The name of the district literally means: “near side of the mountain” meaning the eastern side of the mountain chain running through the centre of Savaii. The capital of Gagaemauga is Saleaula, where the district chiefs and orators meet at Vaitu’utu’u malae.
Saleaula maintains strong traditional connections with Safotulafai through the paramount chiefly title of Letufuga.
The parts of this district which are in Upolu arose because of the 1905 volcanic eruption on Mt Matavanu. The eruption destroyed villages in its path and transformed the northern half of this district into lava fields which are still visible today. The people of the affected areas were evacuated to Upolu, where they established the villages of Leauva'a and Salamumu. Despite the move, they still retained their traditional links and faalupega affiliations to Gagaemauga. The very names of Leava'a and Salamumu denote the events of the 1905 Mt Matavanu eruption.