Mau Movement

Mau Movement

The Mau was a non-violent movement for Samoan independence from colonial rule during the early 1900s. The word 'Mau' means 'opinion' or 'testimony' denoting 'firm strength' in Samoan. The motto for the Mau were the words Samoa mo Samoa (Samoa for Samoa).

The movement had its beginnings on the island of Savai'i with the Mau a Pule resistance in the early 1900s with widespread support throughout the country by the late 1920s. As the movement grew, leadership came under the country's chiefly elite, the customary matai leaders entrenched in Samoan tradition and fa'a Samoa. The Mau included women who supported the national organisation through leadership and organisation as well as taking part in marches. Supporters wore a Mau uniform of a navy blue lavalava with a white stripe which was later banned by the colonial administration.

The Mau movement culminated on 28 December 1929 in the streets of the capital Apia, when the New Zealand military police fired on a procession who were attempting to prevent the arrest of one of their members. The day became known as Black Saturday. Up to 11 Samoans were killed, including Mau leader and high chief Tupua Tamasese Lealofi III with many others wounded. One New Zealand constable was clubbed to death by protesters.

The Mau movement eventually led to the political independence of Samoa in 1962.

Read more about Mau Movement:  History, Moving Towards Independence, 1962 Independence, An American Samoa Mau, Contemporary Influences

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