The Samoan people are a Polynesian ethnic group of the Samoan Islands, sharing genetics, language, history and culture. The home islands are politically and geographically divided between the country of Samoa and American Samoa, an unincorporated territory of the United States though divided by political powers the cultures and languages remain one in the same.

Samoans were renown through the Pacific for their seafaring culture and thus was named the Navigator Islands by the first European visitors upon witnessing first hand the Samoan people's seafaring skills.

The Samoan people and culture form a vital link and stepping stone in the formation and spread of the Polynesian culture, language and religion through out Eastern Polynesia.

A Polynesian culture of trade, religion, war, colonialism are important identifying markers within the Polynesian culture that almost certainly formed its roots within the Samoan culture. Samoa's colonial history with the kingdom of Tonga, Fiji and French Polynesia forming the impases for what is the modern Polynesian cultural marker points.

Samoans living in Samoa in 2006 were estimated at 188,000.[5] The majority of ethnic Samoans now reside in other countries, primarily in the United States (180,000 in 2012),[6] New Zealand (115,000 in 2001)[7] and Australia (55,843 in 2011).[8]

Social Organization

The Matai

Matai, otherwise known as the head of the family and extended family, is a very important figure in the Samoan culture. There are many aspects that go into fully understanding the term Matai, such as how one is elected and what their role is.

The election of a Matai is a lengthy process that can last up to several weeks and is often a highly competitive race. In this race different branches from each family put forth a male candidate, accompanied by reasons why he would be a good candidate. These reasons range from the candidate’s wisdom to wealth, including highly praised values such as negotiating, ritual knowledge, politics and economics. However, if the son of a matai meets these requirements, he is typically given a major edge in the race.[9] Another advantage the son of a matai or any man in the matai’s household is given is being able to observe and help the matai starting from a young age. Most men considered for the Matai position are at least 40 years old, meaning many young candidates don’t even stand a chance. One strategy that can be used by any males aspiring to become a matai is to choose to live in a household that has no other males, or to move to his wife’s household if there are no males in her family's household either.[10]

The election of a matai is under the guidance of another matai who is related to the family, allowing for a fair election. Once a new matai is chosen, a feast is thrown for the family, followed by a bigger feast for the whole village at a later date. At the larger feast, the matai is expected to give a traditional inaugural speech, displaying his abilities to speak publicly, his wisdom and retelling of Samoan myths. Throughout this speech he is watched by village council, as well as all the other matai’s in the village. Once the matai has proved himself to the other matai’s by giving the traditional address, he is called on to serve the community as a whole. The newly elected matai is expected to host a village wide feast where he is tasked with providing food for the meal, as well as getting the other matais gifts.[10]

Once this task is completed the newly elected matai is officially considered the matai of his household and will hold the position for the rest of his life, should he lead correctly. In certain cases where a matai is deemed cruel or ineffective, the title is stripped and a new matai is elected. However, a more often occurrence is the current matai becoming elderly or ill and requesting that a new matai be elected in order for there to be a more stable and effective leadership in place.[10]

The role of a matai is a very large and important one. He is expected to provide leadership in all aspects of family life. He encourages warm family relations, offers advice, directs religious participation, and oversees disputes. As well as watching over the family land and representing the family in village affairs. Overall, a matai must have different demeanor than everyone else, especially other males in the family. Matai's are also in charge of economic situations. For example a matai must manage the amount of food his family brings in and must stores one away for when times are hard. The matai’s job as a leader is one that is very important in Samoan culture and helps the overall structure stay in place.[10]

The Aumaga

While chiefs, talking chiefs and matais all have a title, there are men in the village that are untitled. These men are placed in a group titled the aumaga. These men are the labor core of the community as they perform most the hard labor. The aumaga are tasked with building houses, repairing roads, planting and harvesting the garden, fishing and cutting coconut meat and selling it. The aumaga also have ceremonial responsibilities, such as helping the chief in ritual cooking and serving the food at ceremonies. They also serve as informal keepers of peace, interacting with each other as a large group of friends. They often play cards, cricket or gather for dances and parties with each other. The Aumaga are under control of a relative of the chief, called the manaia, who helps organize the aumaga and plan their activities . Despite not always being the true son of the chief, the manaia is still referred to as son by the chief.[11]


