CHAPTER XXII. POLITICAL DIVISIONS AND PLACES OF NOTE ON SAVAII.
There are three principal divisions of Savaii: -
1. THE FAASALELEANGA. - In prose and poetry this part of the island, and even the whole of Savaii, is often called Sa Lafai, or sacred to Lafai, and among the legends that chief, Lafai, has an early place. Tupailelei, or Tupai the good, married a daughter of the king of Tonga, and her father ordered that she should go to Tonga some months after her marriage. She started for Tonga, but the canoe was driven by adverse winds to Fiji, and in remembrance of that she called her first child Vaasiliifiti, "Canoe drifted to Fiji."
She remained there for a time, but again set out to try and reach her father in Tonga, but again they missed their destination and could only fetch Samoa. As Samoa appeared in the horizon her second child was born, and so she named the girl Samoauafotu, or "Samoa in sight." It was afterwards abbreviated to Safotu. Afterwards they went to Tonga, but again returned to Samoa with Vaasiliifiti, who was now a young man and married. They came with Fotu. When near Savaii they caught a fai or skate, raised it on the mast and made a sail of it, and from that a son of Vaasiliifiti was called Laifai, or "sail made of the fai." After a time they saw a fish nibbling at the fune or core of a bread-fruit, and from that they called another son of Vaasiliifiti Fune or "core." In after-times it was arranged that Lafai was to live in one district, Fune in another, and the aunt Fotu between them to prevent quarrelling. If Lafai commenced strife, Fune and Fotu united to put it down; if Fune took the initiative, then Lafai and Fotu united in restoring peace.
Lafai lived in the place subsequently called Lefaasaleleanga, and divided it into three parts among his three children. Fotulafai occupied the central and leading part. So Talalafai was apportioned Iva on the one side, and Muliangalafai on the other.
When the Tongans were victorious for a time in Samoa they lived on the common at Safotu, and thither the people flocked with food and sundry other articles of tribute to the chief of the invaders, Talaaifeii. Tuna and Fata, two sons of Malietoa Savea, or Malietoa I., went with tribute, but before returning tore up the le'ale'a, or iron-wood mooring-stick to which the Tongan king's canoe was fastened, and took it away, which was alike an insult and a declaration of war. With this they made a club, roused all to battle against the invaders, gained a victory over them, which ended in their leaving, after forming a treaty of peace between Samoa and Tonga, which for upwards of twenty generations of the Malietoa family has remained unbroken. To perpetuate the remembrance of the victory, the Salafai district was called Lele'ale'a, or the "Mooring-stick," and further merged into Faasaleleanga, or "Made sacred to the mooring-stick." When the district after that time united to raise war it was called the lifting of the Le'ale'a club of Malietoa; and all the Faasaleleanga people rose and followed wherever Malietoa and the club preceded.
(1.) Sapapalii is the name of the principal settlement of the Malietoa families, and had its origin in one of family heads called Papalii. The celebrated le'ale'a club disappeared about the time when this chief lived, but the deeds and dynasty passed on to posterity.
(2.) Safotulafai is the political capital of the Faasaleleanga, and the place where their representative parliamentary gatherings are held, especially in times of war.
(3.) Iva, as already referred to, is one of the three divisions of the Faasaleleanga. It is the name of a village to the south of the capital which, with some neighbouring settlements, takes the place in battle of the advance or attacking party. Iva means tall. It is said the name originated in a man who undertook to build a house without scaffolding, and from his continued stretching upward added to his stature, and gave a name to the place.
(4.) Amoa is the name of a district in a northeasterly direction which protects the capital on that side. Some say its name originated in the fort of the chief Moa which was there during the Tongan invasion; others trace it to a foreign courtship. Of old, they say, the women courted the men, but now it is the reverse. A lady from Fiji called Moa came to seek a husband, and found one in a chief called Nonu, and hence the place was called Amoa, or the settlement of Lady Moa.
2. O LE ITU TAOA, the side of Taoa, was the name of the north side of Savaii. Latterly it has been called the side of men, from their bravery in the war against Aana in 1830. But before that it was called the side of Taoa, after a chief of that name of Fijian descent. Tao means a spear, and was regarded by the people as an emblem of their heroism as well as their name. When they went to Manono to fight for them in avenging the death of Tamafainga, they laid down a heap of spears in token of their alliance.