Samoa's Associate Minister for Commerce, Industry and Labour says people must stop spending so much on traditional responsibilities such as family weddings and funerals.
The comment was made in the context of a regional conference looking at ways to protect the Pacific's poorest people from the worst effects of the global economic crisis.
Hans Joachim Keil says everyone acknowledges it's a good idea not to overcommit when it comes to traditional ceremonies, but people still have to stop doing it.
"After the tsunami when we buried all the people we just had a church service and buried them, there were no traditional things being done and it was accepted. And if we get closer back to that I think we've accomplished something. Because if people they want to show that you're not poor but then by doing so you become poor and there's better things to do with your money, you've got to raise your families."
Hans Joachim Keil says a group of leaders visited New Zealand's Samoan communities last year and encouraged them to be responsible with traditional ceremonies.