Women's Mau committee

Women's Mau committee

Group photograph of leaders and committee of the Women's Mau, 1930. When the men of the Mau movement went into hiding in the bush, the women of the movement took over the job of direct political protest.

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Pepe Robertson

Posted: 08 Jul 2012

The Mau House(Fale Ole Mau) is in Vaimoso Faleata. I am a born and bred Vaimoso girl. My mother was 9 years old when her dad (Migao)died along with Tamasese and others during this time (Black Saturday). In Michael Fields book OLE MAU A SAMOA Migao tried to shield Tamasese from the bullets when he was struck by several bullets that he didn't have a chance. As young girl we used to play and sing songs infront of this building. This building used to be the Vaimoso Band building and was utilised as the Mau House. This is also the same band that lead most of the protest marches during this time including the march on the Black SaturdaySamoans tell their stories through songs and poetry. Pese Ole Mau(Mau Song) is still sung today. The words does tell the story of the Mau beautifully sung by men in traditional style. I have never met my grandfather (Migao) but the spirit is their. The story is such a peaceful and moving story that it moves me to tears every time I read about it. Womens Mau is an amazing story of how Women took over when the men went bush. There is a river called Vai O Moso in Vaimoso. Members of the Womens Mau used to walked through our property to get to the river landing. They pretended that they were going to do their washing in the river but that was not so. Food was banned from Vaimoso village but the women have arranged with outer villages to bring the food by canoes and fautasi and the women will pick them up from the landing towards Mulinu'u. New Zealand police are never far away from this area. That they will inspect washing by poking the washing with the guns to see if they were hiding any food in them. The women had it so well organised most of the time they succeeded in smuggling the food in side their washing. The women also organised political meetings in the villages for support. They will walk from one village to another until dark have the meeting and villages will look after them during the night will pick up more supporters and will walk to the next district do the same until they have covered areas in UPOLU. Faleata was the Mau District that people from all over Samoa came and lived there during this time. I have an aunty my mums sister that was named Aloilevao meaning hiding in the bush. So children were also named after this in Samoa. I continue to be interested in the Mau. Events and places where they happened during this time of the Mau are all so close to home for me. May they rest in peace.