Aside from fancy bouquets that many of our locals are successfully known for, a newly introduced concept has made way to Samoa.
It is called Ikebana. A Japanese concept for giving life to flowers through simple arrangements.
It’s an art which focuses on simplicity of connecting humans to mother nature. A huge turnout of local participants attended a two day training at the National University of Samoa recently to learn about this Japanese art form of floral arrangements.
Co-facilitated by the Federated Farmers Incorporated (F.F.I) and N.U.S. Oloamanu Professional Development and Continuing Education Centre (O.P.D.C.E), the request for this training came through Samoa’s Ambassador to Japan, H.E. Fa’alavaau Perina Sila-Tualaulelei. The Horticultural Programme of N.U.S. also assisted in organisation of this training.
Held in four sessions over two days, the special guest trainer, Mrs. Yorie Inoue, wife of the Honorary Consul of Samoa in Japan never held back any knowledge she had shared with the attending locals.
With total support from the university’s management, the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Peseta Desmond Lee Hang delivered the keynote address.
“This training is the first of its kind in Samoa. It also marks the beginning of our partnership with the Federated Farmers Incorporated,” Peseta said. “It is also in line with the university’s mandate of providing academic, TVET and community programmes that enhance and strengthen the human rights skills of our people so that they are economically productive and have sustainable livelihoods.”
A gesture well received by the F.F.I’s Secretary and spokesperson, Seumanutafa Dr. Malcolm Hazelman. “I was contacted by Samoa’s Ambassador to Japan through my wife and I immediately said yes,” Seumanutafa said. “I offered to organise everything but I was thinking about the university especially the horticulture side since they do similar things I have been involved with.”
Since F.F.I’s inception, Seumanutafa’s vision to initiate community activities has not only drawn a lot of gardeners and farmers with shared interests to help each other. “A lot of our participants at this training is part of our Informal Gardeners Group which means informal where anyone can join.”
Seumanutafa is also the Coordinator of the Informal Gardeners’ Group that have conducted monthly visits to gardens and farms. “We visit a lot of farms and gardens and through that we learn from each other and hopefully we do similar activities with the university.”
What was most noticeable about Ikebana as most participants felt is that of its simple design that gathers between 4 to 5 flowers that represent leaves, flowers and stems.
“Plant desires to grow, same as human beings. Connect it to our lives, we have to take care of everything even if it is a simple flower, treat with respect and emphasize the space of things,” Mrs Inoue told the participants.
Contrary to the idea of floral arrangement as a collection of particolored or multicolored arrangement of blooms, ikebana often emphasizes other areas of the plant, such as its stems and leaves, and draws emphasis toward shape, line, and form.
For the winning Ikebana on the first opening session arranged by N.U.S. Office Assistant, Tuutuulima Leuluai, the knowledge and skills she had learned would enable her to apply at work.
“It’s a new concept for me and I really appreciated it,” Leuluai told NUS Campus News. “It was rewarding to be here for a short time and I had learned something new and applicable.”
“I could really use these ideas to start doing simple bouquet arrangements for our office. It was beyond my imagination that such simplicity means a lot than the usual Samoan arrangements of flowers.”
Other prize getters include Leataataoletaeao Blakelock and Shorley Mariner who are both members of the Informal Gardeners’ Group. Both received consolation prizes from Mrs. Inoue.
Caption: (l-r) Tu’utu’ulima Leuluai (Winning Ikebana florist), Mrs Yorie Inoue (Japanese Ikebana Trainer), Leataataoletaeao Blakelock (Second Prizegetter) and Shorley Mariner (Third Prizegetter).