Non-Mau Samoans - Malietoa Tanumafili I

Non-Mau Samoans - Malietoa Tanumafili I

New Zealand's Administrator in Samoa, George Spafford Richardson, flanked by Malietoa Tanumafili II and Mata'afa Faumuina Fiame Mulinu'u I.

Malietoa Tanumafili I

Not all Samoans supported the Mau. Even Mau estimates suggest that, at the height of its popularity, at least one in 10 Samoans supported the New Zealand administration.

Malietoa Tanumafili I (1880-1939) was the son of Malietoa Laupepa and Sisavai'i. He acquired the Malietoa title in 1898.

Tanumafili had a history of opposition to European rule. By 1908 he was one of the leaders in the Mau a Pule - the Opinion of Pule - movement, a Samoan response to German interference in political customs and economic grievances.

The Mau a Pule was quickly suppressed by the German governor, Wilhelm Solf, who exploited traditional Samoan rivalries. Its senior leaders and their families were exiled to Saipan in Micronesia in April 1909.

Tanumafili was a supporter of the Toeai'na Club, an economic and social venture by leading Samoans during the early period of New Zealand administration. This was later closed by New Zealand officials.

In the mid 1920s, Tanumafili attended the meetings of the Citizens' Committee. Many of the Committee's members, including Olaf Nelson, would go on to play key roles in the Mau movement. But Tanumafili chose to support the New Zealand administration in opposition to the Mau. Along with Tuimaleali'ifano, he was one of three fatua or Samoan advisers to Administrator George Richardson.

In 1928, Tanumafili was one of two Samoans on the first Legislative Council to include Samoan members. By the time of his death in 1939, Tanumafili had held a paramount Samoan title for 41 years. He was the last proclaimed King of Samoa.

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