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  • Ashleigh Putt-Fallows

Pacific Nations and Languages: Gagana Sāmoa

Welcome back to another week of Pacific Nations and Languages!

This week is Gagana Sāmoa (Sāmoan) Language week, so obviously we have to match. Sāmoan language week is celebrated from the 26th of May to 1st of June 2024, and the theme is 'Tautua i le alofa, manuia le lumana’i—Serve in love for a blessed future'. The theme focuses around sustainability, a foundation of love, force of service and consistent development. This language week has been around since 2007.


Sāmoa consists of two main islands, Upolu and Savai'i, along with several smaller islets. Sāmoa's culture is deeply rooted in traditions such as fa'a Sāmoa, which emphasizes respect for elders, communal living, and strong family ties. Traditional Sāmoan arts, tatau and siva, reflect a rich cultural identity. A nickname for the nation is the “cradle of polynesia '' due to some legends naming the island Savai’i as a possible Hawakii. Amerika Sāmoa (American Samoa) is technically an unincorporated territory under the USA. It consists of five main islands including Tutulia, and is mainly populated by native Sāmoans. 

Sāmoa’s official language is ​​Gagana faʻa Sāmoa or Gagana Sāmoa (Sāmoan). Amerika Sāmoa’s official languages are Gagana faʻa Sāmoa or Gagana Sāmoa (Sāmoan), and English. 


Tālofa Lava - Greetings/Hello

Tōfā - Goodbye 

Fa’amolemole - Please 

Fa’afetai - Thank you 

Malie/ Fa’amalie atu/ Fa’amālūlū atu - Sorry 

Tulou - Excuse me 

Special Phrases:

Mālō Lava - Well done/thumbs up

Seki Uso - Cool/good as/sweet/chill brother 

Alofa aku ma lou aiga - Love you and your family

The basic phrases were retrieved from the Ministry of Pacific Peoples website and resources provided. The special phrase was provided by tōku matua whāngai (my adopted dad). He added a kōrero talking about the difference of growing up away from Sāmoa—in Aotearoa, without as strong of a connection to his family, language and culture—and despite that being for me to read, and not our audience, I think the mention is worthwhile—and I hope is plan to take us to visit his whānau in Vaimoso, Apia is coming soon.

It’s important to recognise that all cultures and languages are incredibly diverse. There are different dialects within languages, unrecognized languages, and peoples. Polynesia is vast, and spread out across large and small islands and villages—it contains an unimaginable amount of culture that simply can’t be fully appreciated with just words. We encourage everyone to be respectful, open minded and always keep learning <3

Māuruuru roa & Ngā Mihi, 

Mauatua Fa'ara-Reynolds (she/they)

Ashleigh Putt-Fallows (she/her/ia)


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