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Methodist Youth Groups perform Easter Sunday

tony@samoanews.com

Samoa News brings you a slide show of the Methodist Youth Groups and their performances during the Methodist Good Friday Youth Camp held as part of celebrating Good Friday and Easter Sunday here in American Samoa - 2014.

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Rubgy 'blooper reel' - A MUST WATCH

tony@samoanews.com

A rugby match between Vaiala and Vailele, stirs some funny moments between the players during the TMO Marist Flag Day Rugby Tournament.

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Review: Next Goal wins: And so does the audience

Opens April 25 at the Roxie Theatre in San Francisco

Set on the South Pacific island of American Samoa, Next Goal Wins introduces us to the survivors of a soccer match that ranks among the most misbegotten contests in the history of the sport.

In 2001, the team from American Samoa went head-to-head with the Australia soccer squad in a World Cup Competition match and suffered a loss of 31 to 0—the worst defeat in the history of professional soccer. With the 2014 World Cup approaching, the team decides to take a shot at redemption.

Can they overcome their humiliating reputation as "the World's Worst Soccer Team"? Yes, they can—with an improbable assist from an irrepressible, white-haired Dutchman.

To be clear: Next Goal Wins (a big hit at the 13th Annual Tribeca Film Festival) is not a slam-bang grunt-fest about the world of competitive soccer. It's something milder, sweeter and more beguiling. Instead of bulldozing the audience, the film starts out as a simple and undemanding tale—as casual and referential as someone's home movie. Set on the South Pacific island of American Samoa, the film introduces us to the survivors of a famously disastrous soccer match—one that ranks among the most memorably misbegotten contests in the history of the sport.

In 2001, the team from American Samoa went head-to-head with the Australia soccer squad in a World Cup Competition match and got knocked on their duffs. They suffered a loss of 31 to 0—the worst defeat in the history of professional soccer.

Since that dark day, the Samoans managed to score only twice in 17 years, losing every game they played. But with the 2014 World Cup approaching, the team decides to undertake an improbable shot at an impossible goal. Can they overcome their humiliating reputation as the "World's Worst Soccer Team"?

Next Goal Wins was independently produced by two die-hard British soccer-fans/filmmakers who put their own money on the line, despite the long-shot odds that this team would be able to turn their lead feet into gold.

As it turned out, the gamble paid off. Still, the film gets off to a slow start with a spate of islander interviews that are filled with coaching clichés, hackneyed positive-thinking preachments, and perhaps a bit too much Biblical psychobabble.

This is an island where ancient Samoan traditions (which still survive in the form of warrior songs, fierce Hakka chants and graceful communal dances) comingle with the trappings of imported colonial Christianity. (During services filmed in a local church, the Samoan flag and Old Glory share equal billing on opposite sides of the pulpit.)

Truth to tell, the players on the Samoan team, while big-hearted and good-natured, are absolute stumblebums on the soccer pitch. It is almost painful to watch. But just when it looks as though this film is going nowhere slow, a rogue agent tumbles into the story like a special-effects meteor falling from the sky.

The newcomer is a gruff and grizzled, white-haired galoot named Thomas Rongen. A former Dutch footballer (who once played with soccer legends like Britain's George Best), Rongen has been dispatched to the island by the US Soccer Federation in a last-ditch attempt to support the local players in their bid for redemption.

Fortunately, Rongen (a skinny, wiry cuss with a voice that sounds like John Goodman by way of Tom Waits) has charisma to burn. He not only fires up the team but his hyperkinetic, go-for-broke enthusiasm abruptly shifts the entire movie into overdrive.

In publicity interviews, the filmmakers admit they initially feared Rongen's unanticipated intrusion was going to poison their film. In fact, Rongen (nicknamed "TR") actually becomes the unexpected star of the documentary.

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Siva & Pese —38 photos + new slide show

Thirty-eight photos from Flag Day 2014 Siva & Pese at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

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Slideshows: American Samoa Flag Day highlights

“Government and Business in Partnership”
fili@samoanews.com

The one-day 2014 Flag Day celebration officially closed Thursday when the flags were lowered by the police honor guard just after 6:30p.m. following a full day of colorful festivities and speeches that went on despite sporadic rain in the Tualauta area, although other parts of Tutuila faced a heavy down pour in the afternoon.
 
