Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

An Account of Samoan History up to 1918

A Brief History of Faleapuna District. — (As related by Fonoti. F.P.)

page break

A Brief History of Faleapuna District.
(As related by Fonoti. F.P.)

I will relate the history of Faleapuna District without reference to time as the dates of the various happenings are not known. The Alplenent stories too as related by the Samoans often vary because they have been handed down by word of mouth and consequently suffer as the yearn pass on. However, many of the accounts, with slight variations, agree in the essential featuren.

In the early days of the District there were a few high chiefs who controlled the people such as Taito, Maeataanoa, Maimata aridTialavea.

The title Maimata has for many years been without a holder.

Generations ago there was a high chief of Manono named Tolufale and he took for his wife a chieftainness of the village of Apai in Manono. They had two sons named Puga and Manawa and a daughter named Ulaalemamae. When the father fell ill he was cared for by other members of the family whose names are not known. These other members were more of Tolufale's children. (Try and find out names.) They were born of different mothers. At this time the two sons had journeyed to the Atua District in search of food. They went to Atua because their true sister who had married Leutele-le-iite was living there. Puga and Manava returned with a supply of food but to their anger and disappointment they discovered that during their absence their father had distributed the titles and other privileges that he had to other of his children and left them with nothing. They left their family seat in disgust and returned to their sister in Atua. She was living at Faleapuna. Note: The Leutele-le-iite mentioned above was king of Atua (Tuiatua) at the time the first canoe with the King of Tonga arrived in Samoa. The King of Tonga was searching for his brother who had run away from Tonga to escape the vengeance of the King for having committed adultery with his wife. It was in this manner that the discovery of Samoa by the Tongans came about and the King of Tonga was so impressed by the Islands that on his return to Tonga he planned an invasion of Samoa. E.R.) Puga and Manava were held in high esteem by the people of Faleapuna because of their being the sons of a high chief and the brothers of the wife of their King Leutele-le-iite.

page 2

(Try and ascertain the issues of Ulaalemamae and Leutele.)

After a lengthy residence in Faleapuna, Manava returned for a. short time and then went to the western side of Savai'i known as Itu Fogalele or Itu Salega where he finally settled. (What were his issues.)

Puga remained at Faleapuna where he continued to be highly respected by the people. He endeavoured to gain the good graces of Fonoti and Taua'a and in this he was successful and he finally became the leading orator in the District which entitled him to take an active part in the politics of Lufilufi which is the political centre of Atua. (What is the origin of the title Taua'a and how did Taua'a and Fonot come to be living at Faleapuna and be the political chiefs of the place?)

Fonoti and Taua'a were also reckoned amongst the chiefs who came under the special protection of Lufilufi as a result of their connection with Lalogafuafua. (Leifi at the first political meeting held at Lufilufi spoke from under a Fuafua tree and the assembly therefore called the “Malae” “Lalogafuafua” which means under the Fuafua tree.).

Puga changed his name and called himslef by the title Molio'o which has passed down to the present time. Fonoti and Taua'a are called his “Gafa” (connection) with Lufilufi. The complimentary title of the District is offered in this manner:-


Afifio mai le Gafa, Fonoti ma Taua'a.) At the present time the titles Taito, Maeataanoa and Tialavea who were the first titles in Falea-punaare are included in the Faalupega.)


Tulouna a lau Tofa Molio'o ma lo outou aiga Sa Molio'o.


Tulouna a oe le Ailaoa ma le fofoga o Malepeai.

(Ailaoa includes all the Tuaafale (orators) but Malepeai was honoured for his good work for the Districy. (What did he do?) (Why is Molio'o called the “Pule” of Faleapuna? E pule Molio'o ia page 3 Faleapuna.) Molio'o is also greeted as the “To'o o le Fua” - a pole with which to propel the war fleet of Fagaloa.)

Concerning the District of Vaa-o-fonoti.

