Samoa Samoa Flag

New Zealand occupied the German protectorate of Western Samoa at the outbreak of World War I in 1914. It continued to administer the islands as a mandate and then as a trust territory until 1962, when the islands became the first Polynesian nation to reestablish independence in the 20th century. The country dropped the "Western" from its name in 1997.



Great dive locations in Samoa :

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Understand


Samoa is composed largely of two islands, Upolu and Savaii. These islands are the result of countless volcanic eruptions, leaving easily visible volcanic cones all over both islands. None of the volcanos are currently active, but small earthquakes often rock the island, reminding people of their presence. The last eruption was in 1911, on Savaii.

The eerie, lifeless lava fields that remain from this event can be visited easily, since the only sealed road on Savaii goes right through the middle.

Both islands are almost entirely covered by lush vegetation, although almost none of it is the original rainforest that covered the island before humans arrived. Most of the land area is given over to plantations or semi-cultivated forest, providing food and cash crops for the locals. Since Samoa has been inhabited for over one and a half thousand years, the cultivated lands around villages can often seem like deepest, darkest jungle to a foreigner(palangi).

Climate

The climate is tropical with a rainy (and tropical cyclone) season from October to March and a dry season from May to October. It has an average annual temperature of 26.5°C. This makes it an suitable winter vacation destination for southern hemisphere countries.

History

New Zealand occupied the German protectorate of Western Samoa at the outbreak of World War I in 1914. It continued to administer the islands as a mandate and then as a trust territory until 1962, when the islands became the first Polynesian nation to reestablish independence in the 20th century. The country dropped the "Western" from its name in 1997.

National holiday : Independence Day Celebration, 1 June

Government

Samoa is governed by an elected council, or fono, under a constitutional monarch, Malietoa Tanumafili II.

There is continuing debate as to whether people should be allowed to vote against the wishes of their village chiefs, or matai. While the vote is technically entirely free for an individual, in practice those who dissent from the majority village view have been ostracised, thrown out of the village, and even, in extreme cases, killed.

The legal system is based on English common law and local customs.

Economy

The economy of Samoa has traditionally been dependent on development aid, family remittances from overseas, and agricultural exports. The country is vulnerable to tropical storms, and was hit by two cyclones in quick succession in 1991.

Agriculture employs two-thirds of the labor force, and furnishes 90% of exports, featuring coconut cream, coconut oil, and copra. The manufacturing sector mainly processes agricultural products.

The decline of fish stocks in the area is a continuing problem, due to both local overfishing and severe overfishing by Japanese factory trawlers. Tourism is an expanding sector, accounting for 16% of GDP; about 85,000 tourists visited the islands in 2000.

The Samoan Government has called for deregulation of the financial sector, encouragement of investment, and continued fiscal discipline. Observers point to the flexibility of the labor market as a basic strength for future economic advances. Foreign reserves are in a relatively healthy state, foreign debt is stable, and inflation is low.

Eat


The usual kinds...




Samoa is an island kingdom in the Pacific Ocean. It is part of the region of the world known as Polynesia.

It is a group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, about one-half of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand. The islands have narrow coastal plains with volcanic, rocky, rugged mountains in the interior.

Islands

  • Upolu
  • Savaii


  • Cities

  • Apia


  • Understand


    Samoa is composed largely of two islands, Upolu and Savaii. These islands are the result of countless volcanic eruptions, leaving easily visible volcanic cones all over both islands. None of the volcanos are currently active, but small earthquakes often rock the island, reminding people of their presence. The last eruption was in 1911, on Savaii.

    The eerie, lifeless lava fields that remain from this event can be visited easily, since the only sealed road on Savaii goes right through the middle.

    Both islands are almost entirely covered by lush vegetation, although almost none of it is the original rainforest that covered the island before humans arrived. Most of the land area is given over to plantations or semi-cultivated forest, providing food and cash crops for the locals. Since Samoa has been inhabited for over one and a half thousand years, the cultivated lands around villages can often seem like deepest, darkest jungle to a foreigner(palangi).

