KJ Apa made Samoan chief of his village in a traditional ceremony

2 September 2022, 16:31

KJ Apa unveils new moustache

By Rachel Michaella Finn

KJ shared an image of the ceremony on Instagram, writing: "My goal is to serve my family and my village (Moata’a) Thank you God."

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Riverdale star KJ Apa has been made a Samoan Chief in his home village of Moata’a.

The 25-year-old received the Samoan chiefly title Matai on Thursday (Sept 1) during a traditional ceremony, and shared the incredible moment on his Instagram account.

Samoan Matai titles are bestowed upon family members during a cultural ceremony called a saofa’i, which marks the formal acceptance of a new matai by their family and village into the circle of chiefs and orators.

READ MORE: KJ Apa and girlfriend Clara Berry welcome baby boy Sasha Vai Keneti Apa

KJ Apa becomes a Samoan chief in traditional ceremony
KJ Apa becomes a Samoan chief in traditional ceremony. Picture: @kjapa via Instagram

Following the ceremony, KJ shared a message of thanks on Instagram, writing in both Samoan and English.

The actor wrote: “O la’u fautuaga - o le a ou tautua i le tatou aiga ma le tatou nu’u. Fa’afetai i le Atua. My goal is to serve my family and my village (Moata’a) Thank you God.”

KJ's friends and colleagues all congratulated him on the ceremony. Riverdale creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa left a comment, reading: "You did it!!! I know how much you have wanted this. So proud of you!"

Last year, New Zealand-born KJ spoke about his Samoan heritage while speaking on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, explaining his father’s own title.

When asked about his father’s roots, Apa said: “He is a matai, yeah. He holds the matai title, chief title, of the village that he’s from and I’m from, called Moata’a, in Samoa.”

Apa confirmed his grandfather was also a matai and that the title passed to his dad after his grandfather’s death. At the time, the actor said he wasn’t sure if the title will pass to him in the future.

“I don’t know. I can’t speak Samoan, so it’ll be something for me to take that would be kind of, I would think it’s a huge responsibility,” he said. “I don’t really feel adequate, to be honest, but I doubt myself in almost everything that I do.”

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It looks like KJ had nothing to worry about however, as he is said to have given his “full testimony in the Samoan language”, according to local news outlet Talamua.

The publication states that the chiefs also “commended the actor’s courage to take on this step in accepting his Samoan heritage and culture as well as his new responsibilities”.

In a 2017 interview with Vulture, KJ said that Samoan culture has “always played a massive part” in his life.

“I’ve got hundreds of family on my dad’s side that live in Samoa and in New Zealand. I’ve just been surrounded by the culture ever since I was a kid,” he said. “I actually used to speak Samoan, but me and my sisters all kind of lost it. We go there at least once a year to see family.”

Congratulations to KJ!

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