Atua (district)

Falefa Samoa Lotofaga

Ancient Principality of Samoa.

Ātua
Ātua, comprising the eastern third of Upolu Island on map of 1924
Ātua, comprising the eastern third of Upolu Island on map of 1924
Map of Samoa showing Atua district
Map of Samoa showing Atua district
Country Samoa
Government
Population
 (2016)
 • Total22,769
Time zone+13

Ātua is an ancient political district of Samoa, consisting of most of the eastern section of Upolu. Ātua is ruled by the Tui Ātua together with the group of six senior orators of Lufilufi and 13 senior matai from throughout Ātua, comprising the Fale Ātua (or parliament of Atua). The fono (meeting) of Atua's rulers takes place in Lufilufi on the great malae of Lalogafu'afu'a. [1]

The paramount pāpā title and sovereign of Ātua is the Tui Ātua. The title traces its lineage to Pili, son of Tagaloa-a-lagi. One of the first known Tui Atua was Tui Atua Leutelele'i'ite of Falefa, who according to oral tradition, is said to have been part aitu (god-like) and part tagata (human-like) and lived around 1170 A.D. It is from his lifetime that the known pre-European history of Samoa associated with the Tui Ātua and its holders began.[2] The current Tui Ātua is former Prime Minister, Head of State and tama-a-aiga, Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi.

The two paramount matai titles of Ātua are the two Tama-a-aiga titles of Tupua Tamasese and Matā'afa, respectively belonging to the two main noble lineages of Ātua: Sā Fenunuivao (descendants of Fenunuivao, adoptive mother of Tupua) of Falefa and Salani; and Sā Levālasi (descendants of Levalasi, adoptive mother of Salamasina) of Amaile and Lotofaga.

History

According to one legend, Tagaloa-a-lagi (Samoan's supreme god), entered Upolu, Savai'i and Tonga from Manu'a island on the eastern tip of the Samoan archipelago.[3] The political divisions of Upolu are said to be traced to his son, Pili. Pili had three sons - Tua, 'Ana (who were twins) and Saga, after whom the political divisions of Upolu are named. Tua founded the political district of Ātua (literally, 'that of Tua'), which comprised the eastern third of Upolu island. 'Ana founded Ā'ana ('that of Ana), a political district on the western third of the island. The third son, Saga, was born after the twins and so the district he founded was called Tuamasaga ('after the twin').[2] This was the geographical region between Ā'ana and Ātua districts. Since then, the three political districts of Upolu have been called Ātua, Ā'ana and Tuamasaga.

Geography

Located on the eastern third of Upolu, the geography of Atua comprises the mountainous interior separating the northern and southern coasts, the long sandy beaches of the southern coast from Aleipata to Poutasi, and the rocky coastline of Anoama'a in the north. Within Atua is the small itumalo of Va'a o Fonoti, a separate political district surrounded by Atua. The island of Tutuila is a traditional exclave of Atua and is its easternmost point located in what is now American Samoa.[4]

Governance

The Tui Atua title is bestowed at Mulinu'ū ma Sepolata'emo, in Lufilufi, the capital of Ātua by the Faleono (House of six) orator group of Lufilufi, who are vested with the authority to appoint the Tui Atua and whose authority is reflected by its title as Matua o Ātua, (the elder of Ātua). These six tulafale also summon the Fale Atua (what can be called the 'parliament' of Ātua), to ascertain its members views on a prospective holder of their papa title when the title is vacant. This 'parliament' comprises the six tulafale of Lufilufi and 13 other matai of Ātua. Of those 13 matai, nine are tulafale and four are ali'i. The members of Ātua's governing parliament form an exclusive group, as only the most senior matai in Ātua can sit in it.

[2] The Fale Atua ('parliament of Atua') decide with the Tui Ātua in matters of war and state. The Fale Atua comprises the six orators of Lufilufi as well as the respective rulers of Falefā, Solosolo, Lalomanu, Lotofaga, Luatuanu'u. Samusu, Saoluafata, Saleaumua, and also Lepā.

