Welcome to Tonga and Samoa

Tongans and Samoans intermarried, traded and warred with the Fijians, who were only a few days away from them by sailing canoe.  Like the Fijians, they fought with spears, slings and stones, and clubs.  Short throwing clubs and long two-handed clubs for hand-to-hand fighting were their most lethal weapons.  Because of ongoing contact among the three island groups Tonga, Samoa, and Fiji shared several club types. The billet or pole club, for example, was common to all three groups. 

The coconut stalk club was developed in Tonga, from which it spread to Samoa.  In both Tonga and Samoa, because training for fighting was so important, mock battles were fought using the long, heavy palm leaf stems after which coconut stalk clubs were modeled.  Trial competitions and exhibitions gave men the opportunity to demonstrate their manhood and develop the skills they needed to fight with the actual clubs.  

The Samoans also made unique club types such as the toothed club.  Elegantly shaped and finished, old Samoan hardwood clubs generally did not include surface decoration. The Tongans, on the other hand, developed a sophisticated style of all-over carving featuring rectangular areas filled with geometric motifs, to which small figures of humans and animals were sometimes added.  Broad paddle clubs covered with surface decoration may have been introduced to Fiji from Tonga or carved in Fiji by Tongan craftsmen.