Earlier in the day, during the opening ceremony, the governor’s chief of staff Fiu Johnny Saelua read Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga’s message of best wishes to the people of America Samoa for Flag Day. Lolo was watching the ceremony from Honolulu via KVZK-TV’s live stream feed online.
 
“I want to take this opportunity to wish all the people of American Samoa an enjoyable and happy Flag Day,” his message said. “Although I will not be there physically, I am confident by the fact, [with] the extension of my spirit, we are connected by our cultural and religious ties.”
 
Lolo thanked Samoa Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi for his continued presence at this annual celebration and welcomed head of the Tokelau government, Kuresa Nasau. He also welcomed representatives of the federal government and other overseas dignitaries.
 
To the people of American Samoa, the governor said, “Thank you very much for your prayers and well wishes for my speedy recovery and through your prayers, God has blessed me with renewed strength and toughness of spirit to continue to do His work… as a humble servant.
 
“Flag Day is your day. And is it dedicated to all of you, the people and residents of American Samoa,” he concluded.
 
Senate President Gaoteote Tofau Palaie delivered the Flag Day address, saying that Flag Day is to remember and respect the deeds of cession that were “signed by our forefathers” and the United States.
 
“This day holds special meaning and significance because it honors the wisdom of our forefathers when they entrusted, the hopes and dreams of our people to the greatest country in the world, the United States of America,” he said.
 
Gaoteote thanked the Lolo Administration for extending this invitation to the Legislature to deliver the annual Flag Day address — for the first time.
 
He then spoke about the sons of daughters of American Samoa serving in the U.S. Armed Forces and asked residents to remember them in their prayers. He noted American Samoa’s freedom was achieved due the military service of its sons and daughters.
 
To all Toa o Samoa serving around the world, Gaoteote said, “We salute you today, and every day for the difficult task you face in not only the protection of the United States and others around the world but especially our beloved American Samoa.” This prompted applause from the crowd.
 
He also extended special thanks to U.S. President Barack Obama as well as U.S. leaders for the continued great relationship with American Samoa that has lasted 114 years.
 
To Samoa, Gaoteote thanked the prime minister for his attendance, adding that despite the two Samoa’s different political governments, “We are one body, one blood, one language,” and with one motto to serve God and His people.
 
In the business sector, he says, the territory’s largest private employer is StarKist Samoa, whose workforce is 80% from Samoa. “Thank you for your hard work, this is your service to the government of American Samoa,” Gaoteote said, and noted that entertainment for the day is provided by two companies “that have made a huge impact on our economy” and have strong ties to Samoa.
 
For example, he said, “StarKist Samoa employs over 2,000 people with the majority of the employees from our sister island of Samoa. Bluesky [Communications] with roots that extend across the ocean to our sister country of Samoa, providing jobs and opportunities for over 200 people.
 
“To every business enterprise in the territory, whether you employ two or 100 employees, we thank you for promoting our economy,” Gaoteote declared. “We are here to celebrate the inalienable rights that we enjoy today, freedom, justice, and liberty. We owe it to our ancestors, to safeguard and expand this right for the next generation.”
 
In closing he thanked all government departments and their specific and important roles for the territory.
 
Lt. Gov. Lemanu Peleti Mauga, who is also the acting governor, gave brief special remarks, while StarKist Inc., president and chief executive officer Sam Lee spoke on behalf of the business community (see separate story).
 
CLOSING CEREMONY
 
The closing ceremony included traditional ‘sua’ or gift presentations to VIPs and special guests as well as the awarding of prizes in three main categories: fautasi race; pese and siva; and the men’s and women’s cricket tournament.
 
Based on information announced at the time, total cash prizes presented for the three events stand at $202,000: for the fautasi race — $74,000; for pese & siva — $100,000; and $28,000 for the cricket tournament.
 
The siva and pese prizes comprised $20,000 for each of the five participating groups.
 