The Tui Atua

The line of Tui Atua extends far back into the early history of Samoa, beyond that of Queen Salamasina's reign, to the sons of Pili, descendant of the Tui Manu'a (sovereign of Manu'a). According to legend, Tagaloa-a-lagi (Samoa's supreme god), entered Upolu, Savai'i and Tonga from Manu'a island on the eastern tip of the Samoan archipelago. The political divisions of Upolu are said to be traced to his son, Pili. Pili had three sons - Tua, 'Ana (who were twins) and Saga, after whom the political divisions of Upolu are named. Tua founded the political district of Ātua (literally, 'that of Tua'), which comprised the eastern third of Upolu island. 'Ana founded Ā'ana ('that of Ana), a political district on the western third of the island. The third son, Saga, was born after the twins and so the district he founded was called Tuamasaga ('after the twin'). This was the geographical region between Ā'ana and Ātua districts. Since then, the three political districts of Upolu have been called Ātua, Ā'ana and Tuamasaga.[2]

Prior to the reign of Queen Salamasina, the Tui Atua was held at different times by the ranking alii of Atua, including Lufasiaitu and Mua'iteleloa of Fagaloa, Leutele of Falefa (known as Tui Atua Leuteleleiite), and the tulafale-alii polities of Fuataga and Tafua in Aleipata.[1] From the first Tui Atua to Queen Salamasina and then from her to her descendants, the title has passed down along these lineages according to the prevalent power of the time. Since the rise of the tama-a-aiga Tupua Tamasese and later, Mata'afa in the late 1700s, the Tui Atua mantle has remained exclusively between these two, with the exception of Malietoa Vainuupo and Malietoa Moli holding it in the aftermath of multiple conflicts.[5]

Tui Atua from Salamasina to Tupua Tamasese Efi

Tui Atua from the time of Tafa'ifā Salamasina onwards:

Fa'alupega o Atua: The Charter and Salutations of Atua

'O le ao tetele o Atua (The Great Honours of Atua)

Tulouna 'oe Lufilufi

tulouna 'oe le Tumua

tulouna lo outou Faleono

tulouna le afio o le Tui Atua

ma Tupa'i ma Ta'inau

tulouna 'Togia'i, 'o le Tui Atua ave au malaga ia te oe, Lufilufi pe a lafalafatūga

tulouna Leausa ne itu'au ai e alataua ai

tulouna ao o Atua

tulouna uso o Atua

tulouna i'u o Atua

tulouna le fetalaiga a Tuu'u na itu fā ai Atua

tulouna le āiga Sā Levalasi

tulouna le āiga Sā Fenunuivao

tulouna a tulaniu o Atua.

Population

The district has a population (2016 Census) of 22,769.

References

  1. ^ a b Kramer, Augustin (2000). The Samoa Islands: An Outline of a Monograph With Particular COnsideratio of German Samoa. University of Hawaii Press.
  2. ^ a b c d So'o, Asofou (2008). Democracy and Custom in Samoa: An uneasy alliance. Suva, Fiji: IPS Publications, The University of the South Pacific. p. 2. ISBN 978-982-02-0390-7.
  3. ^ Meleisea, M. 1987b. 'Ideology in Pacific Studies: A personal view' , In: A Hooper, et al., eds., Class ad Culture in the Pacific. Centre for Pacific Studies, University of Auckland, NZ and Institute of Pacific Studies, University of the South Pacific, Fiji.
  4. ^ Va'a, Unasa L.F. "Aspects of Western Samoa Migration to American Samoa" (PDF). The Journal of Sāmoan Studies. 3: 1.
  5. ^ Suaalii-Sauni, Tamasailau M., editor. Tuagalu, I'uogafa, editor. Kirifi-Alai, Tofilau Nina, editor. Fuamatu, Naomi, editor. Su'esu'e Manogi: In Search of Fragrance. : Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Ta'isi and the Samoan Indigenous Reference. ISBN 978-1-77550-359-0. OCLC 1051928755.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)