Fa’a Samoa II

From: “mele mauala” mmauala@hotmail.com
To: recipient list surpressed
Subject: Fa’a Samoa II
Date: Mon, 12 Nov 2001 21:18:30
Talofa Everybody!
I am fresh from the Tatau convention and have made so much progress with
my research that I may come home early (just kidding, I haven’t tried all
the beaches yet!).
The village it was held in was called Saleapanga and it
has the whitest sand I have ever seen! The weather was gorgeous and
looking onto the horizon all you could see were bands of blue as the ocean
met the sky. I’m sure Rothko would have been pleased if he’d visited
The hotel I stayed in was all traditional Fales (samoan houses) and
they have no walls. Imagine a thatched bowler hat shaped roof with
tree trunks holding it up and you’re imagining my home for the last few
days. My uncle didn’t want me to stay by myself so I had two babysitters
(both younger than me!).
On one side of my Fale my neighbors were
Policemen brought for the Convention. My first night I hung out with them
and played Suipi (a Samoan card game). I went to bed with my Fale open (no
blinds down).
During the evening a storm arose and nearly blew me out of
the Fale! My cousin was happily snoring away and I don’t think she would
have noticed if the Fale burnt down over her! At any rate, I put all the
Pola (blinds down) and saved us both from getting soaking wet! The next
night my other neighbors stopped by for a long chat. I found out that they
were all ex-convicts from the states who had come home to Samoa to open up
a Tattoo shop. Very nice and polite guys, and except for their references
to being in jail, I would never have guessed that they had all been gang
At any rate I felt safer with them because I found out that one
of the policemen liked me. In Samoa, when someone is interested in you,
they get an intermediary (in my case my cousin) to tell you that they want
“To Talk to You”. Fortunately I was aware of this custom and did not make
any booboos. I told her to tell him I was busy and he left me alone. Who
knew I had to come to Samoa to be protected by gangsters from the Police!
The convention was absolutely fabulous. I met all the important Tufunga, especially Petelo Suluape, who is probably the best alive today in Samoa
and a whole bunch of non-Samoans who have been given the title of Tufunga
so that they can do traditional Tatau in their countries (U.S., Tahiti,
Hawaii, Canary Islands, and Australia), this has added a whole knew spin to
my research as I can focus on the Samoan Diaspora and how these non-Samoan
tatooist will contribute to traditional iconography! Sorry to bore those
of you who are not Art historians!
At any rate, I may get a Malu, a
traditional female tatoo. It covers your entire thighs to below the knee.
Considering the size of my thighs, it will be a major undertaking! But I
told myself it will not be until I can speak Samoan fluently, so that may
be a while.
My cousin is desperate to get one but my uncle is a strict
Pastor and won’t let her. If I get one, I have to have a partner, so she
has volunteered herself (needless to say she is practically force feeding
me Samoan so I will learn faster!). I’m still working on her dad…
As for my family, Samoans are pretty darn funny and my cousin who wants
the Malu (her name is Oiko) is just like me in personality! If she ever
visits NY, it will never be the same with both of us there!
I miss you all
very much, and for all of you in NY I want you to be safe and sound and
think of me when the snow begins to fall, just picture me dancing on the
beach ’cause that’s more likely what I’ll be doing! Hope to send photos soon!
Much love,

30 comments on “Fa’a Samoa II
  1. Robert says:

    you mentioned attending a Tatau convention in Samoa? i’ve been looking all over the internet for some info on the different patterns and dsigns on the male tatoo “Pea” and what they mean. i’m in north carolina and there’s this samoan guy that has the “Pea” but he doesn’t know what each pattern and design mean. He got the tatoo because his brother-in-law need a partner.
    do you know the different patterns (what they are called) and the designs (what they mean) for the “Pea?” your help is greatly appreciated.

  2. John says:

    what to know if you have any info on the different patterns and designs of the male tatoo “Pea?” what do the patterns and designs called and their meaning? thanx!

  3. Lasi says:

    Malo le soifua ma le Lagi e mama!
    Hey Mele, John and Robert. Well the only thing that I know about the “PEA” is the design on the NAVAL or the “PUKE” stands for from what my uncle says…… U live for the family and will die for the family. But of course he was drunk at the time, but he has only the PUKE done. And some of the designs represent brids ^^ or Mountains ^^ th eones that look like that, others represent SPEARS or something of that nature <><><><><>, the ones that look like that and the SPEARS going up from his back to his rib-cage. Then again I’m just guess about the rib-cage one. I hope that helps u guys in some way!
    And hey Mele……. did u get ur MALU yet? I’ve always wanted one. Tell me how it’s going. People say it would look nice aginst my skin since I’m so fair (WHITE actually. Tell me ur thoughts on it, and if u went through it how did it go and how long did it take?