The main leader of each individual household is named the Aiga of the family. One person, predominately a male figure, is elected to become the Aiga of his extended family. Elections take place after the former Aiga has passed away or is no longer to fulfill his duties, either for ethical reasonings or old age.Elections are a long and strenuous process for members of the extended family. For one portion of the family is going up against the other portion, leading to tensions within the whole family. Each Aiga is the owner of their family's land. On that piece of land, extended families live, grow crops, cook and do other household chores. Also on that piece of land is where another elected member resides, the Matai. Due to the large amount of households within a single village, there are a large amount of Aiga. So much so that some are able to trace back their Aiga timeline over a dozen different Aiga. The reasoning for the large amount of Aigas is that the title could be claimed through blood ties, marriage, and adoption.[12]


A Samoan family, circa 1909

Although the Samoan Natives (Tagata Māo‘i) have long claimed to be the indigenous people of their islands — holding firm to the belief that Samoans were birthed from a tear in the Heavens (Lagi, Lani) special creation in Samoa — it has been theorized by many linguists and anthropologists, based on linguistic commonalities as well as archaeological findings, that migrants from Southeast Asia arrived in the Samoan Islands approximately 3500 years ago, settling in what has come to be known as Polynesia further to the east. This approximation is based on the Lapita pottery that has been dated to that time.

It is possible, as the natives suggest, that the Samoan Islands were settled some time before 1000 BC and that the original settlement predates the arrival of those to whom the pottery was culturally relevant. It is also generally a wide spread Cultural belief through out Samoa that the Island's were the central base point for the beginning of the great voyages, the Polynesian expansion to the East and South[13].

These stories and Legends are recorded in print by European historians, Anthropologists, Archaeologists and still spoken of in contemporary times by Samoan High Chiefs in their great speeches and decrees during Kava ceremonies and Chiefly/ Royal ceremonies.

The voyages still spoken of in ancient Polynesian Chieftain Oratory poetics (lauga) are called 'Taeao'; a recalling of past histories and contacts within the Polynesian archipelago by Samoan Oral High Chiefs. These 'Taeaos' include oral and written accounts of familial tribal/klan contacts with the neighboring Islands of;

1) Tokelau (New Zealand)

2) Tuamotu (French Polynesia)

3) Huahine (French Polynesia)

4) Tahiti (French Polynesia)

5) Ha'apai (Tonga)

6) Vava'u (Tonga)

7) Rarotonga (Cook Islands)

8) Pukapuka (Cook Islands)

9) Tuvalu

10) Havai'i (Hawai'ian Islands, USA)

11) Futuna (France)

12) Uvea (France)

13) Rotuma (Fiji)

14) Viti-Levu (Fiji)

These voyages are mostly mentioned in terms of past Inter Island warfare, times of peace and trade, Inter-island marriages, familial relational klan groups. It is possible many islands may have already had Indigenous inhabitants pre-Samoan contact[14].

Furthermore, the Samoans have developed a language, culture, and social practice most divergent from the other ethnic groups associated with the Lapita pottery.

Early contact with Europeans was established in the 18th century. Christianity was formally introduced with the arrival of L.M.S. Christian missionaries in August 1830.

During the early 20th century the Samoan Islands were partitioned by Germany, Great Britain and the USA. Tutuila and Aunu'u islands were claimed by the USA and later joined by the Kingdom of Manu'a (1904) to become the current Territory of American Samoa. The western islands became German Samoa. In 1914, New Zealand forces captured the islands from Germany, thus becoming Western Samoa. Western Samoa regained its independence on January 1, 1962. In 1997 it formally changed its name to Samoa.[15]

Marriage and family


Marriage ceremonies are considered important within the Samoan culture. Marriage involves the transfer of property of the female property, the toga, to the male property the oloa. It is a village event, with two ceremonies and a feast at the conclusion. In the first ceremony, the bride and groom march through the village to a district judge. The judge then conducts a civil ceremony. Concluding that official ceremony, the newlyweds next gather in a church where a religious ceremony is performed by a member of the church. At a feast, families provide food from all over the village. After the conclusion of the wedding, the newlyweds choose which side of the family they would like to live with. After moving in with a particular family, they are expected to do work around the land and the house to help provide for their family. Holly., Peters-Golden, (2012). Culture sketches : case studies in anthropology (6th ed ed.). Dubuque, Iowa: The McGraw-Hill. ISBN 9780078117022. OCLC 716069710.  </ref>

