135 Top Samoan Last Names Or Surnames, With Meanings

Steeped in Polynesian paradise, Samoan last names have witnessed the growth of culture and heritage over the millennia. The Samoan people have been under the control of European powers like Germany and Britain but eventually fought their way back to independence (1). Over the years, the natives struggled to keep their languages and traditions alive, but the influence of foreign rule is still reflected in their surnames. Many Samoan surnames have foreign roots but are still common in the country. Traditionally, the Samoans did not have a surname and were known only by their given names. Later, colonial influence introduced them to the concept of surnames after which they started to adopt patronymic surnames. Hence, several of these surnames are also given names. Most traditional Samoan surnames may not have any known meanings but they have been in use for decades. Let’s take a closer look at Samoan last names to observe the interesting fusion of tradition and modernity.

135 Popular Samoan Last Names With Meanings

Samoan surnames are the flag-bearers of their rich culture and heritage. Let’s have a look at the most popular last names in the island country.

Common Samoan Last Names

Here are Samoan last names that have stood the test of time and continued to sustain over all these years.

1. Afoa

The surname Afoa does not have any known meaning. Olympic swimmer Evelina Afoa is a popular namesake known for holding numerous records in swimming.

2. Agi

Agi may have Samoan roots, but its meaning is not popularly known. It is also a first name and a surname in different languages. In Japanese, Agi means ‘tree’ or ‘wood.’

3. Ah Liki

Ah Liki’s origins and meaning are not known but it is a popular surname in Samoa.

4. Ala

Ala is a Samoan surname but not many are aware of its meaning. It finds its roots in other languages and holds diverse meanings. For instance, it means ‘noble’ in German.

5. Alaalatoa

The meaning of Alaalatoa may not be known to many but it is a known surname in Samoa. It is also written as Ala’alatoa. Vili Ala’alatoa and his son Allan Ala’alatoa are two of the most prominent name bearers known for being exceptional rugby players.

6. Anae

The Samoan surname Anae does not have any known meaning. Olympic gold medalist Tumua Anae is a noteworthy namesake because of her exceptional performance in water polo.

7. Apa

Rooted in Samoan history, Apa’s meaning may have been lost through the years but the name came into the spotlight following the rise in popularity of actor KJ Apa.

8. Ausage

The meaning of Ausage may not be known but it is believed to be derived from the given name Ausage.

9. Auva’a

Samoan rugby player Kirisome Auva’a could be credited for popularizing the surname across countries. Its meaning is not popular with regular folks but is a known surname amongst the Samoan people.

10. Betham

Betham has Samoan roots but is not limited to Samoan lands. It is known in different countries through popular personalities such as American ballet dancer, Jaclyn Betham and Samoan former boxer Richard Betham.

11. Chappelow

Chappelow has English roots and is a known last name in Samoa. It is a habitational title linked to a building named Chapel How in Ambleside in Westmorland.

12. Collins

The family name Collins has diverse roots. In Welsh, it means ‘hazel grove,’ while its Norse meaning is ‘swarthy’ or dark.’

13. Craig

Craig is a Scottish surname that means ‘small rocky hill.’ Even though of Scottish origin, the surname is common in many countries including Samoa.

14. Elei

Yet another name with English roots, Elei is a habitational title derived from Ely, a cathedral city located on an island in the fens north of Cambridge.

15. Ey

Ey is a known Samoan surname with varied origins. It is likely to have German roots as it could be derived from the name Aye meaning ‘pointed edge.’

16. Faletutulu

Pronounced as Fa-le-tutu-lu, it is a traditional Samoan surname but its meaning is yet to unknown to most people.

17. Felise

Felise is also a given name that is also used as a last name. Rugby players Maika Felise from Samoa and Felise Kaufusi from New Zealand are two of the most popular namesakes.

18. Fuimaono

Australian rugby player Tyrell Fuimaono is a famous bearer of the surname. He is of Samoan descent and is famous for playing for the National Rugby League.