    Climate

    The climate is tropical with a rainy (and tropical cyclone) season from October to March and a dry season from May to October. It has an average annual temperature of 26.5°C. This makes it an suitable winter vacation destination for southern hemisphere countries.

    History

    New Zealand occupied the German protectorate of Western Samoa at the outbreak of World War I in 1914. It continued to administer the islands as a mandate and then as a trust territory until 1962, when the islands became the first Polynesian nation to reestablish independence in the 20th century. The country dropped the "Western" from its name in 1997.

    National holiday : Independence Day Celebration, 1 June

    Government

    Samoa is governed by an elected council, or fono, under a constitutional monarch, Malietoa Tanumafili II.

    There is continuing debate as to whether people should be allowed to vote against the wishes of their village chiefs, or matai. While the vote is technically entirely free for an individual, in practice those who dissent from the majority village view have been ostracised, thrown out of the village, and even, in extreme cases, killed.

    The legal system is based on English common law and local customs.

    Economy

    The economy of Samoa has traditionally been dependent on development aid, family remittances from overseas, and agricultural exports. The country is vulnerable to tropical storms, and was hit by two cyclones in quick succession in 1991.

    Agriculture employs two-thirds of the labor force, and furnishes 90% of exports, featuring coconut cream, coconut oil, and copra. The manufacturing sector mainly processes agricultural products.

    The decline of fish stocks in the area is a continuing problem, due to both local overfishing and severe overfishing by Japanese factory trawlers. Tourism is an expanding sector, accounting for 16% of GDP; about 85,000 tourists visited the islands in 2000.

    The Samoan Government has called for deregulation of the financial sector, encouragement of investment, and continued fiscal discipline. Observers point to the flexibility of the labor market as a basic strength for future economic advances. Foreign reserves are in a relatively healthy state, foreign debt is stable, and inflation is low.

    Get In


    By Plane

    Air New Zealand provide 3 to 4 flights per week from Auckland. They also fly a twice weekly service between Auckland-Tonga-Apia-Los Angeles.

    Polynesian Blue, a subsidiary of Virgin Blue, have began flights between Apia and a series of cities in Australia and New Zealand, such as Sydney, Brisbane, Townsville, Melbourne and Auckland.

    There is one international airport, Faleolo, which is approximatly a 1 hour drive outside of Apia.

    By Boat

    Some people sail their yachts to Samoa.

    A twice monthly service by the MV Tokelau leaves from Apia Harbour and runs to Tokelau.

    Ports and harbors include Apia, Asau, Mulifanua, Salelologa. Container ships and cruise liners can only dock in Apia Harbour, but many smaller fishing boats and village boats use the smaller docks.

    Get around


    Cycling is possible and quite enjoyable but 'Upolu has a few fairly steep and hilly sections and the cross island roads are about 7kms steep uphill to their crests. Savai'i has only 2 or 3 small steep sections (around the western end). Dogs can be a nuisance and occasional menace but a 50% mixture of methylated spirits and water in which chilli's or chilli powder has been steeped and then poured into a spray bottle could make an effective "capsicum spray" type defense.

    Talk


    Languages spoken include Samoan (a Polynesian language) and English.

    Buy

  • Currency : tala (WST)

  • Exchange rates
  • * tala per US dollar - 3.177 (September 2005)
  • * 1.00 AUD Australia Dollars = 2.06122 WST Samoa Tala (Sept '05)


  • Eat


    The usual kinds of european, asian and fast foods are available, but be sure to try the "umu", which is a traditional pit-oven, using red hot lava stones heated by charcoal. Whole pigs, fruits, chickens fish etc are placed among the rocks for many hours, and covered with banana leaves. The food has an absolutely delicious smoked flavour, and meats are as tender and juicy as possible.

    Sleep


    Namu'a Island: Namua Beach Fales. Includes meals and launch transfer. 70 tala per per night (as at July '05). This place should definitely be included in your itinerary.

