OuTe Sau E Soli Le Mulivae
I Come to Retrace the Footsteps
It is a delight to renew ties with the House of Wittelsbach, generous hosts to my grandfather in 1910, with the Munich State Museum, the Bavarian Beer Fraternity, and the Brass Bands.I want to thank the Munich State Museum of Ethnology and the exhibition curator, Dr HilkeThode-Arora, forthe honour of being co-patron with His Royal Highness Franz of Bavaria, and for inviting me, my wife and our party to the opening of the exhibition.
I note with relief and appreciation the acknowledgement in the catalogue record that the reason for inviting my grandfather to Germany in 1910 was that his absence from Samoa would prevent him from being a contender to succession as ali’isili. After a long stay in Germany, he managed to return to Samoa before Mataafa died. After the latter’s death, the German regime abolished ali’isili and created the position of fautua, jointly held by my grandfather, TupuaTamaseseLealofi and MalietoaTanumafili.
Dr HilkeThode-Arora’s assertion in her paper titled “A Diplomatic Visit” thatTamasese protected German settlers after NZ troops took over Samoa in 1914, and that he challenged New Zealand Colonel Logan as he had challenged Solf, proving his independence and assertiveness, provides insight into the potential this exhibition offers for reviewing Samoan history.
The circumstances of the Samoan dancing groups’ travels to Germany between 1895 and 1911 may seem strange to us today but it is time that the many facets of their stories are told and remembered. Why do we remember the Samoan travellers today, a little more than 100 years later? The year 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the end of German colonial rule in Samoa. Every era of human history comes with its own richness, nuances, principles, constraints and biases. To understand these we need to retrace the footsteps of our stories.
I take on the role of patron to the exhibition in tribute to my grandfather’s memory and to the memory of all those who contributed positively to the shared history of our two nations. As they say in Samoan, outesau e soli le mulivae, I come here to retrace the footsteps. Not for its own sake, nor simply to look, see and fly a flag, but to bond with the culture, history, ambiance and everlasting soul of our peoples.