19. Gilchrist

Samoan last names, Gilchrist

Image: Momjunction Design Team

As evident from the spelling, Gilchrist is a religious surname that means ‘servant of Christ.’ It is of Scottish Gaelic origin and is alternatively spelled as Gilchryst, Gillcryst, or Gillchreist.

20. Grey

Having English roots, the surname Grey refers to a person with grey hair. It is also a habitational title referring to Graye in Calvados France.

21. Hale

With English origin, Hale is a topographic title denoting a person who resided near a corner of a land.

22. Hauora

Hauora refers to a Maori philosophy that believes in four dimensions of hauora: taha tinana – physical health, taha hinengaro – mental health, taha whanau – self-esteem, and taha wairua – personal beliefs.

23. Hine

Originating in Old English, the surname Hine is an occupational title that means ‘household servant’ or ‘farm laborer.’

24. Hunt

An occupational surname, Hunt has English roots and refers to the act of hunting animals.

25. Ida

Derived from a German given name Ida, it means ‘prosperous’ and ‘industrious.’ It is also connected to the Old Norse goddess Iðunn.

26. Jones

Rooted in English and Welsh, Jones is a patronymic surname that means ‘son of John.’ The last name is common in Wales and southern central England.

27. Kala

The surname Kala is common in Samoa and many other countries as well. Amongst diverse roots, it also finds its origins in Czech and Polish in which it is the the pet form of given names that begin with Kal.

28. Kale

Derived from a given name, Kale comes from the German Köhl. It is a habitational name referring to the people from villages of East and West Keal in Lincolnshire.

29. Kalo

Kalo is a Hungarian occupational name referring to a full cloth or a flattened rough cloth made by using beating equipment.

30. Kari

The surname is derived from a given name. Inspired by the Greek Makarios, the surname Kari means ‘fortunate’ or ‘blessed.’

31. Keil

Keil has roots in the German language and means ‘wedge’ or ‘wooden peg.’ Singer Eliza Keil is of Samoan descent and is famous for her pop music.

32. Kiana

With German roots, the surname refers to ‘pine.’ It is also considered the Hawaiian variant of Diana.

33. Laei

Laei finds its roots in Italian and it means ‘wool.’ It could be an occupational title referring to a ‘wool merchant.’ Alternatively, it also means ‘lion’ in Albanian.

34. Laki

Rooted in Cebuano language, Laki is the short version of Lalaki, which means ‘male.’

35. Lam

Lam has diverse roots and is one of the less prominent surnames in Samoa. It means ‘blue’ in Cantonese and ‘lamb’ in Danish.

36. Lanuola

The Samoan surname is derived from the Tongan given name Lanuola, meaning ‘living color.’

37. Lee

Lee is a surname with diverse origins and immense popularity as it is prevalent in various countries including Samoa. It is a topographic title referring to someone who lived near a meadow.

38. Leiato


Having Italian roots, Leiato could be derived from the term levato meaning ‘sourdough.’

39. Leiataua

Samoan politician Leiataua Soloa is a known bearer of this title. There is no information available about this surname.

40. Leota

Leota may be a familiar name because of the numerous regions across America that bear this name. Trevor Leota is a popular namesake who is a former rugby union player for Samoa.

41. Liu

Liu has Chinese ancestry but is still a known surname in Samoa. It means ‘battle axe’ in Chinese.

42. Lui

Lui is a common Chinese surname and also a known title amongst the Samoan people. It means ‘thunder’ in Chinese. Alternatively, it also means ‘July’ in Italian.

43. Lutu

The surname Lutu has English roots and means ‘little.’ It also finds its roots in the German language but its meaning is not known.

44. Mabel

The Samoan surname is derived from the English feminine name Mabel meaning ‘dear’ or ‘lovable.’

45. Maiava

Maiava is a traditional Samoan surname. American former footballer Kaluka Maiava is a noteworthy bearer of the surname.

46. Manaia

Derived from a given name, the Samoan surname Manaia means ‘nice’ or ‘beautiful.’

