CONTENT

Synopsis

Taking three protagonists as examples we cast a look at contemporary Samoa: Rooted between tradition and modernity it tries to find its own place in today’s world economy. The protagonists are wanderers between two cultures: modern New Zealand on the one hand, and Samoa with its traditional social structures on the other.

The film aims at an unusual closeness to the people portrayed in it, based on the long-lasting friendship between protagonists, director and film author. The film thus will be made in close cooperation of all of them. As a result, it will offer the viewers a realistic view of Samoa rather than stereotype images of a tourists’ paradise.

Summary

The Protagonists

Michael Alofa

Michael Alofa, deeply rooted in New Zealand by marrying a New Zealand wife and building a remarkable job career in public administration, now at age 49 intends to claim his traditional Samoan rights and fulfill obligations connected with that. He nevertheless plans to stay in New Zealand for the time being.

In order to manifest that claim, he needs to fulfill an important Samoan obligation: In a process lasting up to 6 weeks he will have the traditional tattoo pe’a applied to his body, thus making public and visible his claim to a matai title which will mark him in Samoan society as a political, cultural and social leader. At the same time it will show his connection to Samoan culture and strengthen his personal identity.

Tyrone Laurenson

Tyrone Laurenson, who has quit his position as a high-ranking police officer in New Zealand and has returned to live in Samoa for several years, also has important claims to several matai titles, although he does not want to consolidate them by having the pe’a applied. Instead, he has found other ways of showing his connectedness to Samoan culture by working in projects developing Samoan society and economy.

However, the tattoo topic is also relevant to him, because his son Corey Weir has become one of the internationally best-known tattoo artists, who every now and then also works in Germany.

Corey Weir

Corey Weir is Laurenson’s son from Tyrone’s first wife. Born in Auckland he grew up in Auckland’s Samoan community and was taken as a child to Samoa several times. As a youth he became involved in tattooing.

After these beginnings he moved, still a youth, to Japan for several years learning tattoo practices from local artists and specializing in tattoo styles representing Japanese as well as Southern Pacific traditions. Today he has become an internationally known artist combining Japanese, Samoan and New Zealand tattoo styles and making them known to the Western world.

In comparison with the views of Michael Alofa and Tyrone Laurenson, Corey’s reflections on traditional Samoan culture will offer contrasting ideas about the contemporary international relevance of tattooing in the West and its influence in Samoa today.

Marketing Concept

BACKGROUND

Country information about Samoa

Archipelago in the Pacific Ocean, 2,400 km northeast of New Zealand between 12 and 14 degrees south latitude and 172 and 175 degrees west longitude; tropical

Size: 2,831 sqkmPopulation: almost 196,000, of which about 93% are Samoans, 7% are mixed European-Polynesian descent and 0.4% are Europeans; Population growth: 0.58%;

National languages: Samoan and English
Capital: Apia, on the island of Upolu with about 38,000 inhabitants.

Religions / Churches: 57.4% Protestant, 19.4% Roman Catholic, 15.4% Mormon (Latter-Day Saints), 1.7% Worship Center, 5.5% Other Christians, 0.7% Other , 0.2% unspecific

Form of government: Parliamentary democracy with traditional Polynesian elements

Head of State: His Highness Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese Efi (inaugurated: 20 June 2007);

Head of Government: The Honorable Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi, Human Rights Protection Party (inaugurated: 23 November 1998, last confirmed in parliamentary elections in March 2016)

Parliament: one-chamber parliament (fono) with 50 seats; Term of office: 5 years; last election: 04.03.2016

Composition of Parliament: 47 seats Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP), 3 seats Tautua Samoa Party
Government party: Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP);

Opposition: Tautua Samoa Party (TSP)

Gross domestic product (GDP): 0,8 Mrd. US-Dollar (DESTATIS 2015); GDP/capita: 4.341 US-Dollar (DESTATIS 2015)
Currency: Samoa Tala.

National holiday: June 1st Independence Day
Independence from New Zealand since 1 January 1962;

Samoa and Germany

Germany maintains close diplomatic relations with Samoa. Development cooperation – in an emergency – humanitarian aid, as well as bilateral trade relations and the Federal Foreign Office also promotes bilateral or trilateral cultural exchange. See also: Foreign Office

Movies / feature films about Samoa

  • Sons for the return home, New Zealand, 1979, feature film, 117 min., Written and directed by Paul Maunder
  • LOOKOUT: Auckland Faa Samoa, New Zealand, 1982, Documentary, 50 Min., Book: Albert Wendt, Director: Keith Hunter
  • Flying Fox in a Freedom Tree, New Zealand, 1992, feature film, 92 min., Written and directed by Martyn Sanderson
  • Ethnographic Films

The Tatau

The national anthem of Samoa

„The Banner of Freedom“

Samoa, tula’i ma sisi ia lau fu’a, lou pale lea!
Samoa, tula’i ma sisi ia lau fu’a, lou pale lea!
Vaai ‘i na fetu o lo’ua agiagia ai:
Le faailoga lea o Iesu, na maliu ai mo Samoa.
Oi, Samoa e, uu mau lau pule ia faavavau.
Aua e te fefe; o le Atua lo ta fa’avae, o lota sa’olotoga.
Samoa, tula’i: ‘ua agiagia lau fu’a, lou pale lea!

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!

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