Courting a public theology of Fa'a-vae for The Church and Contemporary Samoa

Faala Faamatuainu Amosa

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Drawing upon the motto of Samoa (Fa’avae I le Atua Samoa), this thesis develops a public theology of fa’a-vae1 for Samoa. This thesis builds upon the pioneering work on a Samoan public theology performed by Mercy Ah Siu-Maliko in response to the crisis of domestic violence. Rather than focus on Samoan core values, this thesis concerns itself with a turn to Samoan structures (fa’avae).2 The impetus for such is a recent case of an individual taking the Congregational Christian Church Samoa (EFKS) to court, a move that shook the fa’avae traditionally believed to be static and firm. In terms of public theology, the court case is a sign of the times: that once a stable relationship between the ekalesia (church), fa’aSamoa (Samoan-way), Tulafono (law) and the malo (government) has fragmented. Public theology of the fa’a-vae moves and, in keeping with the word’s etymology, can be seen to ‘give-feet’ (agility and mobility) to the structure of fa’aSamoa, the government, the law and the church. They need not be static and rigid. This thesis will argue the shift from a static fa’avae to a more agile and mobile fa’a-vae will help the church function in the public life of Samoa.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Charles Sturt University
  • Havea, Jione, Principal Supervisor
  • Pearson, Clive, Co-Supervisor
  • Carroll, Seforosa, Co-Supervisor
Place of PublicationAustralia
Publication statusPublished - 12 May 2021


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