    Manono Island: Sunset View Fales. At Lepuia'I village on tranquil Manono island - no vehicles - no roads - no dogs * Free launch transfer from 'Upolu * 5 fales on the waters edge * all meals included * boat trips to reef * outrigger canoe * Samoan family environment Ph/Fax: 45640 (sunset view fales on Manono) Phone: 46177 (shop at ferry wharf on 'Upolo). 90 tala per night (as at July '05)

    Falealupo-tai, Savai'i: Utusou Beach Fales (just south of Tanumatius Beach Fales). 2 fales on beautiful secluded beach. Run by Tafa & Salia Seumanutata and their family who really look after you. 50 tala per night which includes meals (and if you're lucky some excellent stories) (as at July '05)

    Stay safe


    Samoa is a safe destination. Crime rates are low and people generally very helpful and friendly. Pickpocketing and robbery do happen, but with sensible precautions, one should encounter few problems.

    The main threat to personal safety comes from Dogs. While they are kept as pets, few are comparible to the domesticated dogs of Europe or North America. These are viscious, aggressive and ruthless animals, better resembling wild dogs or wolves. They will attack, in packs, if given any excuse. Even walking past a residential driveway, or in central Apia can be dangerous. Many Beach Fale's keep dogs on their resort. Beware though, just because they are owned by your host, it does not mean you have immunity from a serious bite.

    Tourists have been bitten throughout both islands, and this continues to be a serious problem for travellers to Samoa. Unfortunatly, the government seem unconcerned at the effect it is having on potential visitors and the many horror stories that now occur on a weekly basis.

    Stay calm if approached. Walk slowly, and in a non-threatening manner. Do not run. If attacked, bend down as if you are picking up a rock. Another option is to carry a long pointed object, such as an umbrella.

    Take taxis everywhere from dusk onwards. It is not adviseable to walk far at night, as dogs reach their most dangerous at this time. Think strongly before venturing too far from you're beach resort or hotel at any time of day. Some hotels and beach fale's openly advertise as a selling point that they are in a dog free area. Best bet is to stick with these resorts and avoid a nasty wound, or worse.

    Stay healthy


    Samoa is a Malaria free zone. However, there are occassional outbreaks of Dengue Fever and so precuations should be taken such as Mosquito nets and Insect repellent.

    There are no known poisonous animals or insects.

    Respect


    Samoa is highly religious with most of the population following one of the Christian denominations. This means Sunday is generally respected as a holy day and most shops and businesses are closed. You should not walk through villages on Sundays.

    Samoan culture is governed by strict protocols and etiquite. Although allowances are made for foreigners, it is wise to avoid revealing clothing and to comply with village rules which are strictly enforced by the village matai (chiefs).

    Other simple things such as removing shoes before entering a house (or for that matter budget accomodation) should be observed.

    Contact


    Samoa has an adequate telephone system with international calling. Some villages have public phones available and require a pre-paid phone card.

    Samoa.ws and Lesamoa are the only Internet Service Providers, but there are at least two public Internet access points in Apia, where fast, reliable access can be had for around 12 tala (4 US dollars) per hour.




    Samoa, officially the Independent State of Samoa, is a country governing the western half of the Samoan Islands archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean. Previous names were German Samoa from 1900 to 1919, and Western Samoa from 1914 to 1997. It was admitted to the United Nations on 15 December 1976 as Samoa. The entire island group, inclusive of American Samoa, was known as Navigators Islands before the 20th century because of the Samoans' seafaring skills.

    History

    Contact with Europeans began in the early 18th century, but intensified after the 1830s, when English missionaries and traders began arriving. Mission work in Samoa had begun in late 1830 by John Williams, of the London Missionary Society. By that time, the Samoans had gained a reputation of being savage and warlike, as they had clashed with French, British, German and American forces, who, by the late nineteenth century, valued Samoa as a refueling station for coal-fired shipping.

