Matai – The Path to Becoming a Samoan Chief [Part 1]

Image from Wikipedia

How do you become a Samoan Matai?

The good news is, if you’re even a little bit Samoan I’m 99.9% sure you’re the suli (heir) to at least one matai title.

Once a title becomes available, any suli can petition for it.

He or she just has to have some support (it doesn’t hurt to have other matai or well respected elders arguing for you) and also, ideally, a track record of service to the family.

O le ala i le pule, o le tautua

..is a well-known Samoan proverb that means, “The path to leadership is service”.

You might find that your bid to become a matai is much better supported if your family can see how much you love and labour (and contribute financially to fa’alavelave *cough*) for them.

Matai: A Complicated System of Chiefs

Matai is the Samoan word for leader, or chief, or even (in the poetic sense) father. Samoan society is organized by family, and each family has its own matai titles, which are connected to certain districts, villages and plots of family land. And that was the short version of this story. In reality, Samoa’s matai … Continue reading Matai: A Complicated System of Chiefs