47. Mariner

Mariner finds its roots in Middle English as it is derived from the term mariner meaning ‘sailor’ or ‘seaman.’

48. Mauga

Mauga is a habitational surname linked to the village located on Savai’i Island, Samoa. In Samoan, mauga means ‘mountain.’

49. Mele

In Italian, Mele is a term of endearment that means ‘honey.’ It is also the name of a commune located in the Genoa province in Italy.

50. Meredith

Not a traditional Samoan surname but still a popular last name in Samoa. Meredith has Welsh roots and it means ‘great ruler.’

51. Moana

Derived from a given name, Moana means ‘ocean’ or ‘deep sea.’ Moana became a popular name after the Disney movie of the same name was released in 2016.

52. Nomura

Nomura is a Japanese surname that means ‘village in the field.’ The surname is common in American Samoa.

53. Ott

Ott is a German surname that means ‘wealth’ and ‘prosperity.’ It is not a usual Samoan surname but is common in Samoa.

54. Paul

Paul is a patronym of Latin origin. It means ‘humble’ or ‘small.’ It is popular in Samoa as well as in many other countries.

55. Pereira

In Portuguese and Galician, Pereira means ‘pear tree.’ It is a popular surname in many countries including Samoa.

56. Peters

Having English origins, Peters is a patronymic surname derived from a given name that means ‘rock.’ American rugby player Leonard Peters is a noteworthy bearer of this surname.

57. Rangi

According to Maori mythology, Rangi is an integral part of the creation myth. New Zealand-born rugby union footballer, Anaru Rangi is a notable namesake.

58. Rasmussen

Rasmussen is a patronymic surname of Danish and Norwegian origins that means ‘Rasmus’ son.’ Dale Rasmussen is a Samoan former international rugby union player.

59. Retzlaff

Samoan last names, Retzlaff

Image: Momjunction Design Team

Retzlaff is a surname of Slavic origin. It means ‘battle glory.’ Samoan politician Misa Telefoni Retzlaff is a famous name bearer known to have held important positions in Samoan politics.

60. Safotu

Safotu is a habitational surname referring to a village in Savai’i island in Samoa. According to Samoan mythology, Safotu was Fotu, the child of Lafai.

61. Scanlan

Rooted in Irish, Scanlan could be derived from the surname Scanlon, which means ‘descendant of Scannlán.’

62. Shuster

Shuster is a High German occupational name that means ‘maker or repairer of shoes.’ Samoan former rugby union player, Peter Schuster is a famous namesake known for playing as a fullback.

63. Sio

The Samoan surname Sio finds its roots in Asian culture. In Chinese, Sio means ‘misery’ or ‘desolation.’

64. Smith

Smith has English and Scottish origins. It refers to a worker who works with metal. It could be an occupational surname for a blacksmith.

65. Solaita

Solaita is a traditional Samoan surname. The last name was popularized by American baseball player Tolia “Tony” Solaita who was the first American Samoan to have made it to Major League Baseball.

66. Sua

Sua is a given name and a Samoan last name. It is also written as Su’a. Samoan politician Sua Rimoni Ah Chong is a notable namesake who led the Samoa Party.

67. Suani

Rooted in Italian, Suani could be inspired by the habitational title Siano, which is a town located in the province of Salerno, Italy.

68. Sunia

Sunia is a given name and surname as well. It has Italian roots coming from the term subbia meaning ‘chisel.’ It is a known surname in American Samoa and may be used for a person who worked with a chisel for his daily work.

69. Taaga

The surname Taaga is more prominent in American Samoa than in any other country. It has Polish roots and refers to an ‘unstable wagon.’

70. Taito

Taito is a surname derived from the Ancient Roman name Titus, which means ‘title of honor.’

71. Talia

Inspired by Italia, Talia could be an Italian topographic title that is also used as a given name

72. Tamaroa

Tamaroa was the name given to the native North American people. Related to a wild cat, the name comes from the Illiniwek term tamarowa, which means ‘cut tail.’

