Samoan Culture

Do's and Don'ts


  • Show genuine interest in fa’a Samoa (‘the Samoan Way’). Samoans are extremely proud of fa’a Samoa and enjoy explaining its various facets.
  • Oral presentation skills are highly valued by many Samoan people. If you are asked to speak at a Samoan community meeting or event, ensure that you are well prepared and that cultural protocols are observed.
  • Take care when offering compliments to your Samoan counterpart. They may feel obliged to give you the object you are appreciating. There is a Samoan proverb, which indicates that a person offers compliments because they want the object (“o isi e momo’o” translates as “to praise is to beg”). For example, if you were to compliment a Samoan on their bag, they may try to give you the bag.
  • Be patient and accept the slower pace of ‘Samoan time’. Samoans tend to find it easier to be kept waiting and are generally not bothered about punctuality.

Do Not’s

  • Never speak ill about a person’s family without them being present or spread gossip. Samoans believe this to be deeply disrespectful.
  • Do not disrespect or go against the word of a Matai (chief). Many Samoans bestow a high amount of respect on a Matai. For many, the chief is the final arbiter on important matters.
  • Avoid losing your temper in public or raising your voice if you get emotional. It is uncommon for people to overtly express their emotions in front of strangers. 
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  • Population
    [July 2016 est.]
  • Language
    Samoan (official)
  • Religion
    Protestant Christianity (57.4%)
    Roman Catholic Christianity (19.4%)
    Mormonism (15.2%)
    Worship Centre (1.7%)
    Other Christianity (5.5%)
    Other Religion (0.7%)
    No Religion (0.1%)
    Unspecified (0.1%)
    [2011 est.]
  • Ethnicity
    Samoan (92.6%)
    Euronesians (persons with European and Polynesian heritage) (7.0%)
    Europeans (0.4%)
    [Census, 2001]
  • Australians with Samoan Ancestry
    75,755 [Census, 2016]
Samoans in Australia
  • Population
    [Census, 2016]
    This figure refers to the number of Australian residents that were born in Samoa.
  • Median Age
    [Census, 2016]
  • Gender
    Male (49.5%)
    Female (50.5%)
    [Census, 2016]
  • Religion
    Catholic Christianity (21.4%)
    Christian [not defined] (16.4%)
    Church of the Latter-Day Saints (13.6%)
    Pentecostal Christianity (8.3%)
    Other Religion (29.9%)
    No Religion (4.7%)
    Not Stated (5.1%)
    [Census, 2016]
  • Ancestry
    Samoan (67.4%)
    German (6.9%)
    English (6.4%)
    Chinese (4.8%)
    Other Ancestry (14.5%)
    [Census, 2016]
  • Language Spoken at Home
    Samoan (84.9%)
    English (13.0%)
    Tokelauan (0.1%)
    Other (0.7%)
    Of those who speak a language other than English at home, 86.9% speak English fluently.
    [Census, 2016]
  • Diaspora
    New South Wales (37.6%)
    Queensland (32.5%)
    Victoria (25.8%)
    Western Australia (2.2%)
    Other (1.6%)
    [Census, 2016]
  • Arrival to Australia
    Prior to 2007 (57.5%)
    2007 - 2011 (15.2%)
    2012 - 2016 (22.6%)
    [Census, 2016]
Country Flag Country Samoa