The Truth about the Samoan Tattoo (Tatau) – Part III

At long last, I’m finally back with Part 3 of this series of posts about the Samoan tattoo.

If you haven’t already, please check out previous articles on this topic:

The Truth about the Samoan Tattoo
The Truth about the Samoan Tattoo – Part 2
Do I have to be Samoan to get a Samoan tattoo? [Bonus post]


In those earlier posts, we looked at the origin legend of the Samoan tattoo, as expressed in an old Samoan chant.

We also talked about the symbols in the malofie/pe’a and malu tattoos, and we’ve got a passionate conversation still going (in the comments) about who should and shouldn’t be allowed to receive traditional Samoan ink.

While that discussion wages on, let’s turn our focus and have a look at how you would go about getting a traditional Samoan tattoo (tatau).

Continue reading The Truth about the Samoan Tattoo (Tatau) — Part III

Be careful when you praise Samoans

In the western world, complimenting someone on their appearance or accessories is a great way to strike up a conversation.

It doesn’t always work like that for Samoans.

I remember one time, I mentioned to a relative that her bag was pretty, and then when she tried to give it to me, I was like, “Oh no… I don’t mean that I want it. You keep it. But thank you so much.”


I don’t see it happening so much any more, but back in the day, I learned very quickly that complimenting someone – especially when it sounds kind of random – is as good as asking for something.

Turns out, it’s an actual thing.

Continue reading Be careful when you praise Samoans

Palolo, a Samoan (worm) delicacy [video]

Palolo, a Samoan (worm) delicacy

Some cultures eat frog legs and snails. Others eat crickets and roaches. Samoans eat worms from the ocean.

And they’re yum!

When I was very young in Hawaii, the stories about palolo were like fairy-tales to me:

  • They only come out once a year, under a waning moon
  • The villagers wade out into the night ocean to catch them
  • They shimmer on the surface of the water
  • They’re so delicious, they’re like ambrosia for the Samoan gods

Something like that.

I also remember, one day my family was visiting a friend’s beach house (on the North Shore of Oahu, everybody’s shack is a beach house). The mother of the family had just arrived from a holiday in Samoa and was so excited about a small container of palolo she’d brought back.

I’m sure I tasted it then and loved it, but palolo is so hard to find, it would be a lot of years – decades – before I’d have the chance to try it again and be sure.

Until then, palolo was just a mythical creature whose stories were woven into the image in my mind of Samoan culture.

Then along came Google and Wikipedia to dispel the mystery of it all.

Continue reading Palolo, a Samoan (worm) delicacy

Wake up! It’s 2016! [video]


2015 is out the door in a couple of days – can you believe it?

I’ve been spring cleaning our Samoan Lyrics database, finding all these musical gems from back in the day.

And then I rediscovered Aaradhna.

First it was the lyrics for ‘Down Time‘ and ‘I Love You Too‘ – those throwbacks to younger, more carefree days – then next minute I was on YouTube looking up her more recent work.

Her 2012 album, Treble & Reverb is actually pretty amazing.

Those lyrics that you feel in your gut, that catchy retro groove…

Continue reading Wake up! It’s 2016!

Samoan Puligi (steamed pudding)


[Just pulling this recipe (first posted 11 Nov 2013) out again for this holiday season. Can’t wait to have some hot puligi & custard on New Years Eve. Mmmmmmm…]

We have a funeral in the family this week. My mom’s beautiful Aunt lived a long, full life and was called a few days ago to rest in Paradise.

Typical of many Samoan funerals, Auntie won’t be buried until early next week. In the meantime, the family is spending a lot of time together – cleaning, cooking, planning, reminiscing, discussing protocol, and sharing lots of meals.

Enthusiastic cooks might think ‘bring-a-plate’ gatherings like these would be the perfect time to show off their culinary skills – they’d be wrong. We’ve got a big family connected to several church groups, and all Samoans are programmed to not arrive empty handed… so your stellar dish would be lost in the mountains of food available throughout the week.

But late in the evenings of a Samoan funeral, when most of the day’s visitors have gone and only the close, blood relatives linger – to buoy each other’s spirits with light banter and shared memories… this is the time to bring out the best of our refreshments. This is Cup Tea time.

Of the dozen or so dishes typically served as part of a Samoan Cup Tea, probably the most iconic for us (or maybe second only to our panipopo) is the steamed pudding. We call it puligi.

Continue reading Samoan Puligi (steamed pudding)

Miss Samoa takes our siva to the world [video]

Miss Samoa World 2015

After some embarrassing criticism from Samoa’s prime minister (embarrassing for him, that is), 21-year-old Latafale Auva’a headed to China with a promise to “represent the Pacific with pride” on the Miss World stage.

And she did!

Continue reading Miss Samoa takes our siva to the world

Samoan Tradition: Ifoga

One Samoana Throwback: First published Jan 4, 2009, this post explores a tradition of forgiveness like no other.


It’s a fact of life: humans are attracted to drama… which makes me – and apparently, Samoans in general – oh so very human.

I don’t remember when I first heard about the Samoan tradition of ‘ifoga’, but I do remember thinking wow. How tragically beautiful.. how poignantly dramatic.

Ifoga is a grand, theatrical, mother of an apology reserved for the kinds of sins that in many other societies are punishable by death, like murder, rape and adultery.

Continue reading Samoan Tradition: Ifoga

Scarlet Lies – Mostly to Herself

A Review by Hamo Geek Girl

WARNING: This post contains (a FEW) spoilers from the book, Scarlet Lies.


So here’s why I don’t read romance novels. You know, those chick-lit ones narrated by yet another sad, lonely, neurotic female who lusts after an impossibly perfect demi-godly man, who by some miraculous mercy of fate happens to pay some attention to her. And then they have steaming hot, acrobatic sex. (Woohoo!)

Continue reading Scarlet Lies — Mostly to Herself

Lies are Beautiful, When the Truth Hurts: Scarlet Lies

A Review by Keep it Hood

WARNING: This post contains (a FEW) spoilers from the book, Scarlet Lies.


OMG so where do I begin with Lani Wendt Young’s new book Scarlet Lies! Can you believe I read this whole book in one night as I was hooked and couldn’t let it go as I just always needed to know “what’s gonna happen next?!”

Now everyone knows I’m not a romance-ey , lovey dovey type of girl ewwww LOL, but when it’s a story that, as I kept reading I felt like I was the main female character in this book and every emotion and rollercoaster ride Scarlet went through felt like it was all me – that was enough for me to get hooked as I was curious to find out Scarlet’s outcome.

Continue reading Lies are Beautiful, When the Truth Hurts: Scarlet Lies