A whole village in Samoa has come together to offer a traditional apology to the families of two men murdered, allegedly by one of its own.

The people of the village of Falefa, on the north-east coast of Upolu, arrived at the village of Leulumoega in the early hours of this morning to formally apologise to the families of two men killed - including Hamilton man Alesana Satele.

The 69-year-old had arrived in the island nation for a short holiday, on Thursday, November 22.

His body, as well as that of a 42-year-old local man, would be found just after 7am (6am NZT) the next day in what Samoan authorities called a "horrific'' scene.


A 24-year-old man has been arrested and charged in relation to the double homicide and is due to appear in court on December 10.

The traditional apology is a practice known as "ifoga'' and sees close and extended family members of a wrongdoer formally apologise and seek forgiveness from a victim's family.

Those participating in the practice sit bowed outside a victim's family home and are covered with fine mats.

If a family chooses to accept the apology, the fine mats are removed.

In ancient times, and on very rare occasions, those involved in an ifoga could be killed on the spot. Other ifoga can last for days.

One of Satele's four adult daughters, who travelled to Samoa with their mother after the news of their father's death, said they were given gifts from Falefa.

"As a sign of respect for my father, the killer's village arrived well before dawn to apologise to the village of Leulumoega that the killer originated from their village.

"They brought fine mats, meat and money as a gift to Leulumoega.''


A source from Falefa told the Herald that village leaders and high chiefs had decreed that the whole village would travel to take part in the ifoga, rather than the alleged killer's family doing it alone.

Samoan Police have yet to give any other details about the crime and the reasons behind it.

However, authorities told the Satele family that money was a possible motive for the killings; as the men's belongings - including Satele's passport and wallet - had been taken from the scene.

Satele, a grandfather of 12, had earlier withdrawn his pension of $1000tala (NZ$567).

Satele's family are due to bring their father back to New Zealand for a funeral to be held next week.

It follows a memorial service held in Apia late last week.