Lāuga or Sāmoan oratory is a premier cultural practice in the fa‘asāmoa (Sāmoan culture), a sacred ritual that embodies all that fa‘asāmoa represents, such as identity, inheritance, respect, service, gifting, reciprocity and knowledge. Delivered as either lāuga fa‘amatai (chiefly speeches) or lāuga fa‘alelotu (sermons), lāuga is captivating and endowed with knowledge, praxis and skill. Lāuga is enjoyed by many, but today many Sāmoan people, especially in the Sāmoan diaspora, also remain disconnected from it and lack proficiency in its rhetorical inventory. It is critical that the knowledge and skills that underpin lāuga are retained.
This accessible book explains the intricacies of lāuga and its key stages and is 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‘asāmoa. The insights of its expert author and 19 guest writers, many of whom are well-known and respected orators, combine to share knowledge and uphold a vital practice.
Megan van Staden’s design was highly commended for the HarperCollins Publishers Award for Best Cover at the PANZ Book Design Awards 2023. The judges’ comments: “The judges appreciated the simplicity in design of this book. Its stony colours speak to the historical photographic images, and the pop of red helps set this cover out as a contemporary one, but in a style that will endure... A wonderful example of understated, careful design… A very carefully and subtly handled piece of design.”
Longlisted for the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards 2023 – General Non-Fiction Award.
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). His research focus is the interdisciplinary domains of the Sāmoan (and Pacific) language and culture in the homeland, the Pacific, and in diasporic contexts. He has contributed widely and publicly in forums that discuss Sāmoan language, oratory, tattooing and history. He lives in Wellington with his wife, Shana Muaiava, and their four children.
Our collections represent stories of Sāmoa and its people. Explore some of our Sāmoan stories about our collections from Apia to Auckland, tatau to travelling umu boxes, headdresses to hip hop, and more.