The tanoa (also called kava bowl) is used to serve kava, a drink made from the crushed or ground root of a pepper plant mixed with water. When prepared, kava looks like muddy water. It has a sharp taste and has a reputation for being relaxing while sharpening mental clarity. The drink, sometimes called “kava kava” or “ava,” is used socially in Samoa, but also has ceremonial use, such as during weddings or funerals.
The tanoa is a rounded bowl cut from a hardwood tree and normally has four supporting legs. Tanoa bowls have almost as much significance as kava, and they are often made as works of art. But while the tanoa and kava are used throughout the island region, Samoans have a long history of adding additional legs – sometimes ending up with as many as 20.
The to’oto’o and fue sticks are emblems used by Samoan leaders. The to’oto’o, or Samoan Orator’s Staff, is carried by the tulafale, or orators. The staffs are plain and undecorated, but are smoothed and polished. They should not be taller than the orator himself, and there are many traditions for how and when they are used.
Fue sticks resemble fly swishes and are typically made for chiefs from braided coconut fiber, or horsehair. Although they seem to have the obvious use of shooing away flies, they are used only when the chiefs are acting as orators. Often a fue stick is used as a stalling tactic, as the speaker swishes it from shoulder to shoulder in a dignified, distracting manner, while gathering his thoughts.
The quarter also bears the territory’s motto, Samoa Muamua le Atua, which means “Samoa, Let God be First.”