No fautasi teams to represent the Territory at Samoa’s 50th
None of the four fautasi from American Samoa invited for Samoa’s Jubilee celebration will attend their Independence Day, while three local “siva and pese” groups and one cricket team will represent the territory at the annual celebration in Apia.
This was revealed by Samoan Affairs deputy secretary Nanai Afuola during a news conference Wednesday at the Office of Samoan Affairs. Samoa’s Independence Day celebration is set for May 31 to June 4 with many local residents heading to Apia for this event, which is expected to attract hundreds of overseas visitors, boosting that country’s tourism industry.
Nanai says four fautasi were invited, but village and fautasi leaders have decided not to take part and the decision is supported by Gov. Togiola Tulafono and Secretary of Samoan Affairs Lefiti Atiulagi Pese.
The invited fautasi are Aeto of Pago Pago, Satani of Nu’uuli, Fua’o of Vatia and Sharks of Samoana High School. Aeto took first place in this year’s Flag Day celebration and second place went to Satani.
Nanai says fautasi and village leaders have turned down the invitation because of the shortage of time for them to train and prepare for this event in Samoa. One of the issues involved for local teams is that Samoa will only allow traditionally longboats and not fiber glass built fautasi and traditional Samoan oars must be used, and not the spoon oars.
Nanai told Samoa News last week that about $6,000 would be needed by each fautasi team to build traditional Samoan oars, which are a requirement for the Samoa race.
Three local groups will take part in the traditional ‘siva and pese’ and one village cricket team — Vatia — is headed over to participate. All groups are currently scheduled to leave the territory around May 30.
Nanai said the Alataua county group is providing traditional Samoan pese, or song, while the village of Aasu is tasked with the traditional siva, or dance. He says Alataua will also provide the traditional Samoan gifts and presentation for American Samoa after their performance.
Also attending the Samoa celebration is the group from Vailoatai, whose invitation came directly from the Samoa government. The group from Vailoatai, made up of dancers from the village and members of the SOFIAS, participated in this year’s Flag Day festivities along with the Alataua county group.
Nanai also said that the men’s cricket team, Manuula of Vatia has been invited and will participate in the championship tournament for the Samoa Independence Day. Nanai said the Vatia team will be among four teams to compete.
The other three teams will consist of one team each from Upolu island, Savai’i island and New Zealand.
Although they were not this Flag Day’s cricket champions, Nanai said the invitation was sent specifically for Vatia.
(Samoan versions of this story ran in the Samoa News, Thursday, May 10, 2012: “Sauni aumalaga a le teritori mo le sisigafu’a a Samoa” and “Leai ni sa o Amerika Samoa e tausinio i le tu’uga fautasi a Samoa” — and they can also be found on samoanews.com)