When families have children, they too are expected to help with duties and chores around the land. However, they are not expected to do much until ages three or four. The young girls take care of other children and housework, while the boys help with cultivation, animals and water gathering. By the time the children reach the age of seven or eight, they are supposed to know and are acclimated to the life and chores of the Samoan culture. This includes being adept in "agriculture, fishing, cooking, and child care"[16] to go along with a multitude of other chores that their elders have directed them to do in past. As the Samoan people age the most tasks they are given and the most responsibilities they hold, until they can take over fully for the aging members of their extended family.[16]


Funeral procession of Mau leader, Tamasese Lealofi II in Samoa in 1930.

When a member of extended family passes away, the funeral preparations start almost immediately.[17] Choirs are directed to the mourner's land. The deceased body is bathed and dress in white. They are placed on woven mats before the funeral less than 24-hours later.[18] During those 24-hours, at least one family member has to stay with the deceased. A feast concludes the event, with food being served to mourners and people who helped with the burial. Other family members take over the responsibilities of the deceased while still serving their own personal chores around the land.[19]


The elected Matai of the community is the controller of every portion of a village land. The village Matai says what cultivators will do with land and "hold sway over allocation of plots and the ways in which those plots are used."[17]The only aspect the Matai does not control is who the land will go to after his death. This is to avoid it being controlled by one family for a long period of time. There are four categories that land is divided: Village House Lots, Underbrush, Family Reserve and Village Land.[17]

House village lots

A samoan house under construction in the early portions of the 1900s. Samoan houses consist of three separate quarters. Including a man sleeping quarter, a guest house and latrines.

Village house lots is where individual houses or huts of single person or family lives. These houses are built in clusters. The clusters include multiple different aspects, but all look the same. Each house includes a main sleeping house, a guest house and a latrine.[17] Yards with trees and gardens make up the house village lot, with some lots containing the entirety of the extended family.[17]


The underbrush covers the entirety of the land. These plots of land are recognizable to all villagers and are separated by boundaries. Boundaries are usually made up from a variety of rocks, streams, trees and plants. It is very easy to distinguish the different properties owned by separate families.[17]

Family reserve

Family reserve sections are where crops are cultivated. The biggest amount of crops grown within the Samoan culture is taro leaves and yams.[17] These plots are available to be shared with other villages and other families. However, they would be no longer classified as a family reserve but regarded as owning the crops but not the land.[17] The family reserve is not cultivated as much as other sources of property. This is due to the fact that crops grown here are able to grow quickly and easily without many interruptions.[17]

Village land

Village land is the least cultivated and most shared portion of land in Samoan villages. To be able to plant here requires permission from the village council. This is because "the land is community property and not family owned"[17]. Village land is the biggest aspect of any figure of land and is where hunting for food, such as wild pig and birds are allowed.[17] Fishing is also an aspect that is allowed within village land.[17]

Domestic work

A Samoan pig on the Samoan oven called an umu. The fire consists of lava rocks and banana leaves and takes about an hour to complete cooking.

Domestic work varies between the two genders of the Samoan society. In the foraging life of the Samoan society, men hunt and gather fish and meat, and cook them in three different ways, either broiling, cooking or roasting over hot rocks.[20] When roasting fish or meat, the men wrap the fish in banana leaves, then place the parcels on to hot rocks that have been heated over a fire. More hot rocks are then placed over the meat,parcels and starchy food (taro, breadfruit and green banana) and then covered with more banana leaves and left to roast/steam for an hour or so. Men pass their hunting and gathering skills down to their offspring. Starting at a young age, children go hunting with their fathers and then are taught to cook. Feasts are common within each village. On Sundays extended families gather to eat, with their familiar Matai leading the meal.[20] While men are the primary cooks, women also have a role in cooking and preparing feasts.[20]

Women are also involved in creating clothing. The Samoan dressing is backcloth, which is made from mulberry bush bark, then tied into foot-long cloths to create a ceremonial scrub.


