E mamae le tavaʻe i lona fulu : a study of the impact of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa on Vaigaga's social structure : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Social Work in the School of Social Policy and Social Work at Massey University

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Massey University
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This thesis is a study of the impact of the Congregational Christian Church on the social structure of Vaigaga. It includes the stories of seven Vaigaga residents who occupy different positions in Vaigaga's social and political structure. They represent different generations so that their information describes different intergenerational experiences which reflect on historical and contemporary Vaigaga. The focus on the impact of the church is in part a response to the current cultural situation Vaigaga is experiencing. It is argued in this thesis that the dominant power of the church contributes to the erosion of traditional Samoan social structures and values in Vaigaga. This study brings out the main issues that have surfaced as a result of this relationship by providing relevant research material for consideration. The participants' stories are presented as oral transmissions in their own words but in English translations. They are a contribution to the body of literature on the continuing debate between the church and the culture in Samoa, a body of literature which, although currently disappointingly small, is quite significant. A primary feature of the study is that Samoan people are central and essential in defining their own research problems, becoming research participants, and being in control in what is being researched. Having a Samoan as the research assistant further validates this. The research is based upon Samoan cultural principles and protocols as outlined in the Methodology chapter of this thesis. This study seeks to highlight the issues that will contribute to the restoring of a Samoan cultural environment in Vaigaga to promote the celebration of Samoan cultural values that define the uniqueness of being a Samoan.
Congregational Christian Church of Samoa, Social life and customs, Vaigaga (Samoan Islands), Samoan Islands