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 opened (or untangled) in the morning/day.

Dr Schultz explains that after night fishing, fishermen would hang their nets up, but would only come back to put them in order in the morning.

According to Schultz, this proverb is about settling disputes, how we have to really understand what the true cause of the conflict is, first.

I think it also refers to how, when we’re all dark, angry and emotional with each other, sometimes it’s wise to just walk away for a while, to come back in the ‘morning’ (i.e. when we can see more clearly) and sort things out.

I love that these proverbs are somewhat open to interpretation. What are your thoughts about this bit of Samoan wisdom?


I am working through some alagaupu & muagagana I found in my grandfather’s notebook. Maybe with a little common sense and creativity, I can figure out what they mean all by myself… hmmm… lol