Samoa’s NCC says abandoning babies not part of culture

The Chairman of Samoa’s National Council of Churches, (NCC) Deacon Le’aupepe Kasiano, has challenged suggestions that abandoning babies is part of the Samoan culture.

The suggestion has been made following the incident in Australia where a Samoan woman has been charged for abandoning her baby in a drain.

She is the 30 year old daughter a Seventh Day Adventist church minister.

The woman has been living with her aunt, uncle and cousins in Sydney’s west. Her parents and siblings live in Samoa.

Urging women to be more up front and ask for help when needed, Le’aupepe blamed such incidents on young people having too much freedom.

He said the onset of what he described as a “foreign concept called human rights” has not helped matters.

“In the life of a Samoan, even if you have ten children and married, you still have to obey your parents,” said Le’aupepe.

“That is how it was in the past. Parents instructed their children according to God’s teaching but the introduction of such belief (rights of a child) has suppressed parents.”

“Now we have children turning and threatening their parents with these rights.”

The Chairman said smacking children and instructing them on what to do has been reduced because of legislation “but this is where the problem arises.”

The elderly Catholic deacon pointed out that in the past, children were taught that a person is an image of God.

He added that having a baby outside of marriage (tofale) is not new.

“When girls had babies outside of marriage in the past, they did not wrap them up and throw them away.”

“No, they cared for them and their families accepted them as their own and loved them.”

Some Samoan Community leaders in New Zealand have said that often Samoan women who are unmarried and pregnant fear shaming their families.

“I am urging the community to be supportive of what is happening and learn from it – someone in your area next to you is having that problem now,” Sooalo Setu Mua said.

The tragic case has been a hot topic at Radio Samoa, with community leaders pleading with listeners to be compassionate.

They say that many people have become incensed by the incident, prompting calls to look at the reasons why a number of Samoan women abandon their babies after birth.

“A lot of the upset people are Samoans because they value the name of Samoa, but at the same time people have come to their senses that yes there is an issue,” says Teleiai Edwin Puni,  a Seventh Day Adventist minister who lives in Auckland.

Samoa’s N.C.C. Secretary, Rev. Maauga Motu agrees Le’aupepe.

He says Samoan women abandoning their babies highlighted the need for Samoa to draw closer to God.

He believes that dumping babies are done by those who have gone away from God.

“I feel that the incident took place because she stopped going to church,” said Rev. Motu.

“The pastor’s house and the church is where children are nurtured.”

“Once they break away from that, they start having problems and begin to take the wrong approach.”

“The counseling from the pastor is no longer there, to advice and give support.”

He added that because children were made aware of the gospel teachings, they also feared and knew the consequences of wrong actions.


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