73. Tanielu

The surname Tanielu is derived from a given masculine name. It is a Samoan variant of Daniel, a Hebrew name meaning ‘God is my judge.’

74. Tasi

The surname Tasi is found in Samoa but it is not as common as its counterparts. New Zealand’s rugby union player Tautalatasi Tasi is a known name bearer famous for playing in Major League Rugby.

75. Teuila

Teuila is a versatile title. If it is a traditional surname in Samoa, then it is also a nickname for an intelligent individual in the Philippines.

76. Te’o

The traditional Samoan surname Te’o is popular because of famous name bearers such as American footballer Daniel Te’o-Nesheim and New Zealand’s rugby player Ben Te’o.

77. Thompson

Rooted in diverse languages and coming from Scotland and England, Thompson is the variant of Thomson, which is a patronym meaning ‘son of Thom.’

78. Tilo

Samoan last name, Tilo

Image: Momjunction Design Team

Tilo is not only a Samoan surname but also a German masculine name. It is also the name of a tree and herb.

79. Too

Too’s Samoan meaning cannot be discerned, but it also has Chinese roots and it holds the meaning ‘hot water.’

80. Tua

Tua is a versatile surname with multiple roots. In Catalan, it means ‘porous limestone,’ while its Turkish meaning is ‘young man.’ New Zealand’s boxer David Tua is a popular namesake.

81. Tuala

Tuala is a given name that is also used as a Samoan surname. Samoan rugby union player Ahsee Tuala is a popular namesake who has contributed to popularizing the surname.

82. Tulafale

Not just a surname, Tulafale is a title given to an individual who works as an adviser and debater in matters of public policy in Samoa.

83. Tupua

In Samoa, the term Tupua Tamasese refers to a state dynasty and is one of the four important chiefly titles in the country. Tupua was the name of Salamasina’s descendant, King Tupua Fuiavailili.

84. Tupuola

Tupuola’s meaning is not available in the public domain but it is a traditional Samoan surname. American professional rugby union player Marcus Tupuola is a popular bearer of this surname.

85. Ufuti

The surname’s meaning is not popularly known but it is a common title in American Samoa.

86. Vaea

Vaea is a surname and a masculine name. It is inspired by Mount Vaea located on Upolu island in Samoa. Tuala Mathew Vaea is a known Samoan rugby player who was also the manager of the Samoa National Rugby Union in 2011.

87. Vaega

A habitational surname, Vaega is the name of a village located on the Savai’i island of Samoa.

88. Vaiala

Vaiala could be a habitational surname related to the village located on the Upolu island in Samoa.

89. Westerlund

Westerlund is a habitational surname that means ‘western grove.’ It is of Swedish and Danish origin but is one of the most popular surnames in Samoa.

90. Wright

An occupational title, Wright refers to a worker who works with or shapes wood. It is a popular surname in England as well as Samoa.

91. Yandall

Yandall is a common surname in American Samoa. It is derived from the habitational surname Yendell meaning ‘lamb hollow’ or ‘dell.’

92. Yun

The surname Yun has Asian roots but is also known in American Samoa. It is a Korean last name that means ‘govern.’

Popular Samoan Last Names

Popular Samoan surnames exhibit the diversity in the country. Many of these surnames have foreign origins but are still popular in Samoa.

93. Brown

The English last name Brown refers to a person with brown complexion or brown hair. Based in Australia, Ymania Brown is a Samoan LGBT rights activist and lawyer.

94. Chen

Rooted in Chinese, the surname Chen means ‘ancient’ or ‘old.’ It is a popular surname in Samoa.

95. Danielson

A patronym, Danielson means ‘son of Daniel.’ The surname is common in American Samoa.

96. Elisara

Even with no known meaning attached to the surname, Elisara is a popular title in Samoa. American Samoa footballer, Pita Elisara was a famous bearer of this surname.

97. Fano

Having diverse roots, Fano has many meanings. In Italian, it is derived from the name Stefano meaning ‘crown’ or ‘wreath.’ In Danish, it is a habitational name referring to the island of Fanø located in the province of Esbjerg.

