The new RNZ documentary ‘Receiving the Traditional Samoan Malofie’ highlights the transformational process of receiving this traditional Samoan malofie.
Click here to watch the video.
You can also find out more about the following: Tautua: Inked for ServiceFaivaeselopepe Anric Sitanilei, RNZ’s social media journalist, reveals his journey in getting the tatau from tufuga Su’a Paulo Junior Suluape.
Sitanilei speaks with people in his village Toamua, where he grew up and wrote the documentary.
“I wanted my story to be shared to showcase the Tatau and to show that they are not just tattoos. Receiving the Tatau is a blessing, an honor, and can even be a religious experience.”
Meraz Parker Pooi, editor and camera operator at MP Studio Samoa, contributed to the video as the main cameraman.
The release of the film coincides with the start of Samoan Language Week.
What is the cultural significance of Samoan tatau?
Faivaeselopepe Anric Sitanilei
The traditional Samoan male tattoo is called malu.
The Samoan culture holds a deep historical and cultural significance. It’s traditional body art used for centuries in Samoan culture.
The tatau not only represents a beautiful piece of art but is also a symbol of identity, family heritage, and individual achievements.
The art form of tatau, combining Samoan mythology, pre-colonial culture, and spirituality, profoundly connects to Samoan society, mythology, and spirituality. The origins of the tatau are recalled in the legend of Taemā and Tilafaigā, two Siamese twin demi goddesses who swam from the islands of Fiji, bringing knowledge of tatau and the tools of the trade of Samoa.
It’s a complicated and intricate process that requires different tools and methods. Tattooists who are tufuga-ta-tatau have spent years in intensive training and apprenticeship to perform the tatau.
While the structure of a tatau remains the same, each person’s designs, patterns, and motifs are unique. Each tatau has been carefully designed by the tufuga to tell their story. The tattoo motifs and designs reflect an individual’s history and experiences.
Some people even consider the tatau as preparation for entering le saofa’iga a matai (the village council of chiefs). Some believe the tatau is a way to prepare for entry into le saofa’iga (the village council).
In Samoan culture, the tatau is a symbol of respect and honor. It is a symbol of strength, courage, and resiliency. It is a painful and uncomfortable process to receive the tatau. This endurance is a sign of their courage and ability in life to overcome challenges.
The tatau plays an essential role in preserving the Samoan cultural legacy. It is a reminder of the shared values and traditions, as well as the history, of a community. The tattooing ceremony is often accompanied by rituals and songs, which create a deep spiritual connection.
Tattoos are popular in many Pacific Island nations, and the tatau is no exception.
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