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An Account of Samoan History up to 1918

The Tongans in Samoa

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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.