It’s unclear how much the government allocated for the 2014 Flag Day celebration, but the committee sought and received donations from businesses and others.
 
Details on cash prizes in story below.

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Slideshows: American Samoa Flag Day highlights

“Government and Business in Partnership”
fili@samoanews.com

The one-day 2014 Flag Day celebration officially closed Thursday when the flags were lowered by the police honor guard just after 6:30p.m. following a full day of colorful festivities and speeches that went on despite sporadic rain in the Tualauta area, although other parts of Tutuila faced a heavy down pour in the afternoon.
 
Earlier in the day, during the opening ceremony, the governor’s chief of staff Fiu Johnny Saelua read Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga’s message of best wishes to the people of America Samoa for Flag Day. Lolo was watching the ceremony from Honolulu via KVZK-TV’s live stream feed online.
 
“I want to take this opportunity to wish all the people of American Samoa an enjoyable and happy Flag Day,” his message said. “Although I will not be there physically, I am confident by the fact, [with] the extension of my spirit, we are connected by our cultural and religious ties.”
 
Lolo thanked Samoa Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi for his continued presence at this annual celebration and welcomed head of the Tokelau government, Kuresa Nasau. He also welcomed representatives of the federal government and other overseas dignitaries.
 
To the people of American Samoa, the governor said, “Thank you very much for your prayers and well wishes for my speedy recovery and through your prayers, God has blessed me with renewed strength and toughness of spirit to continue to do His work… as a humble servant.
 
“Flag Day is your day. And is it dedicated to all of you, the people and residents of American Samoa,” he concluded.
 
Senate President Gaoteote Tofau Palaie delivered the Flag Day address, saying that Flag Day is to remember and respect the deeds of cession that were “signed by our forefathers” and the United States.
 
“This day holds special meaning and significance because it honors the wisdom of our forefathers when they entrusted, the hopes and dreams of our people to the greatest country in the world, the United States of America,” he said.
 
Gaoteote thanked the Lolo Administration for extending this invitation to the Legislature to deliver the annual Flag Day address — for the first time.
 
He then spoke about the sons of daughters of American Samoa serving in the U.S. Armed Forces and asked residents to remember them in their prayers. He noted American Samoa’s freedom was achieved due the military service of its sons and daughters.
 
To all Toa o Samoa serving around the world, Gaoteote said, “We salute you today, and every day for the difficult task you face in not only the protection of the United States and others around the world but especially our beloved American Samoa.” This prompted applause from the crowd.
 
He also extended special thanks to U.S. President Barack Obama as well as U.S. leaders for the continued great relationship with American Samoa that has lasted 114 years.
 
To Samoa, Gaoteote thanked the prime minister for his attendance, adding that despite the two Samoa’s different political governments, “We are one body, one blood, one language,” and with one motto to serve God and His people.
 
In the business sector, he says, the territory’s largest private employer is StarKist Samoa, whose workforce is 80% from Samoa. “Thank you for your hard work, this is your service to the government of American Samoa,” Gaoteote said, and noted that entertainment for the day is provided by two companies “that have made a huge impact on our economy” and have strong ties to Samoa.
 
For example, he said, “StarKist Samoa employs over 2,000 people with the majority of the employees from our sister island of Samoa. Bluesky [Communications] with roots that extend across the ocean to our sister country of Samoa, providing jobs and opportunities for over 200 people.
 
“To every business enterprise in the territory, whether you employ two or 100 employees, we thank you for promoting our economy,” Gaoteote declared. “We are here to celebrate the inalienable rights that we enjoy today, freedom, justice, and liberty. We owe it to our ancestors, to safeguard and expand this right for the next generation.”
 
In closing he thanked all government departments and their specific and important roles for the territory.
 
Lt. Gov. Lemanu Peleti Mauga, who is also the acting governor, gave brief special remarks, while StarKist Inc., president and chief executive officer Sam Lee spoke on behalf of the business community (see separate story).
 
CLOSING CEREMONY
 
The closing ceremony included traditional ‘sua’ or gift presentations to VIPs and special guests as well as the awarding of prizes in three main categories: fautasi race; pese and siva; and the men’s and women’s cricket tournament.
 