    As the Germans began to show more interest in the Samoan Islands, the United States laid its own claim to them. Britain also sent troops to express its interest. There followed an eight-year civil war, where each of the three powers supplied arms, training, and in some cases combat troops, to the warring Samoan parties. All three sent warships into Apia harbor, and a larger-scale war seemed imminent, until a massive storm damaged or destroyed the warships, ending the military conflict. At the turn of the twentieth century, the Treaty of Berlin split the Samoan Islands into two parts: the eastern group became a territory of the United States (the Tutuila Islands in 1900 and officially Manu'a in 1905), and are today known as American Samoa; the western islands, by far the greater landmass, became known as German Samoa after the British gave up claims to the islands in return for Fiji and some Melanesian territories. New Zealand troops landed in 'Upolu on 29 August 1914 and seized control from the German authorities, following a request by Britain that New Zealand forces take over a German radio station there. However, New Zealand soon became outmatched by residing German forces and withdrew.

    From the end of World War I until 1962, New Zealand controlled Samoa as a Class "C" Mandate under trusteeship through the League of Nations. There followed a series of New Zealand administrators. Approximately one fifth of the Samoan population died in the Influenza epidemic of 1918-1919, partly due to the failure of New Zealand authorities to enforce a quarantine.

    In the early 1920s, the Western Samoans began a campaign known as the Mau ("Strongly held Opinion"), a non-violent popular movement to protest the mistreatment of the Samoan people by the New Zealand administration. The Mau was initially lead by Olaf Nelson, who was half Samoan and half Swedish. (He continued to assist the organization financially and politically, though in exile, during the late 1920s and early 1930s.) In following the Mau's non-violent philosophy, the newly elected leader, High Chief Tupua Tamasese Lealofi, led his fellow uniformed Mau in a peaceful demonstration in downtown Apia. The New Zealand police attempted to arrest one of the leaders in the demonstration. When he resisted, a struggle developed between the police and the Mau. The officers began to fire randomly into the crowd and a Lewis machine gun, mounted in preparation for this demonstration, was used to disperse the Mau. Chief Tamasese was shot from behind and killed while trying to bring calm and order to the Mau demonstrators, screaming "Peace, Samoa". 10 others died that day and approximately 50 were injured by gunshot wounds and police batons. That day, December 28 1929, would come to be known in Samoa as Black Saturday. The Mau grew, remaining steadfastly non-violent, and expanded to include a highly influential women's branch. After repeated efforts by the Samoan people, Western Samoa finally gained independence in 1962.

    In July 1997, the constitution was amended to change the country's name from Western Samoa to Samoa, as it had been designated by the United Nations since joining the organization in 1976. The U.S. territory of American Samoa protested the move, asserting that the change diminished its own identity. American Samoans still use the terms Western Samoa and Western Samoans to describe the independent State of Samoa and its inhabitants. While the two Samoas share language and ethnicity, their cultures have recently followed different paths, with American Samoans often emigrating to Hawaii and the U.S. mainland, and adopting many U.S. customs, such as the playing of American football and baseball. Western Samoans have tended to emigrate instead to New Zealand, whose influence has made the sports of rugby and cricket more popular in the western islands.

    Politics

    The 1960 Constitution, which formally came into force with independence, is based on the British pattern of parliamentary democracy, modified to take account of Samoan customs. Two of Samoa's four princely titles (paramount chiefs) at the time of independence were given lifetime appointments to jointly hold the office of head of state. Malietoa Tanumafili II had held this post alone since the death of his colleague (Tupua Tamasese Meaole) in 1963. Malietoa Tanumafili II died 11 May 2007. He was the oldest living monarch at the time of his death. His successor, Tupua Tamasese Tupuola Tufuga Efi was selected by the legislature on the 17 June 2007 for a 5-year term.

    The unicameral legislature (Fono) consists of 49 members serving 5-year terms. Forty-seven are elected from territorial districts by ethnic Samoans; the other two are chosen by non-Samoans with no chiefly affiliation on separate electoral rolls. Universal suffrage was extended in 1990, but only chiefs (matai) may stand for election to the Samoan seats. There are more than 25,000 matais in the country, about 5% of whom are women. The prime minister is chosen by a majority in the Fono and is appointed by the chief of state to form a government. The prime minister's choices for the 12 cabinet positions are appointed by the chief of state, subject to the continuing confidence of the Fono.

    The judicial system is based on English common law and local customs. The Supreme Court is the court of highest jurisdiction. Its chief justice is appointed by the chief of state upon the recommendation of the prime minister.

