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3 WISE COUSINS ON ISLAND – TODAY AT REGAL NU’UULI TWIN CINEMA

The long awaited comedy/drama will be in theatre for 6 days only
tony@samoanews.com

The Samoan based comedy/drama, “3 Wise Cousins” will finally show tonight at the Regal Nu’uuli Twin Cinema – the first release of the long awaited movie in American Samoa. Its film script is delivered in English & Samoan with a focus on Pacific humor to deliver its uplifting message to all movie goers.

 

Three Wise Cousins will be showing at the theatre starting today — Friday, April 29 — and will run till Wednesday, May 4, 2016. This is an exciting launch of a motion picture production on island, as this is the first time that a movie produced in the South Pacific has hit the big screen here on island — compared to other local productions that were featured at the Gov. H. Rex Lee Auditorium (fale laumei).

 

The last professionally cut motion picture project that trended popularly within our Samoan community here and abroad was The Tulafale or Orator, but even they couldn’t launch this big.

 

The 3 Wise Cousins became popular after releasing teasers and trailers of the project on social media last year, and since that time, the locals have been eagerly waiting for the release of the movie in its full length on island.

 

Starring actors for the 3 Wise Cousins, Vito Vito and Fesui Viliamu visited Samoa News yesterday afternoon, escorted by their Marketing and Distribution Manager Tautiaga Tiatia — who told Samoa News that making the trip to American Samoa wasn’t easy.

 

“The purpose of being here is to promote the movie,” the trio told Samoa News. “The reality is, New Zealand, Australia and pretty much the whole Pacific have seen the film, but it took us a while to get it here in American Samoa, because of the process we had to go through”.

 

Tiatia explained, “We basically had to deal with America — we had to deal with a lady in California in order for us to bring the film here. So we had a lot of people on our Facebook page that were getting quite aggravated, asking us when the film will be coming to American Samoa. We just wanted to come and have our presence here, and I brought the guys along for a sort of meet and greet, just to give the people a treat.”

 

According to Tiatia, this is the first film that he has been involved in.

 

”Stallone, our director, and I have worked together on previous projects, but this is also his first film," Tiatia said, adding that "80 percent of the movie was filmed in Samoa and it was about a three-week project — in New Zealand it took a bit longer because of financial setbacks.”

 

He said, “Basically, this film is self-funded – when they came over, Stallone ran out of money, we had to go back and work to make up more money, and then we shot the rest of the film during the weekends — and we tried to adjust to everybody's schedule.”

 

Being the first Samoan produced film to hit the big screen in American Samoa, Tiatia told Samoa News that “the film, compared to what else is out there, cost us $80,000 – if you compare it to other films that come out with multi-million dollar projects, this whole movie was filmed off one camera with eighty grand.”

 

When asked if their ticket sales — so far in New Zealand and Australia — would reimburse all the money they've spent on making the film, he said, “We try not to dwell on the money but in terms of what we made back, we were able to cover the money we spent – and more.”

 

According to Tiatia, money isn't the driving force in this effort. He said, “The initial reason the project was done – it was for the people.”

 

He added, “It's always been for the people and we've been blessed that the people have gotten behind it. We’ve been blessed that we've been able to make better cash — on the way to being able to get more of our stories on screen.”

 

When asked about the selection of their cast, Tiatia said, “Well, these two” —referring to Vito and Viliamu — “met with Stallone on a FRESH segment called Mr. Lavalava – a lot of people, like Vito and Fesui, are from that program. (FRESH is a popular New Zealand television program.) Stallone had actually directed that segment, and Will the producer on the film was involved in it too – so the casting was pretty much set back then.”

 

Tiatia told Samoa News that the idea of the 3 Wise Cousins came up with Fesui and Vito. He said he thought “these two would be good in the movie” and they actually cast them before they were in the film.

 

"When asked if there was a message behind the comedy/drama of 3 Wise Cousins, Tiatia said, “We don't want to give away that part of the movie – but what we will say is that you will leave the cinema uplifted, you will feel enlightened from the movie. Yes, there’s comedy — it's going to make you laugh and it's going to make you feel good, it's going to encourage you and uplift you.”

