The village of Apia welcomed 16 new matai titleholders on Friday.
Among the titles conferred were: Sailimalo, Saveatama, Laloataata, Sagauga, Vaigalepa, Va-i-ao and Leapai.
Prior to the traditional formalities, the titleholders were blessed by Reverend Utufua Naseri (F.T.) of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa and Pastor Setefano of the Assembly of God, Leone.
Spokesperson, Tuiletufuga Siaosi said it has been ten years since they last had a bestowment of these titles.
“This has been done to give our overseas families a chance at these matai titles in response to their constant requests over the years,” he said.
“But that’s the life of a Samoan, no matter where they go, they will always reach out to their family for a matai title because that’s what identifies them.”
Tuiletufuga said the goal is to have more title holders to serve the family, churches and the village.
“Every one of these titleholders who were blessed today are happy, because now they have an identity, not only within our family but also the village and wherever they go.”
“Everyone has an identity and to be blessed with a matai title from your family is a great way to embrace your Samoan identity.”
Among family members present included former Controller and Chief Auditor, Tamaseu Randy Warren. The occasion was held at the Laoa o Tuiletufuga in Apia and was followed by traditional exchanges of gifts, food and money.