    Geography


    The country is located east of the international dateline and south of the equator, about halfway between Hawai‘i and New Zealand in the Polynesian region of the Pacific Ocean. The Samoas are of volcanic origin, and the total land area is 2934 km² (slightly smaller than the U.S. state of Rhode Island), consisting of the two large islands of Upolu and Savai'i which account for 99% of the total land area, and eight small islets: the three islets in the Apolima Strait (Manono, Apolima and Nu'ulopa), the four Aleipata Islands off the eastern end of Upolu (Nu'utele, Nu'ulua, Namua, and Fanuatapu), and Nu'usafe'e (less than 0.01 km² in area and about 1.4 km off the south coast of Upolu at the village of Vaovai). While all of the islands have volcanic origins, only Savai'i has had recent eruptions and could be considered volcanically active: the last major eruption occurred in the 1700s, and smaller eruptions occurred between 1904 - 1906. The highest point in Samoa is Mauga Silisili, at 1858 m. The main island of Upolu is home to nearly three-quarters of Samoa's population, and its capital city is Apia. The climate is tropical, with an average annual temperature of 26.5 °C, and a rainy season from November to April.

    Economy


    The economy of Samoa has traditionally been dependent on development aid, private family remittances from overseas, and agricultural exports. The country is vulnerable to devastating storms. Agriculture employs two-thirds of the labor force, and furnishes 90% of exports, featuring coconut cream, coconut oil, noni (juice of the nonu fruit, as it is known in Samoan), and copra.Outside of a large automotive wire-harness factory, the manufacturing sector mainly processes agricultural products. Tourism] is an expanding sector; more than 70,000 tourists visited the islands in 1996. The Samoan government has called for deregulation of the financial sector, encouragement of investment, and continued fiscal discipline. Observers point to the flexibility of the labor market as a basic strength for future economic advances. The sector has been helped enormously by major capital investment in hotel infrastructure, political instability in neighboring [[Pacific countries, and the 2005 launch of Polynesian Blue a joint-venture between the government and Virgin Airlines.

    Samoa is a fertile, fruitful, productive country. In the period before German colonization, it produced mostly copra. German merchants and settlers were active in introducing large scale plantation operations and developing new industries, notably cocoa and rubber, relying on imported laborers from China and Melanesia. When the value of natural rubber fell drastically, about the end of the Great War (World War I), the New Zealand government encouraged the production of bananas, for which there is a large market in New Zealand.

    Because of variations in altitude, a large range of tropical and subtropical crops can be cultivated, but land is not generally available to outside interests. Of the total land area of 2,934 km² (725,000 acres), about 24.4% is in permanent crops and another 21.2% is arable. About 4.4% is Western Samoan Trust Estates Corporation (WSTEC).

    The staple products of Samoa are copra (dried coconut meat), cocoa (for chocolate), and bananas. The annual production of both bananas and copra has been in the range of 13,000 to 15,000 metric tons. If the rhinoceros beetle in Samoa were eradicated, Samoa could produce in excess of 40,000 metric tons of copra. Cocoa is of very high quality and used in fine New Zealand chocolates. Most cocoa trees are Criollo-Forastero hybrids. Coffee grows well, but production has been uneven. WSTEC is the biggest coffee producer. Rubber has been produced in Samoa for many years, but its export value has little impact on the economy.

    Other agricultural industries have been less successful. Sugarcane production, originally established by Germans in the early 20th century, could be successful. Old train tracks for transporting cane can be seen at some plantations east of Apia. Pineapples grow well in Samoa, but beyond local consumption have not been a major export.

    In the late 1960s, Potlatch Forests, Inc. (a U.S. company), upgraded the harbour and airport at Asau on the northern coast of Savai'i and established a timber operation, Samoa Forest Products, for harvesting tropical hardwoods. Potlatch invested about US$2,500,000 in a state-of-the-art sawmill and another US$6,000,000 over several years to develop power, water, and haul roads for their facility. Asau, with the Potlatch sawmillers and Samoa Forest Products, was one of the busiest parts of Savai'i in the 1960s and 1970s; however, the departure of Potlatch and the scaling down of the sawmill has left Asau a ghost town in recent years.

