Fa'alavelave: Samoan Gift Exchange

Filisi, Fritz Toeata Fa'apaoi
Brown Pulu, Teena
Pamatatau, Richard
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Master of Philosophy
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Auckland University of Technology

Fa’alavelave: Samoan Gift Exchange is a short documentary exploring the context of how the cultural practice of ceremonial gift-giving, specifically around funerals, has changed from a village setting in Samoa to an urban setting of Samoan migrants and descendants in South Auckland. To respond to this inquiry, the filmed talanoa captures the perspectives of two elderly siblings, a brother and a sister, who are the migrant generation of an aiga spanning five generations in South Auckland, New Zealand. The artefact of a short documentary of sixteen minutes and the exegesis form a practice-oriented thesis.

Produced in the Samoan language with English subtitles, the ideas framing the documentary link to Barry Barclay’s theory of Fourth Cinema, meaning cinema made by Indigenous filmmakers located outside the orthodox stories told about the modern nation-state. The exegesis therefore explores ways to situate Samoan language documentaries produced by Samoan filmmakers in Aotearoa, who are not Indigenous to the land where they reside, within the context of Fourth Cinema. By using filmed talanoa and an approach of ‘talking in’ borrowed from Barry Barclay, or talking in our Indigenous language among ourselves, the documentary content that the researcher has created in Aotearoa gives emphasis to memories and reflections of Samoa, the islands and villages of ancestral origin.

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