By fonoti

TUPU TAFA’IFA OF SAMOA. And the only person to hold the Tafa’ifa since Salamasina was Fonoti, also known very well as FONOTI The KING!

The following are statements written in the history book ‘Lagaga” by Malama Meleisea.

There are number of points of view about the papa Titles and the office of Tafa’ifa in the history of Samoa prior to 1830. While it is agreed that Salamasina was the first Tafa’ifa there is no agreement as to whether the Tafa’ifa was held continuously after that time or whether it was not held again until the 1800’s. The four titles Had been passed down in the Sa Tupua descent line since the time of Salamasina. This tradition says that I’amafana in his mavaega (his dying testament) gave the titles to Malietoa Vainu’upo in 1802. Malietoa received the Gatoaitele and Tamasoalii titles from Afega and Safata. Malietoa Vainu’upo won the titles Tuia’ana and Tuiatua after Tamafaiga was killed in 1829 which made him Tafa’ifa.

The case for Malietoa asserted that he held the four papa titles and was tafa’ifa, Lauaki Namaluaulu Mamoe of Safotulafai in Savaii, asserted that Malietoa had no such recognition. He claimed that Malietoa held none of the titles, not even that of Malietoa, since none had been bestowed by Samoan custom. In this contention Lauaki was supported by the Orators of Malie and Manono.”

Then another tradition says that from 1810 the most powerful chief was Tamafaiga of Manono who gave himself the title as ‘Tupu o Salafai’. According to this tradition, the only person to hold the Tafa’ifa since Salamasina was Fonoti who was also known as Fonoti the King!

Another is the history book  called ‘O Tama A Aiga’ by A Morgan Tuimaleali’ifano. He had written a few a like to one as follows:

“The first Tafa’ifa was Salamasina, from Salamasina to the seventeenth century, Sa Tupua dominated the office of Tafa’ifa.” The book goes on about helders to Tafa’ifa’s!  And never knew Tuimaleali’ifano was a Tafa’ifa according to the book.

In regards to Salamasina the first Tafa’ifa then Tupua Tafa’ifa, what happened to King Fonoti? The same Fonoti as stated on all Samoa historical nationally Fa’alupega. Secondly; a fa’apotopoto uma Samoa atoa, e fai le ava fa’atupu.. O ai e moto iai le ava? o Fonoti. Silafia o Fonoti o le Tupu Tafa’ifa o Samoa, o lona atali’i o Muagututi’a, lea e iai lona atali’i fai o Fuiavailili mafua’aga o le ulua’i Tupua ma le ulua’i Tama-a-aiga. E fa’ai’u atu ai, E Tupu a le Tupu ia, ae Tama’aiga ia Tama’aiga. “O Samoa Ua Uma Ona Fa’ata’oto Ona Tofiga. E Leai Se Vave Na te Suia”.

A fai la e le’o afio le Tupu o Fonoti e alagaina e Tumua iai le alofi’sa, ona moto lea o le ava ia Tole’afoa o le mafua’aga na tofia ai Tole’afoa e Fonoti le Tupu e moto iai le ava e pei ona ta’ua i lana mavaega ma Tole’afoa e fa’apea; “A leai se Tupu e alagaina e Tumua, o le a e Tuia’ana Ave’aumalaga! O le a fa’asino ia te oe upu o le aualuma. O lou aualuma o le a tausi e Leulumoega!”


Salamasina Tupu Tafa’ifa; (So’oa’emalelagi Levalasi of Atua gave her niece and adopted child Salamasina the honour for the four Papa titles) Queen Salamasina was the first Tupu Tafa’ifa around 1570.

Fonoti Tupu Tafa’ifa; “Since The Paegauo War against his Kin.” The War war for the Papa titles to proclaim the four sided Kingship. It Involved all of Upolu and Savai’i. And Fonoti ultimately won the war with the support of all Orators and districts that fought for him became Fonoti Tupu Tafa’ifa of Samoa. King Fonoti conferred many honours upon those chiefs and Districts that had fought for him and such honours and privileges are honoured by the “Tumua and Pule” down to the present time. King Fonoti also granted Ulualofaiga complete power over Fagaloa District and in addition he gave Ulualofaiga the village of Amanave in Tutuila. This village is controlled in this manner right down to the present day and the authority as recognised by the American Government., Government etc. the America Govt. for Tutuila right down to this present time.