    Fishing has had some success in Samoan waters, but the biggest fisheries industry (headed by Van Camp and StarKist) has been based in American Samoa. StarKist Management announced that it was going ahead with setting up at Asau a blast-freezer project to be operational by 2002. This announcement dispelled a growing suspicion about the genuine motives of StarKist to move to Samoa. The proposed blast-freezer operations in Asau were expected to bring this village back to life.

    Sport

    The main sports played in Samoa are rugby union and Samoan cricket. About 30 ethnic Samoans, many from American Samoa, currently play in the National Football League. A 2002 article from ESPN estimated that a Samoan male (either an American Samoan, or a Samoan living in the 50 United States) is 40 times more likely to play in the NFL than a non-Samoan American.

    Rugby union is very popular in Samoa and the national team nicknamed the 'Manu' Samoa, is consistently competitive against teams from vastly more populous nations. Samoa have competed at every Rugby World Cup since 1991, and have made the quarter finals in 1991 (where they beat Wales and came close to upsetting eventual world champions Australia), 1995 and the second round of the 1999 world cup. At the 2003 world cup, Manu Samoa came close to beating eventual world champions, England. Samoa also play in the Pacific Nations Cup and the Pacific Tri-Nations The sport is governed by the Samoa Rugby Football Union, who are members of the Pacific Islands Rugby Alliance, and thus, also contribute to the international Pacific Islanders rugby union team. At club level there is the National Provincial Championship and Pacific Rugby Cup Prominent Samoan players include Douglas Faaee, Pat Lam and Brian Lima. In addition there are many Samoans that have played for or are playing for the All Blacks.

    Rugby league is also popular amongst Samoans, with Samoa reaching the quarter finals of the 2000 Rugby League World Cup. They also took home the cup at Wellington and the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens in 2007 - for which the Prime Minister of Samoa, also Chairman of the national rugby union, Tuila’epa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, declared a national holiday. Many Samoans and New Zealanders or Australians of Samoan descent play in the Super League and National Leagues in Britain. Examples are Ta'ane Lavulavu of Workington Town, Maurie Fa'asavalu of St Helens and David Fatialofa of Whitehaven.

    The Samoan cricket team became an affiliate member of the International Cricket Council in 2000. In 2005, they competed in the East Asia/Pacific Cup, finishing in last place, thus missing out on qualification for the 2011 Cricket World Cup.

    Samoans have been very visible in American professional wrestling, despite the relatively small population of the islands. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Peter Maivia, Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka, Umaga/Jamal, Rosey, Yokozuna, Wild Samoans, The Headshrinkers, Rikishi, Samoa Joe, and Sonny Siaki all have a Samoan heritage.

    Konishiki the former Sumo wrestler who reached the rank of Ozeki (champion), is of Samoan descent

    Several kickboxers and mixed martial arts fighters are of Samoan descent, including former K-1 champion Mark Hunt, former UFC champion BJ Penn, and K-1 fighter Mighty Mo

    Demographics


    Only the Māori of New Zealand outnumber Samoans among Polynesian groups, but a larger portion of Māori identify with more than one ethnic group.

    Roughly 98% of Samoans are Christians, divided among many different churches, including: Congregationalist 35.5%, Roman Catholic 19.6%, Methodist 15%, Latter-Day Saints 12.7%, Assembly of God 6.6%, Seventh-day Adventist 3.5%, other Christian 4.0%, Worship Centre 1.3%, unspecified 0.8% (2001 census) . The Head of State until 2007, His Highness Malietoa Tanumafili II, was a Bahá'í convert. Samoa hosts one of seven Bahá'í Houses of Worship in the world; completed in 1984 and dedicated by the Head of State, it is located in Tiapapata, 8 km from Apia.

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Samoa has a large gender imbalance. The cause of this imbalance is uncertain, but it fits the profile of a large-scale emigration of women. Why most of Samoa's women would emigrate and not the men, and why this process would affect Samoa but none of its neighbors such as Tonga, and where these women have gone, has never been properly explained.