Samoan family


Tattooing taking place circa 1895.

Traditional Samoan tattoo (tatau), pe'a (male tatau), malu (female tatau), demonstrate the strong ties many Samoans feel for their culture. Samoans have practiced the art of tattooing men and women for over 2,000 years. To this day, a man's tattoo extensively covers from mid-back, down the sides and flanks, to the knees. A woman's tattoo is not as extensive or heavy. The geometric patterns are based on ancient designs that often denote rank and status. The va'a (canoe), for example, stretches across a man's mid-back.

Samoan oral tradition generally recognizes that two Fijian women, Taema and Tilafaiga, introduced the practice of tattooing. Before the arrival of Christian missionaries, starting in 1830, all Samoan males got a traditional tattoo. Though the early missionaries did not succeed in outlawing the practice (which they considered as defacement of the body and heathenish), they eventually succeeded in refocusing the custom on the sons of chiefs.

In Samoa's cultural past most males were tattooed between the ages of 14–18, when it was determined they had stopped growing, so the designs would not stretch and suffer in beauty. Today, there has been a strong revival of traditional tattooing in the past generation, not only in Samoa but throughout Polynesia, often as a symbol of cultural identity.

Tatau, the Samoan word for tattoo has a number of meanings including correct or rightness. It also signifies the correct quadrangular figures in reference to the fact that Samoan tattoo designs do not include circular lines, although other Polynesian tattoo motifs do. Early Englishmen mispronounced the word tatau and borrowed it into popular usage as tattoo.

Traditional tattooing is a painful process. The Samoan tattoo master dips his cutting tools into black ink made from the soot of burnt candlenut shells and then punctures designs into the skin. The cutting tool consists of a short piece of bamboo or light wood with a piece of tortoiseshell bound at right angles at one end. A little bone comb is bound to the lower broad end of the tortoiseshell. The larger the comb, the greater the area on the skin is covered with fewer strokes. The master uses a small mallet to repeatedly tap a short-handled instrument. The process takes days and is sometimes partially accomplished over longer periods, with recuperation in between.

Tattoo designs have changed to include freehand symbols such as the kava bowl representing hospitality; the characterization of the Samoan house or fale signifying kinship; emblems of nature — shells, fish, birds, waves, centipedes; and the traditional geometric lines and angles of different lengths and sizes.[21]


Modern pop and rock have a large audience in Samoa, as do several native bands; these bands have abandoned most elements of Samoan traditional music, though there are folky performers. Recently, the population has seen a resurgence of old Samoan songs, remixed in the style of Hawaiian reggae but with some traditional elements, such as the use of the pate and old chord structure.

Initially in Samoan music,

"there were just two instruments in use; the pate, a hollowed out log drum that comes in various sizes, and the fala, a rolled up mat beaten with sticks. In addition to this was the human voice. This limited range of instrumentation had no effect on the importance of music in Samoan life. Because there was no written language many stories and legends were propagated through song and the complex rhythms from the pate are essential in the performance of many Samoan dances. In fact in many dances, the dancers themselves add to the rhythm by clapping their hands, and dependent upon the way in which the hand is held produce a range of different sounds. Two instruments were developed that are now synonymous with Samoan music, the selo and the ukulele. The selo is a stringed instrument made from a broomstick, or similar object, attached to a large box, bucket or other object that acts as a sounding board. A single length of string joins the top of the stick to the box, which is plucked to produce a sound similar to that of a bass. The ukele is a small guitar-like instrument but with only four strings. It can be found in two forms, one which is like a miniaturised guitar, the other where the body is made from half a coconut shell."[22]

Western string instruments such as guitars are widely available across the Pacific Islands, with many bands performing and recording acoustic and amplified music in Samoa since the 1970s. Younger generations continue to perform in string bands as well as gravitate toward genres such as rap, R&B, gospel and soul.