Based on information announced at the time, total cash prizes presented for the three events stand at $202,000: for the fautasi race — $74,000; for pese & siva — $100,000; and $28,000 for the cricket tournament.
 
The siva and pese prizes comprised $20,000 for each of the five participating groups.
 
It’s unclear how much the government allocated for the 2014 Flag Day celebration, but the committee sought and received donations from businesses and others.
 
Details on cash prizes in story below.

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Slideshows: StarKist CEO speaks on behalf of biz

2014 Flag Day celebrates business and government in partnership
fili@samoanews.com

StarKist Inc., president and chief executive officer Sam Lee says the United States has a national interest in American Samoa and praised the territory’s top leaders for their continued fight for territory’s interests in the federal government.
 
Lee spoke on behalf of the business community during Thursday’s 2014 Flag Day ceremony dedicated to the private sector, under the theme “Government and Business in Partnership”.
 
In his speech, Lee thanked the government for paying special tribute to the business sector and “we appreciate your recognition for us building the island economy, together with the people and the government.”
 
He says Flag Day is also a day to take time out to reflect and celebrate the fact that on Apr. 17, 1900 the U.S. Flag was first raised on Tutuila. He pointed out that the Flag Day celebration is “full of beauty, song and dance, [and] is certainly a fitting tribute for such a momentous occasion.
 
“Before we celebrate ourselves, I want to honor the brothers and sisters of American Samoa who are members of the United States military, both past and present,” he declared. “We are thankful and grateful for your service.”
 
Speaking proudly of the U.S. based company, he said, “StarKist is America’s favorite tuna. We are proud of our roots here in American Samoa.”
 
StarKist Samoa, as the largest employer in the territory, Lee honored his employees as well as the government, saying that “through your efforts, we are building America’s largest tuna company,” adding that the company has been here for over 50 years “through good times and tough times.”
 
Lee pointed out that StarKist’s success would not be possible without the hard work and commitment of its workforce. “When we needed extra production for our customers from time to time, our employees did not hesitate to come in on Saturdays to have extra production,” he said and thanked them.
 
“As we celebrate the significance of a Flag Day, we are reminded that the United States has a national interest in American Samoa,” the president and CEO of StarKist said, but didn’t elaborate further. “We know the right leadership is in place to help us succeed.”
 
And he thanked Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga and Congressman Faleomavaega Eni “for their support and leadership”, saying that “their leadership remains steadfast, undeterred as they continue to fight for American Samoa.”
 
What brought laughter from VIP and guests, is when Lee pointed out that it was a hot day at the stadium and therefore it’s not nice to have a long speech and ended his remarks. He did thank the close to 1,000 StarKist Samoa workers “for your good spirit and willingness to provide our wonderful entertainment.”
 
STARKIST SAMOA PERFORMANCE
 
The cannery workers were the first group to take center stage for siva and pese. In their ‘pese’ the workers sang that after 50-years of being part of the American Samoa family, StarKist, in 2014 — it is the first time the company has been invited to participate in the siva and pese. (StarKist has however participated in the past through the parade.)
 
The workers thanked the Lolo Administration for giving them this chance to showcase their talents and perform this year, as the government pays tribute to the business community.
 
To the government, through Acting Governor Lemanu Peleti Mauga, the cannery singers urged the government to “push, push for wages” in American Samoa to be considered by a special committee.
 
They thanked Faleomavaega for his efforts in postponing the past wage increases and urged to continue to do the same, so that StarKist can remain in American Samoa.
 
(The U.S. Government Accountability Office impact report on minimum wage hikes on American Samoa says that StarKist cannery workers, who participated in a discussion group last year, shared their opposition to further minimum wage increases rather than support for future increases. The GAO report says workers expressed concerns that any increase would result in lost jobs or a complete closure of StarKist Samoa.)
 
The workers shared their thoughts about the American Samoa Power Authority also.
 
First they thanked Utu Abe Malae for returning home and taking over the leadership post at ASPA. However, they claim the problem faced is the low water pressure despite the fact that the cannery pays on time their $10,000 a month water bill.
 
