The price of spiritual and social survival: investigating the reasons for the departure of young New Zealand-born Samoans from a South Auckland Samoan Seventh-day Adventist Church
Tunufa'i, Laumua Fata
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This study seeks to determine the reasons for the departure of New Zealand-born Samoans from a South Auckland traditional Samoan Seventh-day Adventist church. The concept of SURVIVAL: Exposure, Exit, and Reinvestment Model is used to explain the two factors instrumental in these young people's decisions to depart from the church. The first factor, which is a push factor, is the atmosphere at church, or what I refer to in this study as exposure. The second factor, which is a pull factor, involves the benefits of reinvesting their time and talents in other churches or in other non-church related activities. The results of this study strongly indicate that the church atmosphere was neither conducive nor promising, but very antagonistic to developing New Zealand-born Samoan young people's spiritual and social journeys. Consequently, the situation at church made these young people look elsewhere for social and spiritual survival. An analysis of the data suggests that the church can reverse the problem of departure by putting in place an active and effective system whereby the concerns and ideas of New Zealand-born Samoans as well as other youths are shared, heard, and rightly understood by the elders and the leadership of the church.