Sāmoan Rank

In helping to understand Faʻa Samoa one must be knowledgeable about the villages and its people. The Sāmoan village itself is an area defined by natural boundaries which consists of families living together under the same administration. In the village various ranks and responsibilities are found to be held by Sāmoans.

Faʻa Samoa is a communal system based on a family, villages, districts, islands and country. It is a hierarchy throughout where ideally everyone has a place and function with both titled and untitled people.

The Matai are the chiefs of the Sāmoans. The matai are responsible for maintaining the respect, traditions, and administration of the village. With the matai system comes a formal culture that includes formal language, tradition and behavior.

There are two categories of matai:

The Aliʻi who are the high chiefs of the county, village, and family

The Tulafale who are talking chiefs for the county, village, and/or his family.

The Manaia is the titled leader of the untitled men who are called the Aumaga. **The Taupou is a village maiden with high status, usually the daughter of the matai, who prepares ava. Her siva (dance) is named the Taualuga

Although untitled, the Aumaga are very important in the village as they are the labor force and historically were the warriors. The counterpart to the Aumaga are the Aualuma who historically cared for the Taupou but recently are a larger organization that gather to handle contemporary activities and responsibilities.

**It's important to know that although the matai are associated with males, certain women in Sāmoan culture such as the taupo held a high status. Within the immediate family,it is not uncommon for the first born female to out rank her male siblings.