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Samoan Material Culture

Stone Roads

Stone Roads

Though the paving of the old tracks and roads have received much attention from various foreign administrations, largely as an occupation for law breakers, many of the roads had been roughly paved before the advent of white influence. Some of the roads in Savaii and Upolu are said to have been made under Tongan rule; others have a mythical origin such as the road between Puapua and Le Alatele in Savaii. In a competition between two itu (Supernatural beings) the one from the Faasaleleanga district commenced at the Puapua end and owing to rough work and less care he moved more quickly. He got well past the midway mark before he met his rival who had been doing better work as regards quality. The result was that the bad worker opened up more territory for his descendants for the boundary was formed where they met and where the difference in the quality of the road can still be observed. Hence the saying applied to the Faasaleleanga people: "Faasaleleanga, mata e vave" (Faasaleleanga, the quick eyed).

The moral is to do things quickly, no matter how roughly, in order that you may win.

A very fine, high-built road extends between the two ends of the Fitiutan village and forms an important boundary between the inland and outer parts. Though built up and improved in modern times, its foundation was laid in olden days.

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The stones are naturally selected to form a flat surface but there is no attempt at cutting them to fit, though, of course, the natural stones are fitted as far as possible along the sides.