Here’s a beautiful little film by Crystal Vaega that might help you learn the significance of the traditional Samoan tattoo to Samoan people. It tells the story of Sonny Natanielu, who was born in Samoa but lost his connection to our culture when his family moved with him to New Zealand. The film explores a … Continue reading How the Tatau (Samoan tattoo) helped one man re-discover his cultural heritage
Koko alaisa is yummy anywhere, anytime, but I love it most on cold New Zealand winter nights. A hot, sweet mug of deep, dark Samoan cocoa, mouthfuls of fat rice grains, a speckling of undissolved coconut cream, and pegu – little, nutty koko fibres – to crunch on at the end. Perfection. Every Samoan will … Continue reading How do you like your Koko Alaisa (Samoan cocoa rice)?
This guideline covers a few different situations. First, it’s good manners in any culture to use your initiative to correct things that are not right. For example, are the dishes piling up? Wash them. Is a log blocking somebody’s driveway? Move it. It’s common sense and basic human courtesy. We shouldn’t need to be asked … Continue reading Think about it: You don’t need to be told
I’ll be the first to admit it. I eat on my feet all the time. Hello, I’m a busy lady. I don’t always have time for a sit down meal, etc. and other excuses like that. Lucky for me, I’m too big now to get a bashing for such horrible manners… but I still try … Continue reading Eating and standing in a Samoan house? I dare you.
German Samoa (1900-1914) was also Chinese Samoa. Apparently, German landowners couldn’t find many local Samoans willing to work for them, so they immigrated almost 4000 Chinese laborers on temporary (usually 3-year) contracts. This time in our history – plus the upcoming Spanish influenza outbreak (1918) that killed thousands – forever changed the genetic make up … Continue reading Stories from a German Samoa
Another one of my most favourite Samoan jams is Afai Ua e Musu (I love the version by the Five Stars). It’s basically a guy telling a girl, “If you don’t want me, just tell me. I’m cool. I can hack it. Let’s just get this over with.” And then he quotes Samoan proverbs including … Continue reading Samoan Proverb about a Humble Snake
So the uploading side of YouTube is completely new to me, but I was at Showtime Mangere 2014 last week with my secret phone camera and I captured this gem that I just had to share! The Taimua Malaeola Youth choir is a real treat to watch. They filled the entire evening with music, even … Continue reading One Samoana’s first ever YouTube upload – Party in Mangere
In our culture it’s really rude to have conversations with your elders if you’re standing while they’re seated. If you dare to be so inappropriate like that in a very traditional Samoan household, look out for flying saucers (followed by tea-cups, or spoons, etc.) aimed at your head. To show respect, you try to speak … Continue reading Samoan Etiquette – You sit down, too!
As the heart of the Pacific ocean, it makes sense that so many of Samoa’s alagaupu & muagagana (proverbs & idioms) use the imagery of fishing. Like this one: O le upega e fili i le po, ‘ae tatala i le ao Its literal translation: The fishing net is knotted (or braided) at night, but … Continue reading Samoan Proverb – Sorted like a fishing net in the morning
Our Samoan etiquette series is for people who are new to our culture or just want to brush up on the kind of behavior expected from ‘good’ Samoans. It’s especially helpful if you want to make a good impression on Samoan elders, perhaps the parents of your (hope to be) significant other? I wrote a … Continue reading Tulou – the magic word in Samoan etiquette