About Western Samoa

The Western Samoan Group is comprised of two large islands, Upolu and Savai'i. Offshore lie seven smaller islands. All are mountainous, some with rugged volcanic peaks, that seem to soar out of the Pacific Ocean. Savai'i, the largest Pacific island outside Hawaii, has peaks exceeding 6,000 feet [1928 metres].
In 1919 New Zealand was asked to administer Western Samoa, which it did until the country celebrated full independence on New Year's Day, 1962. The capital city Apia, is a seaport on the island of Upolu.

Guiding is mainly centered in Apia where Brownie packs and Guide companies are attached to the three main churches, All Saints, Anglican; St. Mary's Roman Catholic; and Apia Protestant Church.

The most important aspect of community life is the family and church. Traditions and ceremonies are highly respected.

As an individual, the Samoan is content with few possessions. He places the family unit first and things else second.

Most food consumed in Western Samoa grows on small plantations owned and worked communally by extended families.

These families include several generations of people related by birth, marriage or adoption, under the leadership of a Matai who is responsible for the administration of family affairs. His duties include the assignment of work, collection and redistribution of money earned by family members, and, most important, the apportionment of land for residential and farming use and the sharing out of its produce. In return, he is honoured by respectful obedience and the best food, correctly presented according to custom.

The information above is from a booklet called 'Guide to Pacific Guiding', published by The Girl Guides Association New Zealand (Inc.), 1981, with sponsorship provided by Air New Zealand. This booklet is no longer in print and, to the best of my knowledge, no longer available.

For up-to-date information on Guiding in Western Samoa, please refer to the latest version of the WAGGGS publication, 'Trefoil Around the World' which includes information about all WAGGGS member countries. Alternatively, there is some information available on the official WAGGGS web site http://www.wagggsworld.org.

Libraries, travel agencies, and embassies are also good places to try for information if you plan far enough ahead. If you have no luck finding a Western Samoan embassy, try the New Zealand one; it is possible that New Zealand represents them in many countries and may be able to help.

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This page last updated October 26th, 1999