The nearly three decades of Samoan involvement in street dance and rap music in the United States has significantly impacted cultural production in places where Samoans settled, particularly New Zealand.[23] Nesian Mystik, a New Zealand hip-hop outfit with several Polynesian members, features Samoan-Chinese member Sabre Strickson-Pua. Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E., featuring several Samoan brothers from Carson, California, have been working with music since 1988. Boo-Yaa came into the hip-hop game at the same time as Ice Cube, and they often resemble the West Coast hip-hop style.[24]

Christian music

Samoa police brass band.jpg

As with many South Pacific peoples, Samoans are heavily religious. Over 90% of all Samoans in Samoa and American Samoa are Christian with over 90% of that population attending church weekly. Similarly high numbers are seen across the Samoan diaspora. Samoan choral music is vital in every religion practiced by Samoans and a number of prominent composers are well known among Samoans whether composing simple hymns or a classical "Salamo" (Psalms), a multi-movement choral piece. The most notable of these are from the Ekalesia Faapotopotoga Iesu i Samoa (EFIS or CCJS, the Congregational Church of Jesus in Samoa), the Ekalesia Faapotopotoga Kerisiano i Samoa (EFKS or CCCS, the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa), the Ekalesia Faapotopotoga Kerisiano i Amerika Samoa (EFKAS or CCCAS, the Congregational Christian Church of Am. Samoa), and the Ekalesia Metotisi i Samoa (Methodist Church in Samoa).

The two pioneers and prolific composers of church music were HC Mata'utia Pene Solomona (EFIS, Apia)and his nephew Elder Dr. Ioselani Pouesi (EFIS, Apia; EFKS, Fasitoouta). They began writing music for EFIS in 1941 and for the first EFIS hymnal Pese ma Viiga i le Atua (220 hymns, published 1953) and also composed music for the EFKS, EFKAS, Catholic, and Methodist churches. Prof. Ueta Solomona (Mata'utia Pene Solomona's son) retired from the University of the South Pacific in 2008 and was one of the music committee members who composed music for the EFKS hymnal. Namulauulu Dr. Paul Pouesi (Elder Ioselani Pouesi's son) is currently serving EFKAS in Vatia and EFIS in Pago Pago as Minister of Music. He published his second hymn book Ole Pese Fou i le Alii (445 hymns and psalms, pub. 2005) dedicated to the EFKAS 25th anniversary. Flo Wendt continues to write and record music for EFIS choir in Fagatogo. Dr. Polo Manuma and his father Viavia Manuma wrote music for their EFIS choir in Pago Pago.

The music of all the above composers is published in the EFIS hymnal Pese ma Viiga i le Atua 2nd edition (361 hymns and psalms, pub. 1994, music compiled by Namulauulu Paul Pouesi). Samoan gospel music is a newer subgenre in the genre of "Pese Lotu" (Samoan Church music). Heavily influenced by African-American gospel it is most heard in the Samoan Assemblies of God churches (Ekalesia Faapotopotoga a le Atua i Samoa) although the style is very popular amongst youth groups (Autalavou) in religions amongst Samoan people known for its often upbeat and Black gospel influence.

Although originally most pieces were written for choir and piano or organ, electronic keyboards and synthesizers are very popular. Brass and orchestral accompaniment though less common in early church music are often specified by composers today.

Typically though, Samoan Christian music is most commonly heard in the daily worship held by Samoan families around the world. In the Samoas this time is sacred as most villages and towns ban traffic in the streets during evening family worship ("Lotu"). Families raise their voices in song without accompaniment which can heard all throughout the village. Whether out of love for God or out of unbreakable tradition, families sing the hymns of old or newer songs of praise.

There are also various types of Samoan instruments


Traditionally, Samoans have incorporated dance in their customs. The original Samoan dance form is known to be one of the few areas of their culture which has not been heavily influenced by American tradition.

The fire dance or Siva Afi is a big part of the Samoan culture. The slap dance, performed by males, consists of fierce slapping of the body in rhythmic motion to drum beats; it is called faataupati.[25] Other Samoan dances include the maulu'ulu which is an all-female dance and is more elegant. The taualuga is a dance for the chief's son or daughter. When a girl does taualuga she is called a taupou. When a boy does a tauluga he is called a manaia.


