Polynesian Culture

by Sean N. Bennett

Lu of Uafato

This legend gives us insight into how the word, “SA-MOA” originated.

Uafato is a lovely, remote village located near Fagaloa. Uafato was the home of Lu. It had an ocean full of fish, and a picturesque and lovely waterfall on the central mountain peak with four mountainous peaks on each side of the gorgeous waterfall.

At the bottom of the fall was a beautiful pool which was divided into two sections. One section was for the village water supply and the other was a place to swim and bathe. In Polynesian religion, there were 9 heavens. Each one arched above the former one. The common people could go into the first heaven. The higher the ranking of a person, the higher he could go in the heavens. Tagaloalagi, who was the supreme God, lived in the tenth heaven. No one else was allowed to go there.

The lovely paradise of Uafato was ruled by a high chief named Lu. He was a great hunter, a skillful fisherman, and a superb farmer. He had a large flock of chickens which were taboo to the people of Uafato. These chickens Lu called his sacred (Sa) chickens (Moa). These became known as Lu’s Samoa.

While Lu was away fishing in the bay, some of Tagaloalagi’s men came down from the tenth heaven to visit their relatives. They were envious of Lu’s sacred chickens and decided to steal some of them. When Lu heard his chickens cackling and flying about to escape the raiders, he turned his canoe around and came ashore.

Lu picked up his “fue” (fly whisk with a large handle) which he used as a hammer. He gathered an army and slowly but furiously drove Tagaloalagi’s men back from the first heaven to the second heaven, to third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh heaven.

When Lu reached the eighth heaven Tagaloalagi could see that his men were going to be killed. So Tagaloalagi got his daughter, Lagi, and laid her on the peak of the eighth heaven. When Lu saw this gorgeous creature he immediately married her. His wrath was appeased. He forgave Tagaloalagi’s men for their mischievousness.

Lu took the lovely maiden and changed her name to Lagituaiva – the lovely maiden of the ninth heaven. On the west side Uafato Bay is the only place in Samoa where all ten heavens can be seen as you look at the mountains.

The above information was taken (as written) from the MCKAY-FALE located in Sauniatu (on the island of Upolu) Western Samoa.

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