ASPA was also thanked for allowing the cannery to use land in Satala to build its cold storage facility. To end its thanks and message to ASPA, the group sang a Samoan rap song, which brought applause from the crowd.

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Slideshows: StarKist CEO speaks on behalf of biz

2014 Flag Day celebrates business and government in partnership
fili@samoanews.com

StarKist Inc., president and chief executive officer Sam Lee says the United States has a national interest in American Samoa and praised the territory’s top leaders for their continued fight for territory’s interests in the federal government.
 
Lee spoke on behalf of the business community during Thursday’s 2014 Flag Day ceremony dedicated to the private sector, under the theme “Government and Business in Partnership”.
 
In his speech, Lee thanked the government for paying special tribute to the business sector and “we appreciate your recognition for us building the island economy, together with the people and the government.”
 
He says Flag Day is also a day to take time out to reflect and celebrate the fact that on Apr. 17, 1900 the U.S. Flag was first raised on Tutuila. He pointed out that the Flag Day celebration is “full of beauty, song and dance, [and] is certainly a fitting tribute for such a momentous occasion.
 
“Before we celebrate ourselves, I want to honor the brothers and sisters of American Samoa who are members of the United States military, both past and present,” he declared. “We are thankful and grateful for your service.”
 
Speaking proudly of the U.S. based company, he said, “StarKist is America’s favorite tuna. We are proud of our roots here in American Samoa.”
 
StarKist Samoa, as the largest employer in the territory, Lee honored his employees as well as the government, saying that “through your efforts, we are building America’s largest tuna company,” adding that the company has been here for over 50 years “through good times and tough times.”
 
Lee pointed out that StarKist’s success would not be possible without the hard work and commitment of its workforce. “When we needed extra production for our customers from time to time, our employees did not hesitate to come in on Saturdays to have extra production,” he said and thanked them.
 
“As we celebrate the significance of a Flag Day, we are reminded that the United States has a national interest in American Samoa,” the president and CEO of StarKist said, but didn’t elaborate further. “We know the right leadership is in place to help us succeed.”
 
And he thanked Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga and Congressman Faleomavaega Eni “for their support and leadership”, saying that “their leadership remains steadfast, undeterred as they continue to fight for American Samoa.”
 
What brought laughter from VIP and guests, is when Lee pointed out that it was a hot day at the stadium and therefore it’s not nice to have a long speech and ended his remarks. He did thank the close to 1,000 StarKist Samoa workers “for your good spirit and willingness to provide our wonderful entertainment.”
 
STARKIST SAMOA PERFORMANCE
 
The cannery workers were the first group to take center stage for siva and pese. In their ‘pese’ the workers sang that after 50-years of being part of the American Samoa family, StarKist, in 2014 — it is the first time the company has been invited to participate in the siva and pese. (StarKist has however participated in the past through the parade.)
 
The workers thanked the Lolo Administration for giving them this chance to showcase their talents and perform this year, as the government pays tribute to the business community.
 
To the government, through Acting Governor Lemanu Peleti Mauga, the cannery singers urged the government to “push, push for wages” in American Samoa to be considered by a special committee.
 
They thanked Faleomavaega for his efforts in postponing the past wage increases and urged to continue to do the same, so that StarKist can remain in American Samoa.
 
(The U.S. Government Accountability Office impact report on minimum wage hikes on American Samoa says that StarKist cannery workers, who participated in a discussion group last year, shared their opposition to further minimum wage increases rather than support for future increases. The GAO report says workers expressed concerns that any increase would result in lost jobs or a complete closure of StarKist Samoa.)
 
The workers shared their thoughts about the American Samoa Power Authority also.
 
First they thanked Utu Abe Malae for returning home and taking over the leadership post at ASPA. However, they claim the problem faced is the low water pressure despite the fact that the cannery pays on time their $10,000 a month water bill.
 
ASPA was also thanked for allowing the cannery to use land in Satala to build its cold storage facility. To end its thanks and message to ASPA, the group sang a Samoan rap song, which brought applause from the crowd.

