New generation of matai 'feel more empowered'

A researcher says a new generation of matai feel more empowered to serve after discussions on the role of a modern day chief.

Lupematasila Misatauveve Dr Melani Anae from the University of Auckland's Centre of Pacific Studies said the data gathered from the symposium is part of research examining how Samoans with chiefly titles apply their responsibilities overseas.

She said it was good to see, not only, more women taking up titles, but also an attitudinal change among youth.

"For our young people, fa'amatai is something to be feared and is always approached with foreboding and intrepidation.

"But since the symposium they have become empowered and emancipated by just merely knowledge sharing and listening to the experiences of some well known Samoan leaders now and their own understandings of fa'amatai and how they practise it."

Lupematasila Misatauveve Dr Melani Anae was awarded a $US550,000 grant from the Marsden Fund to research the Samoan diaspora.