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.

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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:

Misatauveve Melani Anae, 'Samoans - Culture and identity', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 24 May 2022)

Story by Misatauveve Melani Anae, published 8 Feb 2005, updated 1 Mar 2015