At the Otara Flea-markets, I always whip around to the t-shirt stalls to see what witty slogans and images people have come up with.\u00a0 “The Sapelu’s” in the font of the TV show “The Sopranos”.\u00a0 “Freshy” in the font of the drink “Fresh up”.\u00a0 The “My mum can beat up your dad” t-shirt.\u00a0 But one of the more popular t-shirts, and my personal favourite I bought a few years ago, is the one stating:\u00a0 “There are two kinds of people in this world.\u00a0 Samoans, and those who wannabe.”\n\nBeing involved in a few Pacific Island student bodies at Uni, I noticed a lot of resentment against Samoans.\u00a0 Actually, let me rephrase that.\u00a0 I noticed that, we Samoans have a superiority complex over other Pacific groups (including Maori), which make some resentful of us.\u00a0 In Niu Sila \/ New Zealand, Samoans make up almost half the Pacific Population (131,100 or 49% of 265,974: 2006 Census).\u00a0 87,003 Samoans live in Aukilani \/ Auckland alone.\u00a0\nWe have Samoan judges:\u00a0 Judges Ida Malosi and Semi Epati.\u00a0 Samoan Members of Parliament: Luamanuvao Winnie Laban, Sua William Sio, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, Carmel Sepuloni (all currently sitting), Taito Philip Field, Anae Arthur Anae, Vui Mark Gosche (former MPs).\u00a0 Samoan All Blacks Rugby players: Bryan Williams, Olo Brown, Frank Bunce, Christian Cullen, Alama Ieremia, Ma’a Nonu, to name a few.\u00a0 Including Tana Umaga, Jerry Collins and Rodney Sooialo who all captained the All Blacks.\u00a0 Other Samoan sportspeople include: Bernice Mene, Maria Tutaia (Netball),\u00a0 Beatrice Faumuina (Olympian - discuss thrower), Ray Sefo (K1 Kick boxer), David Tua (Heavy weight boxer)… and the list goes on to other avenues in art and entertainment, education and academia.\u00a0 Samoans are everywhere.\nI’m not sure if it was exactly brainwashing by my parents, but growing up us kids we always felt proud to be Samoan.\u00a0 But it always seemed to be more than a feeling.\u00a0 It felt like it was in our blood.\u00a0 This supposed biological trait ’special only’ to Samoans were confirmed by the reaction of other Samoans I met throughout my life.\u00a0 We all felt there was something special to being Samoan, something inherent, something born in us.\u00a0\nTherefore, it isn’t hard to see how other people could interpret that Samoan pride into Samoan arrogance.\u00a0 Of course some of us Samoans would cheekily quip back with that line on my favourite t-shirt: “you’re just a wannabe Samoan”.\u00a0 Hence the popularity of the t-shirt.\nBut here in politically correct\u00a0Niu Sila, when we talk straight faced to other people, we wouldn’t admit to our supposed superiority complex, but deep down in our dark little subconscious closet, we tuck under the third shoe box from the left on the top shelf, that idea that because we are Samoan, we can do great things.\u00a0 And I guess that’s where it starts from.\u00a0 We Samoans don’t think other people are inferior, just that being Samoans is the best thing to ever happen to us!\u00a0 I’m not sure I’m doing it justice in my attempt to describe this inherent feeling Samoans have about ourselves.\u00a0 But it’s there, built in us.\u00a0 And unfortunately we flaunt it around a bit that we tend to be blind to the others we knock over with it.\nPacific Islanders only make up 6% of the total 4.3 million population of Niu Sila.\u00a0 Therefore, only 3% of the total population are Samoan.\u00a0 Cutting the small piece of the pie into smaller pieces is always going to cause some friction.\u00a0 But for many Palagi bureaucrats, lumping us all into one label, “Pacific Islanders”, was suffice for them to administer us brown folk.\u00a0 Therefore any policy developed in the last 20 years for Pacific peoples in Niu Sila was often heavily influenced by Samoan New Zealanders, as we are the largest group and occupied many of the roles that formulated policy.\u00a0\nSoon the word “fono” was being used for any type of Pacific Island meeting with Government agencies.\u00a0 The customary process of forgiveness in Samoan culture, “ifoga”, also entered the Palagi legal consciousness.\u00a0 Everything Pacific Island in Niu Sila really meant ‘Samoan’.\u00a0 Even on a colloquial level, after influences by Samoans on TV (BroTown, The Semisi’s etc), “Talofa”, “sole”, “Fa!”\u00a0and even “fafafine” all entered the Niu Sila vocabulary.\u00a0 And to us Samoans, we were largely oblivious to it, while some people in the smaller Pacific groups were not.\u00a0\nNowadays, cultural sensitivities amongst Pacific peoples has seen some change, with a Ministry of Health initiative to get Pacific peoples exercising called Lotu Moui (Tongan), and a move away from using the term Pasefika (Samoan term) to Pacific peoples.\nBut this sub-conscious self belief in being Samoan is by no means restricted to Samoans here in Niu Sila.\u00a0 We point to Amelika \/ America where there are Samoans: The Rock Dwayne Johnson, Mufi Hannemann (Mayor of Honolulu City), Eni Faleomavaega (Congressman) Troy Polamalu and Mosi Tatupu (NFL players), and the Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E.