students of Samoan Studies at Victoria perform songs and Siva Samoa from the Tautua Dance Academy.
Lāuga or Samoan oratory is a premier cultural practice in fa'asamoa (Samoan culture). Its intricacies are what sets apart a simple speech from an ancient art of speech. Dr Le'ausalilo Sadat Muaiava has put together a book to guide the reader through a lāuga and its key stages. It’s an ideal companion for those who may be called upon to speak at significant occasions, those wanting to improve their knowledge and skills, and all those interested in fa'asamoa.
Dr Sadat Muaiava lectures in the School of Languages and Cultures at Victoria University of Wellington. He was born in Sāmoa and holds the matai titles Le‘ausālilō (Falease‘ela), Lupematasila (Falelatai), Fata (Afega), and ‘Au‘afa (Lotofaga, Aleipata). He has contributed widely and publicly in forums that discuss Sāmoan language, oratory, tattooing and history. As a fountain of knowledge Dr Sadat felt the need to write “Lāuga” so that he can share what he knows of Samoan oratory with those who may be seeking its enlightenment.
The practice of Lāuga is Samoan oratory that is a premier cultural practice in the faasamoa. It is a sacred ritual that embodies all that faasamoa represents. Identity, inheritance, respect, service, gifting, reciprocity and knowledge are all elements that go in to a Lāuga. Delivered as either lauga faamatai (chiefly speeches) or lauga faalelotu (sermons), lauga is captivating and endowed with knowledge and skill.
“There’s a Samoan saying that goes “o le uta a le poto e fetāla‘i, ‘a‘o le uta a le vale e tāofiofi” “a wise person shares while a fool withholds”. To me personally, what is the use of having knowledge and not sharing it?” Dr Sadat shares. He continues on by saying “to understand lāuga requires a lot of exposure, something that I have been fortunate enough to have. Many of our people, however, have not had that chance. That’s also my “why”, to help others on their journey learning and understanding lāuga through a text that is accessible to them.”
The book unpacks the theory, structure and essence of a Lauga. It also notably includes an impressive range of historic images. Pictures of distinguished orators paint the visual picture of what different environments Lāugas weave in to. Through these visual aids the reader is able to get a sense of posture, mood, body language and more physical attributes of different orators.
Author of Lāuga acknowledges that there is an infinite amount of knowledge you can adsorb about Lāuga. The art takes a lifetime to master and even then theres more to learn. “We believe that our ancestors continue to speak to us. Their speaking to us comes through their lifetime of work and tautua (service), which inform our speech in the present day. Our work will inform the next generation. So to me lāuga goes beyond one’s lifetime” Dr Sadat shares.
This physical book and guide will hopefully be a tool that can further sharpen the abilities and knowledge of all those looking for this cultural comprehension. Matai, Author, Lecturer and Lāuga enthusiast Dr Sadat Muaiava speaks pridefully of what he has put together by saying “The writing comes from a good place. And just the idea of sharing it with the world makes me proud of the book and the journey as a whole”.
'Lāuga: Understanding Samoan oratory' is now available to purchase online.