Tagata Pasifika presents: Tatau


A short doco that followed the journey of two Samoan brothers Falaniko and Peter Tominiko.

O le mea lea le pe’a o se lavalava Samoa

So true are the words of Aunty Katerina Tominiko when asked about ‘Le Tatau’. The Tatau is the traditional Samoan male tattoo. Above is a glimpse of a completed Tatau and Malu – the traditional tatoo for the female.

The special occasion was one of the highlights of my year. We don’t often see Pa’s side of the family. Being there to celebrate the completion of the boys Tatau was a joyous reunion. The singing, the laughing, the FOOD (of course) and the sense of pride added to the sacredness of it all. I applaud Ito and Peter for their bravery. I am so proud of the two of you. Malo le onosa’i! In Aunty’s words ‘Can you hack it?‘. They definitely did!

To endure the pain, nor is it easy to watch – brave. Believe me I thought watching someone get a tattoo with a needle was skin pinching. This is as traditional and raw as they come. I’m not the best person to ask about the customs and rituals so I’ll let you watch the doco for yourself (thank you cuz Stephen Tominiko for links :-)).

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6 thoughts on “Tagata Pasifika presents: Tatau

  1. Thank you for the post . The samoan culture tatau is very sacred , a lot of the youth have forgotten its true meaning . There is a samoan saying “Ta muamua lou gutu” . Meaning learn your culture , speak your culture , live your culture.

    • Faafetai mo le asiasi mai. Yes I agree with you 100%! My brothers all want to get the pe’a too but like you said my parents have advised them that they must learn the culture, speak the language really know what it means to ‘lavalava Samoa’ before taking that step. 🙂

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