Samoa is made up of eleven itūmālō (political districts). These are the traditional eleven districts that were established well before European arrival. Each district has its own constitutional foundation (faavae) based on the traditional order of title precedence found in each district's faalupega (traditional salutations).
The capital village of each district administers and coordinates the affairs of the district and confers each districts' paramount title, amongst other responsibilities.
Examples of District Governance
The two paramount matai - called Tama a Aiga - are Tupua Tamasese, which is conferred by the Aiga Sa Fenunu'ivao (Descendants of Fenunu'ivao, mother of Tupua Fuiavailili) of Falefa and Salani; and Matā'afa, conferred by the Aiga Sa Levālasi (Descendants of Levālasi, mother of Salamāsina) of Lotofaga and Āmaile.
Samoa's first Prime Minister, Fiame Matā'afa Faumuina Mulinu'u II was the last holder of the Matā'afa title.
The current holder of the Tupua Tamasese and Tui Atua titles is former Prime Minister and Head of State Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi.
A'ana has its capital at Leulumoega. The paramount title of A'ana is the Tui A'ana. The orator group which confers this title – the Faleiva (House of Nine) – is based at Leulumoega. The paramount matai title of A'ana is Tuimalealiifano. The current holder of both titles is the current Head of State, Tui A'ana Tuimalealiifano Va'aletoa Sualauvi II.
In Tuamasaga, the paramount matai title of Malietoa is conferred by the Sa Malietoa of Malie. However, the paramount papa titles of Gatoaitele and Vaetamasoalii are conferred by the Fale Tuamasaga based in Afega. The current holder is Malietoa Moli, son of former Head of State, Malietoa Tanumafili II.
|Upolu (including minor islands)|
|1) including islands Manono, Apolima and Nu'ulopa|
|2) including the Aleipata Islands and Nu'usafe'e Island|
|3) Exclaves Salamumu and Le'auva'a on Upolu|
|4) includes 1,123 individuals in institutions, which are not divided by district|
Exclaves of political districts
Note that several districts include multiple exclaves:
- Gaga'emauga: besides the main part on Savai'i, there are two small exclaves on Upolu: Salamumu and Le'auva'a – this is the only district with areas on both main islands
- Satupa'itea: consists of two separate areas on the south side of Savai'i
- Palauli: consists of two separate areas on the south side of Savai'i
- A'ana: besides the main part, there is a small exclave (Satuimalufilufi village)
- Va'a-o-Fonoti: besides the main part, there is a small exclave (Faleāpuna village)
- Aiga-i-le-Tai: includes the islands Manono, Apolima and Nu'ulopa
- Atua: includes the Aleipata Islands and Nu'usafe'e island
The itūmālō are further subdivided in 41 faipule districts. They have no administrative function, but serve as electoral constituencies. The faipule districts are also used as regional units for statistics.
The faipule electoral districts are based loosely on the traditional sub-districts of the Itūmālō. For example, the faipule districts of Anoama'a West and Anoama'a East are based on the traditional sub-district of Anoama'a in the northern half of the Atua district.
At the local level, there are 265 villages. Additionally, there are 71 villages in Tuamasaga district the capital Apia is composed of (58 villages in Vaimauga West and 13 in Faleata East electoral districts). Apia does not have a common administration, the local power rests with the constituent villages.