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Fautasi Fiva — 97 Photos + new slide show

Up close at the Flag Day Fautasi Race. Over 90 photos taken from the water near the long boats.

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Photos and Video: The Manulele Tausala l dances gracefully on glassy water

Kapiteni Manutafea Saleauau Tanielu Taufete’e and his fit, young, bravehearts made their Manulele Tausala l performed a taualuga, the last waltz on smooth water, and the Nu’uuli tapua’iga, supporters around the world and in the territory danced to their tune.
 
The Nu’uuli manu flew, and jazzed over glassy waters from the start to finish.  Skipper Manutafea was there, controlling the beat and pace along with his Nu’uuli oarsmen, 45 strong young men. They graced the magnificent conditions of the racecourse from five miles out to a near photo finish classic to the end.
 
With one last push, one last breath, and final long winning strokes, the Nu’uuli Manulele Tausala l edged the Pago Pago Aeto to win the 2014 Flag Day faigamea ile tai by a foot or two.
 
“Ole ‘ula legei o faigamea (this is the crown of victory).  But it is not something to be proud of or brag about.  Yes we have won the race, yet the most important thing to me is the camaraderie, the sportsmanship established among the competing crews and their captains.  I thank God for His protection during the race.  Everyone is safe,” the solemn captain commented.
 
It was one of the most competitive races held on the most ideal of situations. The sea was almost flat. The fantastic weather was ready made for the Aeto. It was calm, smooth and level. 
 
The Pago high tech fautasi lived up to its reputation as Va’amua began to make his move from six to seven fautasi length behind the Manulele Tausala l.
 
It was a battle between the technologically advanced Aeto, and the close to 30-year old Manulele Tausala l standard fiberglass fautasi. The difference was in the mind, the raw power, heart of a champion, and the experience of the kapiteni.
 
The Aeto was gaining, and sprinting fast as it tried to catch up with the Manulele Tausala l and the Paepae O Ulupo’o that were leading the race. Skipper Va’amua Henry Sesepasara was way behind. Manutafea and his Manulele Tausala were way in front. The Aeto’s superior design had an advantage over the Manulele Tausala l and the new Paepae O Ulupo’o. 
 
Captain Va’amua knew the power of his Aeto and believed he had a chance to overtake the two leading fautasi.
 
The Aeto was the fastest boat in the race. There was no doubt about it.  ut Va’amua did not have a good jump out of the starting blocks. By the time he got his Aeto rolling, Manutafea and his Manulele Tausala l were at a safe distance.
 
Va’amua knew the conditions of his crew and fautasi. They could make up loss time in a matter of minutes. That was what they did. The Aeto was flying from behind and soon Va’amua over took kapiteni Paopao Ailua Fiaui and his Aua Paepae O Ulupo’o at the main dock in Fagatogo. 
 
Va’amua then zeroed in on his #1 target, the leading Manulele Tausala l. He locked in on Manutafea’s fautasi as both kapiteni barked their orders to their auva’a for the final push to the finish line.
 
But as the Aeto sharpened its claws and dove in for the kill, Manutafea’s manu began its gracious siva, the taualuga (last dance). 
 
Both were birds that could fly fast and high. The Aeto is the ultimate bird of prey. The Manulele Tausala is a bird of beauty and grace. 
 
“This was what I wanted all along,” Manutafea told this correspondent after the faigamea ile tai. “Two birds fighting it out for the champion.”
 
About 300 meters to the tigi, the Manulele Tausala l foemua, Lavata’i warned his captain, “le Aeko lega ua sosolo age (the Aeto is gliding by)”, according to Manutafea. 
 
The Nu’uuli captain had his back to the fast approaching Aeto.  He explained that some of his auva’a yelled for him to give the order for the sprinting strokes to take their boat away from the danger posed by the imposing Aeto. But he said he knew that it was not yet time to signal for the last fast strokes.
 
He shouted back, “Don’t worry, there’s plenty of time and space to cover.”
 
Manutafea said he did not have any worries what so ever when Va’amua and the Pago Aeto caught up with them. “I believed in the strength of our auva’a.I just hoped that they were patient enough, listened to my orders, and not panicked. We were doing fine with our long strokes and I wanted to conserve the crew’s last energy for the final push.”
 
