Latest posts in: The Matai Handbook
Matai: A Complicated System of Chiefs

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...

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How to Greet a Samoan Matai (Chief)

How to Greet a Samoan Matai (Chief)

The heartbeat of Samoan culture is love and respect, or fa'aaloalo. How we greet people is a very public demonstration of this respect. Like a lot of languages, we have informal greetings for our peers and friends and then formal greetings for people we don't know as...

Matai – How to become a Samoan Chief [Part 2]

Matai – How to become a Samoan Chief [Part 2]

This is the second part of our series on The Path to Becoming a Samoan Chief. Please read Part 1 first, if you haven't already. Part 1 gives you a bit of background - where do matai titles come from? Who decides how your family's titles are distributed? How do you...

A Samoan Matai and Language Challenge

A Samoan Matai and Language Challenge

I love the Samoan culture the way I love my family: I would protect and defend it with my life I don't always agree with it and sometimes we fight One aspect of our culture I always seem to be in the ring with is our matai system, or fa'amatai. On the one hand,...

Fa’alupega and the Samoan lauga

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...

Samoan Tradition: Ifoga

Samoan Tradition: Ifoga

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...

How much did your matai title cost?

Samoans can be precious about our Fa'asamoa, and at the core of the Samoan way of life is our Fa'amatai, or our system of chiefs (matai). Ideally and traditionally, new chiefs are chosen by the consensus of their extended family, an honour bestowed on them after years...

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Village One Samoana

Were you once a One Samoana ‘Native’? If you were a member of the One Samoana social network (which ran from 2008 – 2012), then a you may recognize some of these Native-written blogs from a heartbeat and a lifetime ago.

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