22 Interesting Facts about Samoa

1. Samoans are time travellers. 

Ok not really time travellers, but in 2011 Samoa jumped from December 29 to December 31. It was a weird time to live through.  I remember thinking this was weird, but it absolutely made sense from a business and relationship point of view as Samoa deal mainly with Australia and New Zealand, who before 2011 were on the other side of the international date line.

2. First pacific nation to become independent

January 1st 1962 Samoa gained independence from New Zealand and became the first Pacific nation to become independent.

3. First tier 2 country to make it to the RLWC final

If you were anywhere around the world in 2022 during the Rugby League world cup you most likely would have seen at least one Samoan Flag.  In many areas you would have seen a flood of red and blues flags being flown on cars, homes, skyscrapers and clothing. This is in celebration of Samoa

4. Samoa used to be the last place to see the sun go down

Before the change in 2011, Samoa used to be the last place to see the sun go down.

5. Apia is the only city in Samoa

Samoa is a small island nation and so it makes sense that there would be only one central city, Apia.  There are smaller hubs around the island, but the main city is Apia.

6. More Samoans living outside of the islands than on them

As navigators, Samoans travel far and wide. Because of this there are more people with Samoan heritage living outside of the Samoan islands.

7. Country Name Change

In July 1997 the Constitution was amended to change the country’s name from Western Samoa to Samoa.

8. Two nations same culture

Before colonisation, Samoa and American Samoa were one nation with the same culture. Today they are separate countries: Samoa and American Samoa but share the same language, culture and bloodlines.

9. 2009 change the side of the road they drive on

On 8 September, 2009 Samoa changed the side of the road that they drive on from the right to the left. It was a weird experience to wake up and have people driving on the other side of the road. It was hugely successful though and now many families have more access to affordable cars.

10. Kilikiti is Samoa’s national sport

Also known as Samoan Cricket. While it is the national sport of Samoa it is also played around the Pacific.

11. The word tattoo originated from the Samoan word tatau


12. 2009 tsunami killed 149 people

That morning I woke up to an earthquake that left me scared for my life. It was not till hours later I found out that the earthquake had triggered a tsunami that took the lives of 149 people on September 29, 2009.


13. Men wear skirts

We call them ie lavalava and have ones for different occasions: bathing, cooking, church, clean the house, and even dance.


14. Samoa have faced 18 recorded cyclones

All of Samoa feel the effects of cyclones. When Cyclone Evan hit in 2012 it was heart breaking to see the huge loss our country felt. 


15. Close off villages for prayer time

Many villages in Samoa still adhere to the afternoon Sa where roads in and out are closed of so the village can pray together uninterrupted.


16. Sundays most shops and beaches are closed

Many shops will open early and then close until the evening, but majority of bigger stores will not open on a Sunday. Village beaches are not really open on a Sunday, but tourists can still swim in pools at hotels and private residences.

17. Have had two measles outbreaks.

1893 NZ steamer brought measles to Samoa and caused an outbreak where 1000 of the then 34,500 population died. In 2019 another outbreak saw 83 deaths of a population of 200,874.

Take a Samoan Course
18. The Samoan flag being raised means you need to remain stationary.

The Samoan flag is officially defined by the Official Flag and National Anthem of Samoa Act 1994. When it is being raised or lowered in public people and vehicles must stop and remain stationary until the performance is complete. Those who deface the flag or who wilfully insult it can be imprisoned for up to six months.

19. The highest peak is Mount Silisili

Also called Mauga Silisili with a height of 1,858 m/ 6096 ft.

20. Elections in Samoa are held every five years.

The next elections will take place in 2026.

Visit Polynesian Cultural Centre

21. The first female Prime Minister-elect is Fiame Naomi Mata’afa

Fiame Naomi Mata’afa was elected in the 2021 elections. Her father was Samoa’s first Prime Minister Mata'afa Faumuina Mulinuu II.

22. Samoa had the same Prime Minister for 22 years

Tuila’epa Sailele Malielegaoi was Prime Minister of Samoa for 22 years and changed the side of the dateline Samoa was on, the side of the road we drove on plus so many more positive changes.

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