Va’amua actually surged ahead by a couple of seats when he called on his auva’a to take the Aeto home with his final rapid strokes. But with about 100 meters to go to the finish line, Manutafea demanded what his auva’a had asked for.  They responded with a concerted heave that took the Manulele Tausala l just ahead of the Aeto to cross the mua line in exhaustive fashion.
 
In his cool, clear and friendly manner, the Nu’uuli captain Manutafea congratulated Va’amua, his crew and the village of Pago Pago for their efforts. “You fought a good race, and I congratulate you.”
 
Then he addressed his village of Nu’uuli and the tapua’iga.
 
“To our Nu’uuli traditional leaders, church ministers, families, friends and businesses, on behalf of my crew and afioga Solia’i and his auva’a (Senator Solia’i Tuipine captained the Manulele Tausala ll), I thank you so much for your tapua’iga, support, and prayers.  We have won this year’s tu’uga va’a through your prayers and support. Your young auva’a trained hard and long for over two months to bring you the mua. We thank God for his blessing.
 
“To all the villages, their tapuaiga, kapiteni and crews, we thank you for a very competitive race.  Malo le figau.  It is not the victory but the friendship that we have fostered through faigamea ile tai.  Thank you”, the victorious captain of the Manulele Tausala l from the village of Nu’uuli concluded.
 
Paepae O Ulupo’o slid into 3rd place, last year’s winner, Fua’o came in 4th, Fetu ole Afiafi finished in 5th place while the Manulele Tausala ll arrived at the tigi in 6th place. The Fealofani ll secured 7th place, the Fa’asaulala approached the finish line in 8th position while the Ise’ula came in last.
 
It was a fair race for at least seven of the fautasi, Manulele Tausala l/ll, Paepae O Ulupo’o, Fealofani Samoa ll, Fa’asaulala, Aeto and Fua’o. When the Tatoso tugboat blared its horn to start the tu’uga va’a, they were behind the buoys that marked their lanes. The Matasaua, Fetu ole Afiafi, and Ise’ula were in front of their lanes when the race started. 
 
Samoa News Sports reporter Tony Gasu interviewed Va’amua of the Aeto fautasi from Pago Pago who finished second.  He also caught up with Paopao Ailua Fiaui, captain of the Paepae O Ulupo’o.  The Aua village fautasi took third place.
 
Va’amua Sesepasara
 
“First of all, I want to thank God, for giving us this perfect day to have our fa’agatama i le tai, it was such a beautiful day. As to the race, there were 10 fautasi, the Fuao and Aeto were close to the airport side of the starting point, so it was hard for both of us to see the other boats who were far away on the eastern side of the starting point, so we couldn’t tell how their alignments as to the beginning of the race.”
 
He added, “we had a great start on our side as to the four boats who were on our side, as the race went on, I could tell that all the boats on our side of the starting point close to the western side of the island, were falling back as the competitor on the eastern point were gaining forward very fast, but the race was spectacular from the start.”
 
Va’amua explained his experience as they were trying to make their way to the front, “we were trying our best to try and catch up to the other fautasi’s who were already ahead of us, I believe that my crew is unbelievably strong, and I have a lot of faith in them that they can do anything and can catch all the fautasi’s that were way ahead of us. When the race reached Breakers Point, I could see that Aua and Nu’uuli were way ahead of us by two fautasi lengths.”
 
He added, “I had faith in my crew that they had the strength to catch up to them, and as we reached the point behind the Rainmaker Hotel, I knew that we were already to the point of gliding pass the two fautasi’s that were ahead of us, but as the gap between the red buoy and the reef at the turning point was so small, I knew that all three of us couldn’t fit in there, so I made a choice because our boat was very close to the buoy.
 
He added, “I had to make a decision to changed my course, because I knew it would be a disaster for all three boats if I tried to fit in that sharp turn as well, so I slowed our boat down and took the wider turn to make the straight away to the finish line, which had to be behind Aua and Nu’uuli again. My choice gave Nu’uuli and Aua the opportunity and chance to be ahead of us again. When all three boats were making the straight sprint to the finish line, Nu’uuli and Aua were ahead of us by one and a half of a fautasi length.
 