\n\nEven our very own Samoan Palemia \/ Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi has been showing a bit of that Samoan arrogance lately, against Commodore Voreqe (Frank) Bainimarama of Fiti \/ Fiji.\u00a0\nBack in February, Tuilaepa was unsure of what state of mind Bainimarama was in when he made comments about Samoa, Samoa\u2019s relationship with Niu Sila and the Pacific Islands Forum. \u201cI\u2019m curious if he [Bainimarama] was sober or perhaps there was a full moon out that night,\u201d Tuilaepa speculated.\u00a0 Asked what he thought of Bainimarama\u2019s claims that Samoa, Ausetalia \/ Australia and Niu Sila ganged up on Fiti at the Pacific Islands Forum, Tuilaepa giggled.\u00a0 \u201cNo, no, no, I think the good commander (Bainimarama) was misquoted by the media. What he may actually have meant was that the maturity of Samoa\u2019s leadership is on par with that of New Zealand and Australia . That\u2019s obviously what he meant.\u201d Nods head. \u201cTherefore, given that seniority, he should be keen absorb my tit-for-tat.\u201d\u00a0\nThis exchange was over Fiti’s current situation, where military man Bainimarama had overthrown the democratically elected Government of Fiti in 2006 and has since imposed military rule until what he perceives is a proper constitution is in place.\u00a0 It was also reported that Tuilaepa believed that Bainimarama had a problem comprehending the issues involved.\u00a0 \u201cTherefore I\u2019ll speak to him frankly from one Pacific islander to another Pacific Islander in a very clear and direct language that I\u2019m sure he will understand.\u201d And why does Fiti need an army for anyway, the Palemia quizzed.\u00a0 \u201cPerhaps Bainimarama fears a combined canoe attack from Tuvalu and Kiribati, its closest neighbours. That must be it.\u201d Tuilaepa nodded his head.\nThat was back in February.\u00a0 And today?\u00a0\nSamoa Observer reported yesterday\u00a0Tuilaepa called Bainimarama mentally ill.\u00a0 “Only the \u2018mentally ill\u2019 do what the Commodore has done in Fiji”, the Palemia said.\u00a0 He said Bainimarama was no different from Adolf Hitler since all dictators think alike.\u00a0 Tuilaepa made the comments while condemning the latest development in coup-ridden Fiti where the Constitution has been purportedly abrogated amidst a host of nasty incidents.\u00a0 Tuilaepa believes the military chief forced President Ratu Josefa Iloilo behind the scenes at gunpoint to reappoint him as Prime Minister.\nWhile Tuilaepa’s sentiments would’ve rocked a few boats if it were said by any other national leader, the only rocking of boats amongst Samoans themselves will be from all the giggling in delight.\u00a0 Tuilaepa may be an arrogant,\u00a0straight up, no-nonsense man, but Samoan people admire these traits as confidence (which has subsequently scared the recent Samoan opposition into non-opposition parties) and witty one-liners.\u00a0 It’s not a Samoan saying, but if sticks and stones hurt you, you shouldn’t be in politics.\u00a0 I think again, it all comes down to that Samoan self-belief that as a Samoan you can do great things, and also say things and get away with it.\u00a0\n\nThe same self-belief is probably driving another motive for Tuilaepa.\u00a0 For Samoa to overtake Fiti as the regional Pacific Islands power-house.\u00a0 As Fiti has stumbled with all the political coups in the last 20 years, Samoa has prospered.\u00a0 There has always been a traditional rivalry between Fiti and Samoa (and Toga \/ Tonga).\u00a0 But Samoa never recovered from the partition of the islands into Amelika Samoa \/ American Samoan and Samoa i Sisifo \/ Western Samoa, until recently.\u00a0 That split allowed Fiti over the years to be the hub of the Pacific, with many of the regional headquaters run out of Suva.\u00a0\nFiti is lucky because it is linked to the Melanesian islands through biology, but culturally they are Polynesian.\u00a0 Therefore, Fiti has allies amongst the Melanesian countries (They also have a loose co-alition under the Melanesian Spearhead Group).\u00a0 Whereas Samoa’s history in some of those Melanesian nations have only been about Samoan missionaries (EFKS) being sent over to convert the ‘heathens’ into God-fearing Christians.\u00a0 Samoan Missionaries had the same arrogant and ignorant puritanical zeal that Palagi missionaries had.\u00a0 Of course that only fed the Samoan superiority complex over other Pacific peoples.\u00a0 As for a Polynesian alliance?\u00a0 Well half of Samoa is with Hawaii, under Amelika.\u00a0 The majority of eastern Polynesian is part of Falani \/ France.\u00a0 Niu Sila is majority Palagi, and controls To’elau \/ Tokelau, Niue and the Lalotoga \/ Cook Islands.\u00a0 Toga is\u00a0undergoing a crisis with it’s\u00a0monarchy.\u00a0 And Tuvalu is sinking.\u00a0 Hmmm?\u00a0 But Samoa has once again felt the wind of change and wants to capitalise on Fiti’s downfall.\nSee, it’s all to do with that self confidence we Samoans have.\u00a0 And again, we leave ourselves open to accusations of arrogance by other people…\u00a0 And yeah, those other people are probably right.\u00a0\nBut as a typical Samoan,\u00a0ah well.\u00a0 Where’s that favourite t-shirt of mine?