Lauaki Namulauulu Mamoe

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Lauaki Namulauulu Mamoe circa 1900

Lauaki Namulauulu Mamoe (died 14 December 1915) (also known as Lauati) was a renowned orator chief and the first leader of the Mau, a resistance movement in Samoa during colonialism.[1] Lauaki was exiled to Saipan in 1909. He died in 1915 as he was taken back to Samoa.

He was from Safotulafai, the capital of Fa'asaleleaga political district on the island of Savai'i.[1] The family matai chief title Namulauulu was from Safotulafai and the other chief title Lauaki came from Tonga.[1] Mamoe was the first of his family to hold both the Namulauulu and the Lauaki titles, inherited through good service from the true heirs of the Namulauulu family. Uncertain of the outcome of his trial under German rule, he decided to bestow the title 'Namulauulu' on his younger brother, Pulali, who was also exiled and died before being allowed to return to Samoa.

Mau a Pule[edit]

German warship in Apia harbour, 1900s.

The resistance movement led by Lauaki on Savai'i was called Mau a Pule (1908) which later grew into the national Mau movement.[2] The Mau a Pule represented chiefs protesting against losing their traditional Samoan authority under the colonial administration headed by German Governor Wilhelm Solf. The Mau a Pule represented traditional Samoa with none or little European influence in its methods or organisation.[1] Lauati depended on the chiefly elite of Savai'i to organise Mau a Pule support.

Exile[edit]

In the first months of 1909, Governor Solf called in military to quash Lauaki and the Mau a Pule on Savai'i. Four warships and troops from the East Asia Squadron arrived. The warships cordoned off Savai'i from Upolu.[1]

On 1 April 1909 Lauaki surrendered with other Safotulafai chiefs and Mau a Pule supporters. They were arrested and trialed.[1] On 19 April 1909, Lauaki and 71 members of the Mau a Pule[3] were exiled to Saipan (German colony) in the Mariana Islands aboard the ship SMS Jaguar. The other Mau a Pule leaders included I'iga Pisa, Asiata Tautoloa, Leiataua Mana, Namulauulu Pulali, Tuilagi Letasi.

Exiled group aboard the German warship with Lauati standing 3rd from left with an orator's staff, 1909.

Among the exiles were women and children including Lauaki's wife Sivaotele and their only child, Tivoli. Lauaki never saw Samoa again and many of those banished died in exile. Years later, some of the exiles returned to Samoa.

On 18 December 1915, some of those banished returned from Saipan. They were Leiataua Mana, Taupau Pauesi, Tagaloa and Malaeulu. The bones of Asiata Taetoloa, Tevaga, Letasi, Tuilagi and members of their families who had died in Saipan were also brought back.Excerpt from An Account of Samoan History up to 1918 by Samoan historian Teo Tuvale.

Lauki's younger brother died in Saipan.[1]

While some of the exiles had returned to Samoa carrying the bones of those that had died on Saipan, Lauaki had fallen ill and had been forced to stop with his family on Tarawa island in the Gilbert Islands.

Death[edit]

Lauati (left) and two matai chiefs aboard the German warship, 1909. All three bear the symbols of matai orator status – the fue (fly whisk made of organic sennit rope with a wooden handle).

On 15 January 1916, Sivaotele, Lauaki's wife, and their son arrived back in Samoa aboard the steamer Atua. They brought the news that Lauaki had died at 10pm on 14 December 1915[1] on Tarawa.[1]

Legacy[edit]

After Lauaki's death and by the late 1920s, the Mau movement had gathered widespread support in Samoa. One of the Mau leaders in the 1920s was Olaf Frederick Nelson, a merchant born in Safune to a Samoan mother and Swedish father. Nelson was also exiled from Samoa.

Samoa gained political independence in 1962.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i [1], International Dictionary of Historic Places: Asia and Oceania by Trudy Ring, Robert M. Salkin, Paul E Schellinger, Sharon La Boda, p. 726
  2. ^ http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/369873/Mau-a-Pule
  3. ^ http://americansamoa.gov/history/samhist_forweb.pdf

External references[edit]