    Culture

    The fa'a Samoa, or traditional Samoan way, remains a strong force in Samoan life and politics. Despite centuries of European influence, Samoa maintains its historical customs, social and political systems, and language. Samoans are a typically open, friendly, welcoming, and good-humoured people with great pride in their culture, traditions, history, and nationhood. Samoan hospitality and generosity are widely noted.

    Samoans had gods of their own, as their mythological story of creation tells. At the head of the hierarchy of gods (aitu) was the supreme god called Tagaloaalagi, who dwelt in the 9th heaven. The Samoan culture is centred around the principle of vāfealoa'i -the relationships- between people. These relationships are based on respect, or fa'aaloalo at the centre. At the time that Christianity was introduced in Samoa, most Samoan people converted. Currently 98% of the population identify themselves as Christian. The other 2 percent either identify themselves as unreligious, or do not belong to any congregation. Church or going to church is a strongly held value for Samoans, and usually, the only members of the population who do not attend a church on Sunday are preparing the Sunday meal.

    Samoan society is often said by European writers to have an hierarchical order. From the chiefs (matai) to the non matai who are the aumaga - the ones who are the able bodied young men that provide what is valued in the Samoan world as tautuaor service. For instance, cleaning the village each week and preparing food in an umu for the chief. The aumaga service is provided traditionally without payment. The offering of ones energy to provide thie tautua has its many rewards the ultimate being the bestowal of a matai name on the one who is honest and trustworthy in giving tautua. One of the most important task of the aumaga was to protect the village from any form of attack in ancient times. The aumaga are like the soldiers of a village,and this kind of service to the village was known as tautua toto (blood service). Today, the aumaga merely serve to enforce peace within the villages during curfew hours so as to support family evening prayers. As a consequence of breaking any rules, the village must be paid a monetary fine andie Toga (traditional fine mats).

    The Samoans have a communal way of life with little privacy. They do almost all their activities collectively. An archetypical example of this are the traditional Samoan fales (houses) which are open with no walls, using blinds made of coconut palm fronds during the night or bad weather.

    As in many societies, the slow introduction of technology and its conveniences weathers away the traditional way of life observed by Samoans in the olden days. However, the culture still thrives within many families today. Sundays are traditionally a day of rest, and many families congregate to share an umu together for a Sunday afternoon meal. This Sunday meal is called a Toana'i.

    Samoans are a deeply spiritual and religious people, and have subtly adapted the dominant religion, Christianity, to 'fit in' with fa'a Samoa and vice versa. As such ancient beliefs continue to co-exist side-by-side with Christianity, particularly in regard to the traditional customs and rituals of fa'a Samoa.

    Today the majority group or congregation (church) are members of the CCCS, Congregational Christian Church of Samoa, established by London Missionary Society in 1830. And the least and the famous of all groups are known as the Seventh-day Adventist. Beautfiul Samoan handicrafts can be found at the craft market and some shops. These include the siapo (equivalent to the Fijian tapa)made from beaten mulberry bark, decorated with patterns or pictures that are painted on with a natural brown dye. In some villages, one is still able to find what is know as fale lalaga which is a gathering of the women of a village for the main purpose of weaving ie toga's or mats, and other Samoan handicrafts or mea taulima.

    Malietoa Tanumafili II was a follower of the Bahá'í Faith. He was the second royal (after Queen Marie of Romania) to be a member of that religion. The Bahá'í House of Worship in Tiapapata, eight kilometers from the country's capital of Apia, was dedicated by him in 1984.

    The traditional Samoan dance is the Siva. This dance is similar to the Hawaiian hula, with gentle movements of the hands and feet in time to music and which tells a story, although the Samoan male dances are more aggressive and snappy. The "Sasa" is also a traditional Samoan dance, in which rows of dancers perform rapid synchronised movements in time to drums tins, or rolled mats. It name originates from the Samoan word for "slap", hence the Samoan "slap dance" which is accomplished by slapping different parts of the body. This was originally derived from slapping insects on the body and later became a form of dance.

    Traditional Samoan medicine is often practiced as a first-line before hospital medicine. This is a type of alternative medicine using plant leaves to massage the affected area.