98. Faumuina

The meaning of Faumuina may not be popularly known but it is a known surname in Samoa. Rugby union player Charlie Faumuina is a popular namesake who plays for Samoa at the international level.

99. Fruean

Of known meaning, the Samoan surname Fruean is known for its noteworthy namesakes. American Samoa football player Sandra Fruean and New Zealand rugby union footballer Robbie Fruean are some of its most popular namesakes.

100. Ho

Ho is a Vietnamese surname also popular in Samoa and Asian countries such as China and Korea. It is considered a variant of the Chinese He, meaning ‘ask.’

101. Hunkin

Samoan last names, Hunkin

Image: Momjunction Design Team

Rooted in Middle English, Hunkin comes from the personal name Hunn referring to a ‘young bear’ or ‘bear-cub.’

102. Ieremia

Derived from a given name, Ieremia is a popular surname in Samoa. Entrepreneur and choreographer Neil Ieremia from New Zealand is a noteworthy namesake famous for being appointed Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services.

103. Ioane

Ioane is a surname popular in Samoa but has Roman roots. It is derived from the given name Ioan, which is a variant of John meaning ‘God is gracious.’

104. Lafaele

Not many know the significance of Lafaele but it is a popular surname in Samoa. The American Samoan-born rugby union player Timothy Lafaele is known for playing for Japan’s rugby league.

105. Magalei

Having Arabic roots, Magalei is likely derived from El-Sayed or Sayed meaning ‘lord’ or ‘master.’

106. Pago

Pago is a popular name in American Samoa. It is the name of different regions and natural structures in the country.

107. Puletasi

Puletasi is the Samoan term for a traditional item of clothing worn by women in Samoa. As a surname, it is common in American Samoa.

108. Samuelu

Samuelu is the Samoan variant of the Hebrew name Samuel, meaning ‘name of God.’ Samoan politician Fuimaono Teo Samuelu is a noteworthy namesake known for being a part of the Human Rights Protection Party.

109. Savea

Savea has varied roots. In French, it means ‘sand.’ In Samoan, it is a patronymic surname. New Zealand’s rugby union player Ardie Savea is of Samoan descent and famous for being named World Rugby Player of the Year in 2023.

110. Tagaloa

In Samoan, Tagaloa is the term given to the supreme being or the God of the universe. According to their mythology, Tagaloa Lagi created the land, seas, sky, water, trees, and people.

111. Tuigamala

Tuigamala’s roots are not known, but it is a popular surname in Samoa. Former rugby player from Australia Sonny Tuigamala is a noteworthy personality because of his good sports career.

112. Wang

Traditionally a Chinese surname, Wang is also a known surname in Samoa. It means ‘royal’ or ‘king.’

113. Williams

Williams is a patronymic surname that means ‘descendant of William.’ It does not have Samoan roots but is one of the most common surnames in Samoa.

114. Young

Young finds its roots in the Irish surname Ó hÓgáin or Ógáin meaning ‘young.’ It is a known surname in Samoa and other countries including Scotland and Sweden.

Unique Samoan Surnames

Samoan surnames may not have any known meanings but still represent a unique culture. Here are traditional and unique Samoan surnames.

115. Faamausili

The meaning of Faamausili is not popularly known, probably because it is a rare surname. Professional rugby player Poasa Faamausili from New Zealand is a popular namesake.

116. Fatialofa

Not many may be aware of the meaning of Fatialofa because it is a lesser-known Samoan surname. Peter Fatialofa from New Zealand is a notable namesake famous for playing professional rugby.

117. Fepulea’i

Actor and comedian Tofiga Fepulea’i from New Zealand is famous for being a part of the comedy duo Laughing Samoans. Fepulea’i is a unique surname with no known meaning.

118. Fuamatu

It may be difficult to ascertain the meaning of the Samoan surname Fuamatu as it is an uncommon last name. Samoan athlete Emanuele Fuamatu is famous for bagging multiple international awards in the shot put competitions.

