Steve Tofa

Steve Tofa was born in Samoa with music always a big part of family life. His mother was a singer and his father a guitarist; so he was always surrounded by music in the family and the community.

His musical tastes are very broad, feeling each genre has something to offer musically and culturally. Although he was too shy to sing when younger he has played guitar since the age of twelve but eventually also started singing.

A major musical influence was the Beatles, whom his father loved, and from their music he learned to appreciate and understand song structure, melody and lyric composition.

Today Steve Tofa loves to share music and ideas with his seven children and watch them marvel and wonder at all the splendid things music has to offer.

Steve Tofa

Samoa

There are hundreds of islands in Oceania scattered across the vast South Pacific. An interesting archipelago is the Samoan Islands, lying approximately mid-way between New Zealand in the southwest and Hawaii in the north of Polynesia.

Settled by sea-borne migrants approximately 1000 years before the Common Era, it has had a complex political history over the last centuries. Today there are two separate political entities: American Samoa, an unincorporated territory of the United States of America; and the Independent State of Samoa, previously known as Western Samoa. However, they share longstanding cultural traits, fa’a Samoa, and also a tradition form of governance, fa’amatai.

Historically the archipelago’s islands were known as the Navigator Islands due to the maritime skills of their sailors. European contact began in the eighteenth century with Dutch and French exploration but it was the British who established prolonged contact. In the 1830s Christian missionaries with the London Missionary Society arrived, along with traders, and profoundly altered or supplanted pre-colonial religious beliefs and practices. Germany, pursuing its colonial ambitions became involved in the region in the mid-nineteenth century. Eventually, competition for regional supremacy between Germany, the United States and Britain lead to conflict and a protracted civil war between the various internal Samoan factions and their colonial supporters. At the end of hostilities in 1899, the Samoan Islands were divided up between the United States (eastern islands) and Germany (western islands). However, at the beginning of World War 1 New Zealand’s Allied troops seized the western islands bringing to an end German colonial rule. Samoa was then governed by New Zealand under the mandate until 1962 when Samoa gained independence from New Zealand’s colonial control.