One of the early kings of Samoa was Faumuina. He had three children, two sons and one daughter. The sons were named Fonoti and Vaafusuaga and the daughter was named Samalaulu. They are commonly known in the traditions of Samoa as “The Three of Faumuina.” Each child was by a different mother so that after the death of their father they individually contended for the Kingship. (Who were the mothers.)

Vaafusuaga had a son named Toleafoa and he was loved by his sister Samalaulu and his son. The sister joined with them to opnose the claim of her other brother Fonoti to the Kingship. When Fonoti found that his brother and sister had gained many followers he went to Leulumoega where the dispute was being fought and sought the assistance of the High Chiifs and leading orators of other districts. He was successful and managed to gain many fighters. He then waged war against his kin and was successful and was ultimately proclaimed King. In our traditions this war is known as the war between Samalaulu and Fonoti. (Note: why was Samalaulu chosen by Leulumoega raiher than Fonoti the eldest or his brother Vaafusuaga?) King Fonoti conferred many honours upon those chiefs and Districts that had fought for him and such honours and privileges are honoured by the Tumua and Pule down to the present time. (In this war Samalaulu was chosen by Leulumoega as their candidate forPuleship of Samoa.)

Itu Malo o le Vaa-o-fonoti with a district of its own was one of the rewards conferred upon Faleapuna, Safanua and Fagaloa, for the part they had played in the dispute and for contending with Manono, Sapapali'i and Saleaaumua in the fighting that took part on the sea. Fonoti also conferred honours on Tofaeono, Aiono, Misa and the privilege of receiving food on Faleata. There were also conferred many other rewards too numerous to mention. (Note: these should be obtain page 4 ed as well as the whole history of King Fonoti with a complete list of the rewards handed out.)

Stories respecting Faleapuna, Safanua and Fagaloa.

Li'u and Moemalo were the leading orators of Safanua and Molio'o was the chief orator of Faleapuna. Talamaivao was the chief orator of Fagaloa and he was also a high chief with the title Ulualofaiga.

The town of Safanua was formerly situated on the sandy strip of land where the village of Lufilufi now is. Lufilufi was a little further inland at the back of Safanua about where the main road now passes. The people of Safanua with their orators Li'u and Moemalo were able to directly communicate with the people of Faleapuna. Their decisions in matters of import were then transmitted to Talamaivao of Fagaloa by their orators. In dealing with food assigned to Vaa-o-fonoti it was the former custom that Faleapuna and Safanua had the right to divide the food equally between them but later on it became customary for Fagaloa to receive a portion of the share of Safanua. After the lapse of some hundreds of years the population of Safanua and Faleapuna grew less but Fagaloa increased and became more powerful and ultimately Safanua became of no consequence and. the few who were left in this village joined up with the people of Lufilufi and from this time the village of Safanua passed out of existence. This left only Faleapuna and Fagaloa and the latter assuned the rights and privileges that were held by Safanua. The action by Fagalca has been the cause of the contention between the two places. Faleapuna holds that Faleapuns and Fagaloa should be under the control of Molio'o. Fagaloa claimed, owing to the weakness of Faleapuna, that both Molio'o and Talamaivao should jointly discuss all matters effecting the district. Some years ago the people of Fagaloa attempted to supplant the authority of Molio'o and deprive him of the right to hold political speeches but they failed to bring this about despite the weaked state of Faleapuna.

E.R. 20th May, 1932.
page break

A Story concerning Fagaloa District.

Tuitoga, King of Tonga, took Sinavaituu to wife(His wife was the daughter of Tuifiti and Sinasamoa.) They begot Tuitoga-Faisautele. Faisautele married Painuulasi and begot Ulualofaiga and a girl named Vaetoifaga.