Several Samoan athletes have won medals at the Summer Olympic Games representing Samoa, United States and New Zealand. They include Greg Louganis(United States) who won four gold medals and one silver for Diving in consecutive Games from 1976 to 1988.[26] Louganis also took five gold medals at the FINA World Aquatics Championships. Other Olympic champions are Robin Leamy (swimmer) a 1984 gold medalist with the United States men's 4×100-meter freestyle relay team,[27][28] Eric Fonoimoana an American gold medalist for Beach Volleyball[29] at the 2000 Summer Olympics and Tumua Anae[30] who won gold with the United States women's Water polo squad at the 2012 Summer Olympics.[31] David Tua representing New Zealand secured a bronze medal for boxing[32] in the heavyweight division at the 1992 Summer Olympics. Tua had previously won a bronze medal at 1991 World Amateur Boxing Championships. Ele Opeloge created history for Samoa by earning the nation's first ever Olympic medal, a silver in the Women's +75 kg Weightlifting class at the 2008 Summer Olympics.[33] Niall Williams was part of the New Zealand Black Ferns sevens team which won silver for Women's rugby sevens at the 2016 Summer Olympics.[34] Sami Hill won a gold medal with the United States women's Water polo squad at the 2016 Summer Olympics.[35]

Maselino Masoe became the first Samoan professional boxer to win a major world title, defeating Kenyan born Evans Ashira on May 1, 2004 for the regular WBA world middleweight crown via second round Technical Knockout.[36]

Lupesoliai La’auli Joseph Parker became the first Samoan professional boxer boxer to win a major world heavyweight title, taking the WBO heavyweight crown in defeating Mexican-American Andy Ruiz on December 10, 2016.[37]

Samoan Australian Jai Opetaia won the Light heavyweight gold medal at the 2011 AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships[38] held in Astana, Kazakhstan. With his historic victory, Opetaia became the first Pacific Islander and Australian amateur boxer to win a world championship.

In Professional bodybuilding, Australian based Samoan Sonny Schmidt became the first Pacific Islander to win a Mr. Olympia event when he was crowned the 1995 Masters Olympia winner for contestants over 40 years of age.[39][40]

Samoan New Zealander Beatrice Faumuina won the gold medal for Discus at the 1997 World Championships in Athletics.[41] She would compete at four Olympic Games from 1996 to 2008, her highest placing - 6th in 2004.

Lisa Misipeka won a bronze medal at the 1999 IAAF World Championships in Athletics for the Women's hammer throw. Her third placing giving American Samoa its first ever medal at a world athletics championship event.[42]

On 8 December 2001, tournament underdog Mark Hunt made history when he became the first and only non-European kickboxer to win the coveted K-1 World Grand Prix title in Tokyo, Japan by defeating Frenchman Jérôme Le Banner, German Stefan Leko and Brazilian Francisco Filho in a single night.[43] The following year Hunt would advance to the semi-final round of the Finals before losing a decision to Le Banner.

In the world of Sumo, Fiamalu Penitani aka Musashimaru Kōyō was only the second non-Japanese ever to achieve the highest honour in the sport, earning the rank of yokozuna in 1999. Musashimaru is only one of six foreigners to achieve the rank of yokozuna during the sport's long history. He retired in 2003. Popular Saleva'a Fuauli Atisanoe nicknamed The Dump Truck reached the rank of ōzeki-the second highest rank in the sport-in 1987.[44]

In Rugby union, Samoan New Zealander Tana Umaga became the first Samoan to captain the world number one New Zealand All Blacks for the 2004 and 2005 test seasons. The New Zealand All Blacks have won three Rugby World Cup tournaments in 1987, 2011 and 2015. Samoan players featured for each of those winning sides-Michael Jones (rugby union) and Joe Stanley in 1987, eight players (Keven Mealamu, Mils Muliaina, Ma'a Nonu, Jerome Kaino, Victor Vito, John Afoa, Isaia Toeava and Sonny Bill Williams) in 2011 and also eight (Keven Mealamu, Jerome Kaino, Ma'a Nonu, Charlie Faumuina, Victor Vito, Sonny Bill Williams, Liam Messam and Julian Savea) in 2015. Following their World Cup winning efforts, the New Zealand All Blacks were named Team of the Year at the 2016 Laureus World Sports Awards.[45]

In the abbreviated version of the code Rugby union sevens the Manu Samoa sevens team won the 2009–10 IRB Sevens World Series,[46] taking four of the eight tournament legs. Winger Mikaele Pesamino was the tournament's top tryscorer and was awarded the 2010 IRB World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year.[47] Teammate Uale Mai had previously won this award in 2006.[48] Other Samoans who have won this award are Orene Ai'i(2005), Afeleke Pelenise(2007) and DJ Forbes(2008), all three representing New Zealand.

