Story: Samoans

Pe‘a tattooing (1st of 2)

Pe‘a tattooing

Fa‘asamoa (Samoan culture) inevitably changed in New Zealand. However, many Samoans continued the traditional practice of tattooing. The pe‘a tattoo, shown here in a self-portrait by Greg Semu, is worn by men and normally extends from the waist to the knee. The pe‘a is a very painful process which can take several weeks to complete. It is a rite of passage for Samoan males.

Using this item

Auckland Art Gallery – Toi o Tāmaki
Photograph by Greg Semu, 1995

Permission of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Lupematasila Melani Anae, 'Samoans - Culture and identity', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/1573/pea-tattooing (accessed 28 January 2023)

Story by Lupematasila Melani Anae, published 8 Feb 2005, reviewed & revised 7 Sep 2022 with assistance from  Lupematasila Melani Anae