    The contemporary traditional women’s clothing is the puletasi which is a matching ie or wrap-around and top with Samoan designs. Males usually wear button down shirts and ie faitaga, a male versions of the wrap-arounds.

    As with many Polynesian islands with significant and unique tattoos, Samoans have two gender specific and culturally significant tattoos. For males, it is called the tatau and consists of intricate and geometrical patterns tattooed that cover areas from the knees up towards the ribs. A male who possess such a tatau is called a soga'imiti. A Samoan girl or teine is given a malu, which covers the area from just below her knees to her upper thighs.
  • Music of Samoa
  • Myths and Legends of Samoa
  • Samoa News
  • Samoan Cuisine/Recipes
  • Samoan Pe'a (tattoo)
  • Samoan Cultural Articles
  • Language (Grammar and Dictionary of the Samoan Language, with English and Samoan vocabulary)


  • Other topics
  • Communications in Samoa
  • Samoa Broadcasting Corporation
  • Electoral Constituencies
  • Foreign relations of Samoa
  • List of cities in Samoa
  • List of villages in Samoa
  • List of Notable Samoans
  • Military of Samoa
  • Public holidays in Samoa
  • Transportation in Samoa
  • Scouting in Samoa
  • History of Samoa


  • References
  • Schnee, Dr. Heinrich . 1926. German Colonization, Past and Future—The Truth about the German Colonies. London: George Allen & Unwin.
  • Eustis, Nelson. 1980. Aggie Grey of Samoa. Adelaide, South Australia: Hobby Investments. ISBN 0-9595609-0-4.


  • External links


  • Official Samoan government Website
  • Visit Samoa- Comprehensive array of Samoan tourist accommodation
  • Samoa A-Z: The Small Guide To A Tropical Paradise
  • iPasifika - Premier ISP in Samoa
  • www.samoa.ws Online Portal with greatest collection of links to Samoan domestic websites
  • Vasapasefika - Fa'asamoa forums replete with traditions, legends and myths.

  • Open Directory Project - Samoa directory category
  • ChooHoo! - Online Samoan community featuring forums, chat, blogs, etc.
  • Finding Samoa
  • Samoan Based Contemporary Art
  • Map: district subdivision
  • Samoa, A Hundred Years Ago And Long Before by George Turner, an eText available from Project Gutenberg
  • Samoan Noni Juice












  • Introduction:
    New Zealand occupied the German protectorate of Western Samoa at the outbreak of World War I in 1914. It continued to administer the islands as a mandate and then as a trust territory until 1962, when the islands became the first Polynesian nation to reestablish independence in the 20th century. The country dropped the "Western" from its name in 1997.

    Location: Oceania, group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, about one-half of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand

    Population: 176,908 (July 2006 est.)

    Languages: Samoan (Polynesian), English

    Country name: conventional long form: Independent State of Samoa
    conventional short form: Samoa
    local long form: Malo Sa'oloto Tuto'atasi o Samoa
    local short form: Samoa
    former: Western Samoa

    Capital: name: Apia
    geographic coordinates: 13 50 S, 171 45W
    time difference: UTC-11 (6 hours behind Washington, DC during Standard Time)

    Economy - overview:
    The economy of Samoa has traditionally been dependent on development aid, family remittances from overseas, agriculture, and fishing. The country is vulnerable to devastating storms. Agriculture employs two-thirds of the labor force, and furnishes 90% of exports, featuring coconut cream, coconut oil, and copra. The fish catch declined during the El Nino of 2002-03, but returned to normal by mid-2005. The manufacturing sector mainly processes agricultural products. One factory in the Foreign Trade Zone employs 3,000 people to make automobile electrical harnesses for an assembly plant in Australia. Tourism is an expanding sector, accounting for 25% of GDP; about 100,000 tourists visited the islands in 2005. The Samoan Government has called for deregulation of the financial sector, encouragement of investment, and continued fiscal discipline, while at the same time protecting the environment. Observers point to the flexibility of the labor market as a basic strength for future economic advances. Foreign reserves are in a relatively healthy state, the external debt is stable, and inflation is low.



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