KJ Apa has been named a Samoan chief in a traditional ceremony.
The New Zealand-born Riverdale star, whose father is Samoan and a matai (chief) of his village in Samoa, revealed to his Instagram followers that he had officially received the Samoan chief title of Savae before village elders in a ceremony.
KJ, 25, shared a photo of the ceremony held in the village of Moata’a, located on the island of Upolu in Samoa. In the photo, the actor is shown kneeling in traditional garb before his elders.
“O la’u fautuaga - o le a ou tautua i le tatou aiga ma le tatou nu’u. Fa’afetai i le Atua,” he captioned the post. The words translate to, “My goal is to serve my family and my village (Moata’a) Thank you God.”
ET Canada reports that during the ceremony, KJ gave a speech in Samoan. Translated to English, his speech included that he “wished God’s blessings upon the people of his village, the wider family and all those present (at the ceremony).”
The ceremony included KJ singing hymns, drinking from a coconut shell, and later removing his traditional garb and gifting it to his elders.
Other chiefs in attendance reportedly praised KJ’s decision to further embrace his Samoan heritage and the responsibilities that come along with the honorary Savae title.
In February 2021, he admitted to Jimmy Kimmel that he didn’t feel “adequate” to become chief at the time, calling it a “huge responsibility”.