Satellite image of Upolu island showing Tuamasaga district. (NASA photo, 2006
Map of Samoa showing Tuamasaga district
The paramount title of Tuamasaga is the Malietoa title. The nine senior orators of Malie play a leading role in the election of the Malietoa title-holder. Given that the district of Aiga-i-le-Tai (Manono and Apolima) and the district of Fa'asaleleaga on Savai'i are two key footholds of the Aiga SaMalietoa (Malietoa clan), Malie must consult with Manono (capital of Aiga-i-le-Tai) and Safotulafai (capital of Fa’asaleleaga) in the election of the Malietoa.
Once a decision is made, the village of Afega, through the chiefs Fata and Maulolo, must lead the bestowal process on behalf of the FaleTuamasaga (the parliament of Tuamasaga). Historically, the FaleTuamasaga meets at Afega (malae a Vaitoelau) in times of war, whilst it meets at Malie (malae a filemu) in times of peace. Given the administrative roles that the Afega chiefs of Fata, Maulolo, and Tuisamau play, Afega is considered the district capital, and the main venue for which the Fale Tuamasaga meets. Malie is considered the district and national capital for the Malietoa clan.
At a national level, the Malietoa title is one of the four Tama-a-Aiga titles. These are known as the noble families. Higher in traditional Samoan lineage is the Tui Atua based in Atua brother king to the Tui Manu'a. Given the pre-eminence the Malietoa title has had in recent Samoan history, this has made the district extremely important. In addition, the only urban city in the country is situated in Apia, in the north of the district. The national parliament also sits at Mulinu’u to the west of Apia, and the main seaport is situated at Matautu to the north of Apia around the shores of Apia harbour.
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