Nafanua :The Warrior Princess
Nafanua was a historical ali’i or queen and toa of Samoa, who was part of the S Tonumaipe’a clan. She was known for her achievements and was regarded as a goddess in the local religion. She was given the title of goddess of war because she was highly regarded by her family and village council. As a goddess of war, she was responsible for protecting her family and saving her village from enemies.
Various mythological and historical traditions about Nafanua’s life and family have been presented. She reportedly played a significant role in the civil wars that occurred in the western and eastern portions of Savai’i during the time of Nafuana. During this time, the two sides were competing for the title and land of the entire island.
During the war, Lilomai’ava would often catch people from the west side of the island and force them to climb a coconut tree. This was done to show his power and prove that he was capable of conquering the whole island. Nafanua managed to stop this activity gaining immense respect from her tribe.
She was depicted as being a strong woman who was mistaken for a man. Despite her feminine and soft features, her intensity and skills at battle often left men believe that she was one of them.
The great war ended because Nafanua’s apana (shirt) was blown upward by the wind revealing her breasts. Up to this time the men did not know she was a woman. When they discovered that she was a woman, they decided to end the war. They felt humiliated because there was only one woman among several men fighting the war and convincingly beating them.
According to Samoa’s mythology, Nafanua was the daughter of a demigod known as Saveasi’uleo, who was also known as the Ali’i of the town of Pulotu. It was regarded as a historical site and an afterlife for Samoa’s warriors similar to Valhalla for the Vikings. In one of her traditions, Nafanua was the mother of Tilafaiga, who was the sister of the famous twins known as Taema.
Powers and Abilities
Being a skilled warrior, Nafuanua had an extended arsenal of weapons at her disposal. During the war, Nafanua used her first and primary weapon, the Ta Fesilafa’i. It’s a wide-hook style weapon that has multiple sharp points on both sides. She made and gave Matuna and her adopted parents, who were known as Matuna and Matuna, a weapon known as the Fa’auli’ulito. The weapon’s shape and appearance resembled a stick, but it has a thick, wide, and round edge.
The Ulimasao considered to be a stand-by weapon that can be used to end a war and bring peace to the region. The word “Ulimasao,” which literally means driving safely, refers to this weapon. It’s shaped like a canoe paddle and has a pointed edge. One of the most dangerous weapons that Nafanua had was the Fa’amategataua. According to legend, this weapon was never meant to be used. However, she was lucky that she didn’t need to use this weapon, as it was called the Weapon of Death. This weapon, which is shaped like a spear, has teeth on both sides and can kill everyone.
Modern Day Influence
After the great war, Nafanua prescribed roles and responsibilities to various clans and tribes including governance, protection, agriculture, treasury etc. This administrative structure is still followed by the local Samoans even today.
Nafanua also continues to be an inspiration to both men and woman alike who model their fighting skills after her. The weapons that she used in battle are now used for ritualistic dances and performances. Her story has been reproduced in various forms to keep the heritage alive and inspire young girls to be equal to men.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Nafanua the God of?
In Samoa, Nafanua is regarded as the goddess of war. The title was given to her due to her impeccable character and her loyalty to her family and village. As a goddess, she was also responsible for saving her community from enemies.
Who are Nafanua's parents?
According to legend, Nafanua was the child of Saveasi’uleuo, who was the god Pulotu. It’s believed that Tilafaiga, who was the mother of the goddess, brought tattooing to Samoa from the country’s local deity, Fiti.
Which village is Nafanua from?
The village of Falealupo, situated on the western side of Savaii’i, is where Nafanua is believed to be residing. It’s also where the entrance to the spirit world of Pulotu is located. Chiefs from distant islands and villages would often visit the village to ask for Nafanua’s blessings.
How did the great war in Samoa end?
The great war ended after Nafanua’s apana, which had been blown by the wind, revealed her breasts. The men, who didn’t know that she was a woman at that time, decided to end the war after realizing that she was a woman. They were reportedly humiliated because only one woman participated in the battle, and she was able to beat the other men.
What weapons did Nafanua use?
During the war, she used her primary weapon, which was known as the Ta Fesilifa’i. It’s a wide-handed weapon that has multiple points on both its sides. She made another weapon known as Fa’auli’ulito, which is a type of stick-like object that’s shaped like a stick. The Ulima’sao, which is a stand-by type of weapon, can be used to bring peace to the area and end the hostilities.