Va’amua mentioned that he never lost faith in his crew, and pushed on, “so we had to chase them back all over again, and again we caught them as we were passing the market area. After passing up the Paepaeulupo’o, we had quite the competition against Nu’uuli’s Sa No.1. Getting closer to the finish line, I was a bit disappointed because there were no markers at the finish line, to notify us as to where the finish line was. So when we reached the usual finish point from the past, we still didn’t know as to weather we finished or not, until we heard the gun shot from the shore line going off, I guess it was to notify us the we’ve reached the finish line.”
 
He added, “coming on shore after the race, I am hearing rumors all around saying that the Aeto won, and some rumors saying that Nu’uuli won, and then rumors saying that it was a tie. So that was one of the errors that we had in this years race, was there were no markers or flags like every year, to notify each crews as to where the finish line was. But overall, the race this year was good, all the participating fautasi’s did well today.”
 
Fiaui of Aua
 
“As long as American Samoa was pleased with the race, I am pleased as well. All the fautasi’s who participated today were in this race to win, and that was our goal for this race as well, to “mua” or win. I know we were the ones who broke out in front, but it didn’t go according to what we practiced, but I am glad we all did our best for Tutuila and Manu’a’s special day (Flag Day).”
 
He mentioned that he tried his best and his auva’a gave it their all, “my encouragements to my crew was, for them to remember our village of Aua, their prayers, their thoughts, their support was the encouragement that pushed our Sa in todays race. That was the encouragement that my grandfather passed onto me when I was young, and now I want to pass it onto my auva’a”.
 
Fiaui’s grandfather, Paopao Ailua Petelo has a famous saying in the village of Aua “Ia sulu la’ia o lau taufale i luga o le pou, ‘ae aumai ga’o lou fatu”. He mentioned, “and that was what we did today, we gave it everything we had, and came back to our village with no regrets knowing we left our best out there today.”
 
Fiaui told Samoa News this is only the beginning, “there are a lot of young Aua youth members who weren’t able to take a seat in today’s competition, the young youth who are in high school and in college, and we also have a lot of veteran rowers who are most likely to retire from rowing. So we don’t have a problem with crew members as to the upcoming races in the future, this is just the beginning.”
 
He concluded, “first of all I want to thank the fautasi committee of coordinated this years race, secondly, I want to thank our village of Aua, le nofo i fa’afeagaia, fata faitaulaga e fia i totonu o le matou nu’u, ae mai se fo’i alo ma fanau o le nu’u nei o lo’o ala'ala mai nu’u mamao. E le pine le lafo mai o alofa’aga ma nofo tatalo mai i le taumafaiga a le nu’u. Ia alofa le Atua fa’amanuia atu uma lava i fans a le Paepaeulupo’o, fa’afetai.”
 
Coors Light, the major sponsor of the 2014 American Samoa Flag Day Fautasi Race is distributed exclusively by GHC Reid & Co., Ltd. 'Oloa O Leala', your family of Fine Beverages.  Today, Coors Light congratulates the Manulele Tausala l from the village of Nu’uuli for winning the 2014 Flag Day Faigamea ile tai. 
 
Coors Light also acknowledges the participation of nine other fautasi.  They were: Fua’o (Vatia), Paepae O Ulupo’o (Aua), Aeto (Pago Pago), Fealofani Samoa (Fagasa), Iseula (Fagatogo), Fetu Ole Afiafi (Faga’alu), Manulele Tausala II (Nu’uuli), Fa’asaulala (Vailoa), Matasaua (Manu’a). 
 
Other GHC Reid companies that brought you Samoa News Sports coverage of the fautasi faigamea ile tai are: GHC Reid, Samoa Motors, NAPA Samoa, and SLC Manufacturing (Vaimalu). 
 
Samoa News Sports would like to thank Olivia C. Reid-Gillet captain, Peter Jr. Reid and Arthur Young for the use of their boat, Sau Ia for our fautasi race coverage.

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