Pacific Games torch relay baton design inspired by Samoan tatau

The baton for the Samoa 2019 XVI Pacific Games torch relay continues the theme of using traditional Samoan tatau (tattoo) designs.

It is decorated with tatau used for females, called the ‘malu’, and includes designs from the land, sea and air. 

Similar designs have been used on the Team Samoa apparel and the clock town in central Apia.

‘Malu’ means to protect or shelter and refers to the role of the woman to nurture her family and culture. Malu is from the word ‘mamalu’ meaning honour and dignity.

This reflects the sacred nature of tatau and is a symbol of what it means to be a tama’ita’i Samoa, and the notions of femininity, fertility and childbirth.

Each pattern holds a special meaning to the Samoan people such as the bird footprints, named after the bird 'Tuli' who is part of Samoa legend of creation. It represents the journey of the Samoan people, the migration and movement.

The frigate bird is a symbol of navigation, guidance and hope.

One of the unique patterns that is only found on the female tatau symbolises the extended tentacles of the jellyfish. This ancient sea creature is a strong symbol of femininity.

Both females and males can have the centipede tattooed as a symbol of strength, care and commitment for their extended family or aiga.

The torch relay is organised by the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture, and generously sponsored by Samoa Commercial Bank.

It will launch in late June, and run around Savai'i before coming to Upolu, and finishing in Apia just before the Opening Ceremony on 7 July. 

Tickets for the Opening and Closing ceremony are on sale now.