In Rugby league, players of Samoan descent are well represented in the code's best club competition the NRL. At the end of the 2013 season, Sonny Bill Williams was voted the RLIF International Player of the Year, one of the most prestigious individual honours in the game. At international test level, Samoan representatives have been in World Cup winning sides, Josh Papalii with the 2013 Australian Kangaroos. At the 2008 Rugby League World Cup the winning New Zealand Kiwi squad featured eight Samoan players-David Fa'alogo, Steve Matai, Thomas Leuluai, Krisnan Inu, Jerome Ropati, Evarn Tuimavave, Jeremy Smith and Setaimata Sa. Iosia Soliola and Jeff Lima were both named in the final squad but withdrew due to injury.

Despite its small population, the islands of American Samoa produces a disproportionately large number of American football players.[49] Al Lolotai was the first Samoan to play in the National Football League. Junior Seau was the first Samoan to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Marcus Mariota is the first Heisman Trophy winner of Samoan descent. Troy Polamalu won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2010. Ken Niumatalolo is the first Samoan head coach in college football history.

There has been a vast number of Samoans in the wrestling industry, such as The Rock, Peter Maivia, Roman Reigns, Samoa Joe, The Usos, Nia Jax, Tamina Snuka, Dakota Kai, Vanessa Borne, Rikishi, Yokozuna, Umaga, The Wild Samoans, Manu, L.A. Smooth, Samu, Deuce, Sean Maluta, Mountain Fiji and Cocoa Samoa.

Mixed martial artists of Samoan ancestry who have fought in the UFC are Mark Hunt, Max Holloway, Kendall Grove, Andre Fili, Robert Whittaker, Tyson Pedro, Falaniko Vitale and Kailin Curran. Both Whittaker and Grove are previous tournament winners of The Ultimate Fighter in the middleweight and welterweight divisions respectively. Max Holloway is the first fighter of Samoan descent to win a UFC world title.[50] Mark Hunt the 2001 K-1 World Grand Prix kickboxing Champion has challenged for both the UFC and Pride FC heavyweight titles. On September 24, 2016 Mighty Mo won the Road FC Openweight Tournament at Road FC 33 by knocking out Choi Hong-man of South Korea in the final.[51]

Coming of Age in Samoa by Margaret Mead

Margaret Mead, an American anthropologist, is famous for her ethnography turned novel titled Coming of Age in Samoa. This ethnography has information on problems adolescents in Samoa face, and the approaches to understanding these problems..[52] Mead wrote, "A Samoan village is made up of some thirty to forty households, each of which is presided over by a head man called a matai".[53] Regarding Samoan social structures and rules, Mead wrote, "Until a child is six or seven at least she associates very little with her contemporaries."[54] "The women," she observed, "are completely dependent upon their husbands for their status in this village group".[55] Regarding attitudes toward female sexuality, Mead wrote, "Where parents of lower rank complacently ignore their daughters' experiments, the high chief guards his daughter's virginity as he guards the honor of his name".[56]

See also


  1. ^ "Census AmericanFactfinder". United States Census. Retrieved 2012-04-04. 
  2. ^ "Samoans: Facts and Figures". Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. 
  3. ^ "20680-Country of Birth of Person (full classification list) by Sex - Australia" (Microsoft Excel download). 2006 Census. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 2008-06-02.  Total count of persons: 19,855,288.
  4. ^ International Religious Freedom Report 2007: Samoa. United States Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (September 14, 2007). This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  5. ^ Population of Samoa + their flag and capital city. Population-of.com (2006-12-14). Retrieved on 2011-08-22.
  6. ^ "Honolulu Mayor honors National Samoan Language Week". Samoa News. 2012-06-05. Retrieved 2012-06-07. 
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