Ko Te Arawa te Waka, ko Tapuika te Iwi ko Mātaatua te waka ko Ngāti Pūkenga ki Maketū te iwi are David’s tribal affiliations.
Born in Te Puke, David grew up in Tokoroa. As a committed Jesus follower, he has a deep interest in national and international missions, developed strategic relationships living and working in 49 countries that helped shape him in a full-time career pathway in Christian ministry his whole adult life.
David values relationships and connectedness. He’s an includer and a bridge-builder of people, a philosophy around which he orientates his life. David’s passionate about decolonising theology as an educational, spiritual, and material project rooted in indigenous histories, context and ontologies.
MAIN SESSION 1 - Herenga to waka ki te whetu, kahore ki te titiwa… Tie your canoe to a star and not a glow worm.
MAIN SESSION 3 - Poroporoaki - "It is finished" what did Jesus mean when he said this?
Dr Alesana Pala’amo
Alesana is a lecturer and Head of Department at Practical Theology Malua Theological College in Samoa, and an ordained minister of the Congregational Christian Church Samoa (CCCS). His PhD through Massey University (NZ) explored pastoral counselling practices of Samoans. Alesana and his wife Lemau founded an NGO in Samoa called Soul Talk Samoa Trust that provides pastoral counselling and social services.
Counselling in the Samoan context has been a traditional practice of Samoans (Schuster, 2001; Seiuli, 2010) involving elders who are often also matai (title holders). Such traditional practices involve a more didactic and directive encounter from these community leaders. Over time, and partly influenced by the first Protestant missionaries into Samoa in 1830 (Liuaana, 2004), these community counselling roles have now become important roles of the church minister and his wife. The relational space in-between people understood as vā to Samoans, is a crucial component to developing successful relationships Samoans are involved. Vā potentially has the ability to connect and disconnect Samoans to each another. For any success with counselling practices Samoans are involved, vā must be navigated appropriately. Fa’aSamoa known as the Samoan way or simply the culture and traditions of Samoa, is challenged by a concept identified as ‘a changing Samoan self’. Such a challenge has also impacted virtues such as Justice and Love, often resulting in a divide between the traditional and the more contemporary Samoans. Navigating relational space or vā assists the counselling process to engage Samoans to each other and to God, by working towards Justice and Love being experienced by all. This approach was used by practitioners of pastoral counselling from Malua Theological College and Soul Talk Samoa Trust, as frontline respondents during the Samoa Measles epidemic of 2019 to provide spiritual, emotional, and psychological support to the bereaved families of the 83 fatalities (mostly children) and survivors of the tragedy.
MAIN SESSION 2 - VA’AALO (BONITO CANOE) Pastoral Counselling: An Approach that Navigates VĀ (Relational Space) for Samoans Towards Justice and Love.