Tālofa Lava! Celebrate Samoa Language Week 2021!

Tālofa Lava! Samoa Language Week will be celebrated this year from Sunday, 30 May 2021 until Saturday, 5th June 2021. The event aims to raise awareness of the Samoan language, celebrate Samoan culture in New Zealand and around the world, and promote the use of Samoan language in schools, at work and at home. 



This year’s theme is “Poupou le lotoifale. Ola manuia le anofale” which means “Strengthen the posts of your house, for all to thrive”.

For more information on events and ideas on how to celebrate, visit the following websites:

Also you can visit your local library and borrow some amazing books on ways to:

Learn Samoan!

image courtesy of syndeticsLittle kiddy Sāmoan.

“This book packs in a lot of common words and phrases. It is a great resource for anybody wanting to learn Samoan.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsThe Samoan picture dictionary.

“Contains over 1000 commonly used words, and words needing further explanation are given in English and Samoan sentences to aid comprehension. Word lists include parts of the body, telling the time, colours, numbers, days of the week and months of the year” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsThe Samoan Picture Dictionary.

“The Samoan Picture Dictionary is an excellent resource for people beginning to speak or write Samoan. It contains over 1000 commonly used words, and words needing further explanation are given in English and Samoan sentences to aid comprehension. Wordlists include parts of the body, telling the time, colours, numbers, days of the week and months of the year.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsFirst readers in Samoan.

“These bilingual books are ideal for beginning learners of Samoan, with simple language and stories, and illustrations that support the text. Each book has a glossary that gives a clear English translation of the Samoan text. All of the books have been translated into Samoan by Ainslie Chu Ling So’o who is a language consultant specialist at the Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture in Samoa.” (Catalogue)

Search the catalogue here for other books to brush up your Samoan language skills.

You also read about Samoan heroes such as…

image courtesy of syndeticsSamoan heroes.

“A collection of inspirational stories of achievers who have Samoan ancestry. It includes: contemporary heroes like Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Troy Polamalu, Judge Ida Mālosi, Savage and Associate Professor Donna Adis; historical figures like Emma Coe, Tamasese, Salamāsina and Lauaki; legends like Sina, Tiʻitiʻi and Tigilau.” (Catalogue) Also available as an eBook. 

image courtesy of syndeticsFanene Peter Maivia : son of Samoa.
“Fanene Peter Maivia – Son of Samoa is the remarkable story of the first Polynesian to become a star of professional wrestling. Fanene’s life began in Samoa and he took Samoa to the world. He was a pioneer who inspired some of the greatest wrestlers the world has known, including his own grandson, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.” (Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Brush up on your geography and history with…


image courtesy of syndeticsSamoa.

“Did you know that the English word ‘tattoo’ is supposedly derived from the Samoan word ‘tatau’? Find out about the traditional methods still used by Samoans to apply the amazing tattoos worn by many of the islands’ people today. In this book you will discover that an ‘ie toga is a beautiful and intricate fine mat, woven by Samoan women and used as highly prized gifts, which are made and given to celebrate important occasions. You can also study the climate, population, social structure and political history of the thirteen islands that make up the beautiful countries of American Samoa and independent Samoa (formerly Western Samoa).” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsSamoa & Tuvalu.

This book contains information about the history, culture and people of Samoa and nearby Tuvalu. A great book to have just in time for Samoan Language week.

A Polynesian movie night at home with…

image courtesy of amazon.comMoana.

“Celebrate Samoan language week and get into the Polynesian spirit by watching Disney’s Moana! The film follows the journey of a spirited teenager named Moana as she meets the once-mighty demi-god Maui, and together they traverse the open ocean, encountering enormous fiery creatures and impossible odds.” (Catalogue)


image courtesy of syndeticsMoana : original motion picture soundtrack.

“Moana is the 56th animated feature from Disney, an ocean adventure about a teenaged girl from a tribal community on a mystical island in the South Pacific. Its soundtrack offers both 45 minutes of score and a set of original songs co-written by a trio of musicians with impressive pedigrees. Highlights include “We Know the Way,” sung by Miranda and Foa’i, and the soaring “How Far I’ll Go,” delivered by Auli’i Carvalho in the title role, with a second version by Canadian pop singer Alessia Cara. Among other names appearing on the soundtrack are Dwayne Johnson, who sings “You’re Welcome” as Maui, and Jermaine Clement of Flight of the Conchords, who sings “Shiny” as the menacing crab Tamatoa. Closing out the song portion of the album and bringing listeners back to contemporary reality are Jordan Fisher and a rapping Miranda in a reprise of “You’re Welcome.” ~ Marcy Donelson.” (Catalogue).