And there was no other war ever since or even recorded in history that anyone had raised against King Fonoti Tupu Tafa’ifa to claim the four Papa titles, nor through his Kingly lineage the ‘Sa-Fonoti’ right to this present time. The following is King Fonoti Tupu Tafa’ifa’s words in his wish: “The Four High Titles Be For Me And My Children”.

O Tupu Tafa’ifa o Fonoti ma Salamasina o lo’o lagomau i le Aiga Pa’ia o Salevalasi i Mulifusi ma Tanumaleu, po’o le Malae o Papa i Lotofaga, Atua.


Queen Salamasina the first person to posses all four titles: Tui-A’ana, Tui-Atua, Gatoaitele, and Vaetamasoalii, up to our days this is called ‘Tafa’ifa’. Each title chiefs namely has two supporters who on festive occasions sit to the right and left of the Tupu Tafa’ifa. These supporters are called tafa’i or tu’itu’i. As with all other offices in Samoa, these too are privileges of certain families and are associated with bearers of that family name. For the Tui-A’ana title they are the chiefs Umaga and Pasese; for the Tui-Atua title, Tupa’i and Ta’inau; for the title Gatoaitele, the two paramount orators Fata and Maulolo; and for the title Vaetamasoalii lastly the two orators Fuga and Mauava of Safata. At the Tafa’ifa all four seats of government distribute themselves alongside the King; in general Leulumoega and Lufilufi sit to the left, Afega and Safata to the right.

This symbol of the real Samoan Kingdom has been retained until today since the days of its establishment by warrior Goddess Nafanua and Tupa’i Vaililigi of Tonumaipe’a line, which may have been taken place around 1500. Usually A’ana led out in the conferring of his title, followed by Atua, then Afega and Safata. Queen Salamasina the first Tupu Tafa’ifa, was succeeded in a direct line of descent by a series of Tui-A’ana, then each bearing four titles, deserve special mentioned of King Fonoti Tupu Tafa’ifa, the total recognition of his Kingship was preceded by winning a violent battle amongst his kin Samala’ulu and Va’afusuaga Tole’afoa (the three children of Tui-A’ana Faumuina le Tupufia by different mothers) that involved the whole of Samoa which furnished King Fonoti Tupu Tafa’ifa as sat upon his throne, opportunities to bestow marks of distinction. Thus King Fonoti Tupu Tafa’ifa conferred upon chiefs and the village communities Faleapuna and Fagaloa the right to call themselves “Va’a o Fonoti” (Fonoti’s ship: as stated in All Samoa Fa’alupega) since they had fought for him very courageously in the battle for sovereignty, a distinction which has been retained to this day. It was the mark of distinction of his real Kingdom that King Fonoti Tupu Tafa’ifa was able to issue such decrees and appointments (tofigas) which were looked upon as dogmas.

The Following All Samoa Fa’alupega from Two Occasions: (1.) TUMUA MA PULE; from the four wars by warrior Goddess Nafanua for the titles, and Tupa’i Vaililigi bestowed the four titles to Salamasina. (2.) AIGA I LE TAI, VA’A O FONOTI, and ITU’AU MA ALATAUA; from the war for the four titles of Tui-A’ana Faumuina’s Tupufia his three children; Fonoti, Samala’ulu and Va’afusuaga Tole’afoa. All of Samoa involved in this war, Fonoti won and was bestowed the four titles; by Samoan Customs. (the four titles: Tui-Atua, Tui-A’ana, Gatoaitele, and Vaetamasoali’i; as Tupu Tafa’ifa of Samoa).

(e ufiufi a le tama’imoa i le tanoa, ae ioio lava..)


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