119. Laulala

Having a cute ring to it, Laulala is a Samoan surname whose meaning is not available in the public domain. Rugby union player from New Zealand Casey Laulala is a popular namesake known for a successful career.

120. Lealamanua

Lealamanua is yet another Samoan surname with no known meaning. Rugby union player Kasiano “Kas” Lealamanua is a notable namesake.

121. Leuluai

Thomas Leuluai is a famous bearer of this traditional Samoan surname. Hailing from New Zealand, he is known for being an international rugby player.

122. Maivia

Like many other Samoan surnames, Maivia too does not have a known meaning. However, it was popularized by Samoan wrestler Peter Maivia, grandfather of WWE superstar Dwayne Johnson.

123. Masoe

Masoe is a Samoan surname with French roots. It is an occupational title referring to ‘mace or hammer.’ Rugby league football player Mose Masoe is a popular namesake known for being a part of the St Helens, Champions of Super League Grand Final in 2014.

124. Moala

Moala’s history may not be known but famous individuals such as American former footballer Fili Moala and New Zealand’s rugby player George Moala have helped make the surname more popular.

125. Muagututia

The Samoan meaning of Muagututia is not known but it also has Greek roots, which hold the meaning ‘truth.’

126. Nu’uausala

A carrier of the Samoan heritage, Nu’uausala is a surname without a specific meaning attached to it. The rugby player Frank-Paul Nu’uausala from New Zealand is a noteworthy name bearer who was a part of the winning team Sydney Roosters who bagged the NRL Premiership in 2013.

127. Palamo

Palamo is a known surname in Samoa but it has Spanish roots. It means ‘pigeon dove.’ Samoan politician Aveau Niko Palamo is a notable namesake known for holding several important positions in Samoan politics.

128. Palepoi

Palepoi is yet another Samoan surname that does not have any known meaning. American former football player Anton Palepoi is a famous name bearer known for playing multiple seasons in the National Football League.

129. Puletua

The surname Puletua is pronounced as Puu-le-tuu-a and means ‘authority’ or ‘leader.’

130. Salavea

The surname is also written as Salave’a. Manaia Salavea is a rugby player of Samoan descent. He is known for being a part of the Samoan team for numerous international rugby championships.

131. Savea

Savea is a rare Samoan surname. It also has Greek roots as it could be inspired by the personal name Savvas, meaning ‘old grandfather.’

132. Seufale

Seufale is a Samoan name that has been in use for many years and could be used as a patronymic surname. It is pronounced as seu-fa-le.

133. Taufua

Rugby union player Sa Jordan Taufua is a popular namesake of this uncommon Samoan surname with no known meaning. He is famous for playing in the French team Lyon.

134. Tuiasosopo

Tuiasosopo has an interesting sound. American former baseball utility player Matt Tuiasosopo is a popular name bearer of this rare surname that has no known meaning.

135. Vaai

Vaai may not have a specific meaning but it has a few notable namesakes who have helped popularize this surname. This includes the Samoan Minister of Works, Transport, and Infrastructure, Olo Fiti Vaai.

Samoan last names can give you an idea of how their people have evolved through the years. The influence of European and Asian cultures is evident in these last names. Whether through colonization, migration, or trade, several external forces have had a huge impact on the culture and heritage of the Samoan people. However, they continue to adapt to the ever-changing times while still holding on to their ancestors’ legacy. The meanings of most of these surnames may have been lost to time but the Samoans do not fail to carry it with pride.


MomJunction’s articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Samoan Claims (Germany, Great Britain, United States).
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Ratika Pai
Ratika holds a master’s degree in commerce and a post-graduate diploma in communication and journalism from Mumbai University. She has 6 years of experience writing in various fields, such as finance, education, and lifestyle. As a content writer at MomJunction, Ratika writes insightful and informative articles on marriage, relationships, and baby names. She keenly observes human relationships and enjoys studying…read full bio

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