Utufanu-nutunutu who was an adherent of the High Chief Tamalelagi went to Tonga and induced Vaetoifaga to come to Samoa. He told her that Samoa, her mother's home, was a very beautiful country and different to anything that she had seen. He told her of the wonderful Vai-mata-iva (water pool with nine eyes.) and of the magnetic stone which rises in the water and scrubs the dirt off ones back when bathing. He also told her of the wonderful trees that stood on the banks of this pool and moved as if dancing. Vaitoifaga was captivated by these false stories and came to Samoe. The real reason for bringing her to Samoa was to marry her to Tuiaana-Tamalelagi. When she discovered her position she said she would not agree to marry Tuiaana without the consent of her brother Ulualofaiga who was in Tonga. When Tuiaana was convinced that she was determined to adhere to her decision he offered to give to her brother the villages of Vaialua and Nofoalii and down as far as Matatao if she would consent to be his wife. She agreed to these terms and was married. She gave birth to Salamasina who was proclaimed queen of Aana after her father's death. Ulualofaiga came to Samoa in search of his sister and brought with him one hundred war canoes manned by the slaves of his father Tuitogafaisautele. He arrived at Afagaloa in Savai'i and this town was the home of Sinaletinae. He learned that his sister had become the wife of Tamalelagi and he sailed to Aana to find her. His sister went out into the lagoon at Aana to welcome him and to hand over to him the villages that had been given to him by Tuiaana. She begged him not to start fighting on her behalf as she was about to become a mother. He agreed and landed with his men and took possession of the villages. The reunion of Ulualofaiga and Vaetoifaga was referred to as “Sootaga mai” which means reconoilliation as the result of pregnancy. After remaining in Aana for some time page 2 Ulualofaiga proceeded to Fagaloa the home of his ancestors. On his way there he had many fights with opposing districts and he always fought from the Uataiala which means the sea side of the road. He was always successful. These victories gave rise to the “faalupega” which is used in all districts “Tulouna a le gatai ala” meaning “compliments to the party on the seaward side of the road.

Ulualofaiga finally reached Fagaloa and there he established a kingdom of his own and he ruled over all the people of Fagaloa. It was of him that Fonoti sought assistance (which was granted) when he was defeated by Samalaulu for the Kingship of Samoa. He finally defeated Samaluulu and was made King of Samoa under the title Fonoti. In return for the services rendered, Fonoti granted Ulualofaiga complete power over Fagaloa District and in addition he gave Ulualofaiga the village of Amanave in Tutuila. This village is controlled in this manner right down to the present day and the authority as recognised by the American Government. The title Vaa-o-fonoti was also given to Ulualofaiga by Fonoti as a name for his war canoe and this title distinguishes the District down to the present day.

E.R. 24th March 1932.
As written by Fonoti, the present Faipule of Vaa-o-Fonoti District
page break

The Tongans in Samoa.

In ancient times the Samoans had a ruler over each District and although he was called a King he was not in control of the whole of the Islands. It was during this time that the Tongans came to and gained the mastery of Samoa. Their leader was the King of Tonga who was named Talaaifeii Tuitoga. He came with a strong force and settled at Safotu in Savai'i. He sent instructions throughout Samoa that the Samoans must build him a stone road round a cape named Matauea on the eastern side of Safotu. The Samoans obeyed the instruction and during the making of the road the builders cane across a huge boulder which hindered the work. Talaaifeii had noted the energy of two brothers named Tuna and Fata and he conmanded them to remove the stone or forfeit their lives. They undertook to remove the stone although it seemed to be an impossible task. They first of all visited their family in Upolu and returned to Savai'i with a nephew named Ulumasui who would assist them in the task. Ulumasiu lived in Falelatai and he landed at Matautu with his uncles when he accompanied them to Savai'i. From Matautu they walked to Safotu and on the way Ulumasui went to a swamp at the back of Manase and caught two eels which he placed with some mud under the stone blocking the road. He then went to the reef and caught an octopus and placee this also under the stone together with some salt water. The eels and the octopus burrowed under the stone and ultimately overturned it. Ulumasui and Fata and Tuna then rolled the stone out of the way to a spot indicated by the Tongan King. This stone may still be seen today.

