The Matai Handbook Samoan Manners Samoan Culture Samoan Language

Fa’alupega and the Samoan lauga

Fa’alupega is often the first building block of a Samoan lauga (speech). When addressing a gathering of people, it is custom for the speaker to acknowledge all the other matai in the room, to greet each of them not just by title name, but with an acknowledgement of their village and recitation of how their […]

Samoan People Samoan Language Thoughts on Life

Why the word hamo is offensive… but it’s okay! I’ve taken it back.

When I started calling myself Hamo Geek Girl (omg, almost 10 years ago) it made some people uncomfortable. “Do you know the history of the word ‘hamo’?” some asked. “Isn’t that offensive to Samoans?” asked others. Yes I know. Hamo was not my most favourite word, either, but I took it back! For a number […]

The Matai Handbook Samoan Culture Samoan Language

The two Samoan languages

While I was slowly picking up Samoan from my family and friends, I’d hear references to another, mysterious, ‘higher’ version of the language. ‘It’s different from our everyday Samoan,’ …they would say. ‘It’s the language that matais and ministers use’. And I would think, OK, so… what is it? Do they just use bigger words? […]

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