  4. Jo Patrick says:

    I’d like to know more about the Samoan card game Suipi. I’ve been taught the game by some Samoan teachers here in NZ that I’ve been working with, and would like to know when it originated in Samoa, how it is taught, and particularly how it is played by children -at what age are they usually taught it, etc. If anyone could help I’d be most grateful.
    Jo Patrick

  5. Levalasi says:

    Hello, I was wondering the same thing as Robert and John, except I am a female and really want to get a tattoo to represent my culture. And hey LASI nice name!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. lafaele says:

    Hello to all you people I have just bumped into, while checking out info about tatao. Very interresting the comment I have read on this page. I will take good note of some of your descriptions.
    My samoan name is Lafaele and I live in Paris (France) far away from the Pacific…
    I was in Samoa for a couple of months in September 1996 and saw the 7th Pacific festival of arts in Western Samoa. I was living in Apia with a great family that I always remember with lots of love. Connected to this family was Petelo Saluope, and I had an arm band tatoo done by him and it makes me think of Samoa every day. The problem is I have no contact with them anymore. If someone here could put me in contact with somebody I would be real greatfull. If someone could help me find Petelo’s email adress so that I could write to him, it would be fabulous.
    or just answer me back to be in email contact with samoa.
    thaks alot for all.
    take care

  7. RUTH TUIA-NAUTU says:

    hey people. this is so nice to hear my people all over the world. There is a lot to answer about this Samoan Tattoo or Tatau as we call it. There is a lot of meaning to the tattoo and for someone to wear it and not know what the hell is on his freaken body is so sad, but then hey it does look cool huh? Dude sad story. Study up on it cause you never know who might ask you questions. Take Robert for instance,but homey got no answer for him. Oops. Anyhow, Robert fr. North Carolina if you are still interested in the art of tattoo write me and we will chat about this.

  8. Semu Filipo says:

    hey there
    just need help with a research project on tatau and i was wondering if anyone has Petelo Suluape’s email address.
    If anyone can help, give us an email.
    Semu Filipo

  9. Shawn Garrison says:

    Hello to Ana Ulberg
    Remember me?
    1996 Pacific Festival of ther Arts

  10. Mike says:

    Petelo is hard 2 track down!
    He is often in Hawaii these days,his contact in Hawaii is a guy called “Tagaloa” , check this site out, if you can’t contact him via that, email me for further details!

  11. frank"smiley"keuma says:

    talofa mele!
    i’m hoping that you are the one i was talking to at the festival in mission bay this past sunday.me and my aiga’s was sitting next to you and your husband to be was share stories of my aiga’s and the pe’a. i’m very interesting to make the tattoo but is mixup because of my cultures.
    my mom; maliatoa’mai’tape’a fonoimoana would share geneology stories of my great-grandfather;opapu,who was one of the first settlers in hawaii back in 1921, came with his companion’s as missionary’s (lds),they came from samoa.my great-grandfather was from the village of vitogi,am. samoa and i was told later that opapu’s brother was “tuplehake” of tonga.
    my mom tell me the story of the “laume”; the shark and the turtle. how only the people of that village bloodline can sing the song “laume”for the shark and turtle to swim side by side.
    my grandmother;”line”,comes from the village of falelima of western samoa.
    now that’s just my samoa/tonga past.in hawaii my dad is from the island of kauai in the valley of hule’ia which has strong ties to “king tamehameha the first” if you notice i did spell his name with a “t” and not a “k”..just a belief!
    with a little bit of my past geneology, i hope you can see my confucious for the design/tattoo i looking for.
    as what was said in the earlier comments,i no like just one picture on my body, i like somthing that means,family”aiga”,culture and means that sopport my geneology.

  12. shevon matai says:

    Talofa lava!
    I’ve been a Samoan dance instructor for years. I also choreographed Samoan numbers for the group called “Taupou Manaia Dance Production.” Now, I’m making the traditional Samoan Tuiga headpiece. The one you tie on the head. I’m interested in learning more about the origin of this headpiece. Please help me revive one of Samoa’s royal custom.

  13. Tlovekolea says:

    Ia e moni uma mea laia o outou saunoa ai , e leai lava se isi e sese se manatu , ae pau lava lo’u iloa i nei mea o tuiga , ia e tu’u i luga o lou ulu , pau lava na o le malamalama o lo’u iloa ua oo iai, ona e tele lava a’u i le alu e fai le umu , ma vele le ma’umaga e fafaga ai le aiga ..ia manuia lava le aso ma nisi manatu ua folasia ifo i luga nei……..ia tofa soifua

  14. aaron manutai says:

    i would like to know how, and where to get a pattern of a samoan arm band. i am a student at the university of Montana Western, in Dillon Montana and i am one of many polynisians looking to get a arm band pattern. please send me one if possible.
    thank you

  15. Rima Mitchell says:

    hello and talofa to all my family in Samoa. I am writing to see if I can get in touch with my family in Samoa whom I haven’t met yet. At the moment I am doing my family geneology and my line is the Mataafa family. I am very much interested in getting to know my Samoan side of the family. I am from Rarotonga, Cook Islands. If any of my family from Samoa reads this message could they please e-mail me, I am so looking forward to meeting up with them. My e-mail address is rimamitchell@hotmail.com

  16. Jade Puloka says:

    Hi and talofa lava
    I am doing a research on my family genealogy and would like to find out more information about my Samoan side. My great great grandfather is originally from Samoa. His name was Mafi Tanumafili and he was actually taken to Tonga by either King Tupou the 1st or one of the higher kings before him. Mafi Tanumafili lived in a village called Faleloa and some people said that the name of this village is originally from Samoa. On this side of the family, many of the names of some of my great grandfathers are Samoan names. Two of the names are Fisimanu and Ioane. I wondered if these names sound familiar in Samoan? If anyone knows any information at all about my family genealogy, please email me on juliannboogers@hotmail.com

  17. Puleitaua says:

    Hi Nice to know that there are other fellow samoans out there. Hi My name is Pule and I am doing the family genealogy and just wanted some help so if anybody knows anyone ore something about my family please help me. My dad is from Sasina, his name is Tu’ulema’aga vagana simei, His dad is Neemia and mum is Fa’avae. My mum is from Solosolo her dad is leotalaualii Mu and her mum is Mafoe Fai. this is all I know and I will like to go back as far as i can. so please if anyone can help me i would be greatful.