The two brothers and Ulumasui now returned to their homes in Upolu. Shortly after this the King of Tonga paid a visit to Upolu with his followers. They landed at Sagafili, Aana District, a and left their boat anchored. When Fata and Tuna noticed the anchored and empty boat they swam out and took away the pole by which it was anchored. This pole was made of the wood of the Toa tree and Fata and Tuna made two fighting clubs out of it when they returned to their hom-es at Falelatai. The place where the boys carved these clubs is still known as Asotof. When the clubs were finished the boys journed further along the coast testing the clubs. The spot where they tested them was and is still called Aso Alaala (testing day.) When the boys page break returned to their home and hung up their clubs the people crowded round to look at the weapons. Fata and Tuna told them to sit down if they desired to view the clubs and the place was from then known as Matanofo which means “to sit down and look at.”

The idea behind the actions of Tuna and Fata was the winning back for Samoa the control of their own country. When they heard that the Tongan King was proceeding round Samoa towards the east they followed and overtook him at Aleipata. When they arrived they buried their clubs on the Malae (open village space.) and together with their nephew Ulumasui and another chief named Tapuloa they made arrangements for an attack on the Tongan King on the morrow. It was decided to give dances ostensibly as a welcome to the King and at a signal during the dances the Samoans were to fall on the Tongans and slaughter them. Tuna and Tapuboa were to fight along the north coast of Upolu and Fata and Ulumasui along the south coast and they were to meet at Fatuosofia.

The following morning everything was done as arranged and during the dancing the dancers sang “Matamatame, Matamatame, lue le ulu, sae le vae, ia tele le ta ia Tonga e (meaning nod the head, lift a leg, strike a heavy blow agains the Tongans.) The Tongans were all watching the dancing when suddenly the Samoans recovered their clubs from the ground snd fell on them. After furious fighting the Tongans fled, some along the north coast and some around the south coast of Upolu. Tuna and Tapuloa who had been fighting along the north coast reached Fatuosofia first because Fatu and Ulumasui were stopped by the ghost at Faleseela and could not cross the mountain while the sun was in the west. If they had attempted to do so they would have been unable to get past the ghost “Lema” who was pule of the mountains and was very merciless. Fata and Ulumasui slept the night at Saefu, Faleseela as they were warned to do by the ghost. They started out to cross the mountains in the morning and as the sun was behind them when they reached the mountain tops, their shadows were thrown before them. The ghost Lema mistook the shadows of Fata and Ulmaasui for the substance and aimed a tremendous blow at the shadows. The club falling on the ground split the mountains in two. Whilst this was happening Ulumasui slipped round to the back of the ghost and page break cut his head off. He threw the head over to a place in Falelatai and the proof of these happenings are still visible at the present time. When Fata and Ulumasui reached Fatuosofia the Tongans were driven into the sea. Tui Toga or Talaaifeii stood on a rock opposite Fatuosofia and called out to the Samoans “Malietoa, Malietau” (well fought brave warriors.) He added that he would never again visit Samoa except as a visitor and this promise has been kept right down to the present day. The name of the rock on which the King of Tonga stood to give his parting message was named Tulatala and the words are still used by the Samoan orators. Shortly after this the brothers Tuna and Fata quarrelled as to who should be the holder of the title Malietoa which had been adopted as the title of the leader in Samoa. The dispute developed into a fight with clubs and ultimately both men fell exhausted. A third brother Savea came forward and standing with a foot on each of the fallen brothers prayed for their restoration to consciousness. This came to pass hence the Samoan saying Talolua Tuna ma Fata (a prayer for Tuna and Fata) and also the saying Saveatuvaelua (Savea stands on both feet) Savea thus was appointed to be the first Malietoa and was known as Malietoa Savea.

(The above is according to the story of Nu'u Fuli of Vailoa.)
E.R. 23-3-32.