Also check out these YouTube clips from the movie soundtrack: “How far I’ll go” and “You’re Welcome!”


Thank you and Happy Samoa Language week!

Fa’afetai ma fiafia Vaiaso o le Gagana Samoa!

6 Responses

  1. Akenese Ilalio Zec 27 June, 2021 / 12:53 pm

    Faamalo ma faafetai I lo outou tagai mamao ina ia puipui mali I la tatou gagana, o a tatou messina. A leai se gagana ua leai se aganuu. a leai se aganuu, ua leai foi se gagana. Malo le onosai malo foi le finau I mea lelei. Faamanuia le Atua

  2. Frederick Taala 28 June, 2021 / 11:25 pm

    I am looking for a book on the history of the genealogy of Samoa, used by orators.

  3. Stephen Clothier 29 June, 2021 / 1:28 pm

    Talofa, Frederick! Thanks for your question. There are a few places you could look. Probably the most well-known book on Samoan genealogy is The Samoa Islands by Augustin Kraemer. It was originally published in 1899, but what it does particularly well is record and preserve traditional oratory greetings from different parts of Samoa as well as some long-form genealogies going back hundreds of years. It’s split into two volumes: find it on our catalogue here.

    There are plenty of other books you could try as well. Here are a few to get you started:

    Books in Gagana Sāmoa:
    Talatalaga i le lotoā o Matautuala’a by Mano’o ‘Auimatagi Fa’asalaia’i Le’uo Avataeao Kato ‘Ulu Kini — exercises and information for orators about Samoan genealogy and legends
    Fa’afaigofieina Fa’alupega o Samoa by Tanuvasa Tofaeono Tavale — information about etiquette and forms of address for chiefs in different Samoan villagers, a guide for orators
    ‘O le vaofilifili o Samoa: Aoao malu manogi o le lolo by Tuaopepe Faumuina Aulaea Aperila Faumuina — includes discussions of topics including Samoan protocols, traditions, oratory, and genealogy, from the team at Radio Samoa.

    Books in English:
    Tala o le Vavau: Myths, Legends and Customs of Old Samoa, from the collections of Steubel, Kraemer and Herman, and illustrated by Iosua Toafa
    – Check out this series of books on the history of Samoa, in particular the genealogies of the various rulers of Samoa stretching back to 2000 B.C.E. by Misilugi Tulifau Tafaeono Tu’u’u

    As well as these sources, there are some online sources you can use if you are looking for specific records and genealogies about Samoan people. FamilySearch.org has records about people in Samoa (births, deaths etc.) from the 1840s, and Ancestry.com, which you can access for free with your library card, also has some records from the period of time that Samoa was under New Zealand rule.

    Let us know if you need any more help! You can always get in touch with us at enquiries@wcl.govt.nz. 🙂

  4. Ariu Levi 30 June, 2021 / 4:57 am

    This is a wonderful initiative! Please check out Navigators Quest for a Kingdom in Polynesia” by Fata Ariu Levi to add more contents to your efforts. Your initiative is so critical to the survival of our culture, history, and Island Nation. Language is the glue that makes the Samoan culture cohesive and sustainable. If culture is the bones and flesh of a people then language is the marrow in the bones. It produces the blood that is needed for the body to survive, i.e., the culture and life itself. The Samoan has done this through honing their language through Oratory memorization and repetition for over 3,000 years.

  5. Stephen Clothier 30 June, 2021 / 9:29 am

    Talofa, Fata Ariu, and thank you for your kind words. I will pass on your suggestion about Navigators Quest for a Kingdom in Polynesia to our library selectors who will consider it for addition to our collection. 🙂

  6. Stephen Clothier 1 July, 2021 / 12:35 pm

    Malo le finau. Faafetai mo fautuaga lelei mo matou tupulaga Samoa. Manuia lou aso. Soifua

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