Sincere or Negligent Friend? 1962 Treaty of Friendship between New Zealand and Samoa: A Samoan Perspective

Treaties International relations Samoa New Zealand

This study explores the textual differences in the Samoan and English version of the 1962 Treaty of Friendship between New Zealand and Samoa. Although both nations view the translation of the two treaties as 'equally authentic', the study explores the cultural significance of the Samoan text of the Friendship Treaty to argue that the English text does not fully reflect the value and belief systems that underpin the purpose and intent of the Friendship Treaty. Four Samoan terms have been selected in this study to explicate this argument. These terms are Uo or Fa'a-Uoga (Friend or Friendship), Agaga (Spirit), Feagaiga (Treaty) and Pule (Govern). Analysis of the selected terms explores the definitional and contextual differences between the English and Samoan texts of the Friendship Treaty. This is followed by a discussion of the cultural implications of these definitional differences in relationship to Samoan customary beliefs. Also discussed are the political and cultural implications these textual differences might have had on the New Zealand and Samoa relationship as declared in the Friendship Treaty.

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