 

Samoa News asked Tiatia what their goal was in producing the 3 Wise Cousins. 

 

He replied, “It goes back to the motive behind it – it's for the people. There are messages in the movie that we want the people to see, and there are some messages that are lost in the younger generation – these are lessons that we feel aren't really being taught, so we wanted to portray these messages in a fun filled wrap up.

 

“But at the core of it, there's a really nice takeaway there for all ages. No matter what age you are, you will really take something with you after watching the film,” Tiatia said.

 

Samoa News asked Tiatia if they will come out with a part 2 or a sequel to the film. He said, “The success of the film has actually allowed us to pursue our dreams. We do have a part two in the works — but get out and see part one and then you'll see, and join the rest of the world, that wants part two.”

 

He noted, “The backstory is – it's an underdog story. We are a small group of people who self-funded the film, and now we're self-distributing  – we're not going to a major distribution company, we're actually doing all the work ourselves, so in terms of the future, we're actually paving the future right now. It sets us up going forward. There's going to be a couple of channels that are really taking this on as a real day time profession – we all have day time jobs.”

 

When asked how the public and fans of 3 Wise Cousins will be able to purchase DVD's of the film, Tiatia said, “When you screen in cinemas, there are rules in the contract saying you cannot release any DVD or VOD either in iTunes or anything like that – until 90 days after you've finished your screen run, which is why you never see DVDs sold at the same time the movie is in the theatre.

 

“But we will have the DVD for the 3 Wise Cousins probably around August or September of this year depending if we make it to America or not,” he said.

 

Cast members Viliamu and Vito told Samoa News that they were humbled to be here to release the movie.

 

“It’s just exciting to be here, not because of the movie but just to get some time off and have a different routine from what we do in New Zealand and Samoa — we can't wait for the people of American Samoa to see the movie!” Viliamu said.

 

Vito stated "it's an exciting feeling for us – there are heaps of people here in American Samoa who've kept asking us when the movie will come out, some of them were actually getting mad at us, and we kept telling them, soon – now the movie is finally here. We're excited to see how the people here are going to react to the movie and give them the satisfaction that they've been asking about time and time again."

 

Vito added that not only are they excited to be here to bring the movie, but they are also excited to see their families and relatives here in Tutuila "and they can finally watch us—and I know they'll be proud of us." Fesui added,”

 

“We’re not professional actors – we believe we can do something and we go for it. Overall we're humbled to be here in American Samoa."

 

 Tiatia told Samoa News "we would like to thank everyone who has helped us bring this film here – Tuai Auva'a Mua and All Star Signs for her help in connecting us with the people here; her local knowledge has basically been what's allowed us to come here and really promote the movie. We had a couple of connections online like Terry Auva'a and Samoa News.  We know it's a platform that people actually read – it's a platform that we're really thankful to be on."

 

“So thank you to the people of American Samoa for really persisting and asking about the movie – it wasn't an easy process for us to get here, but we are blessed to have made it here, finally. Thank you once again."

Vito Vito, Fesui Viliamu and the film’s Marketing & Distribution manager, Tautiaga Tiatia, who are in town to promote the movie, “Three Wise Cousins” — took time out yesterday afternoon at the Samoa News office to take a photo with some of our staff. (L-R) Tuai Auva’a- Mua — local contact for the group and co-owner of All Star Signs, Flo Leota, Vito (one of the wise cousins), Maelynn Musu, Viliamu (one of the other wise cousins), Evaga Tuna with Baby Boaz Auva’a-Mua, Leua Aiono Frost, and Tiatia – the film’s Marketing and Distribution Manager. [photo: TG]

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3 WISE COUSINS ON ISLAND – TODAY AT REGAL NU’UULI TWIN CINEMA

The long awaited comedy/drama will be in theatre for 6 days only
tony@samoanews.com

The Samoan based comedy/drama, “3 Wise Cousins” will finally show tonight at the Regal Nu’uuli Twin Cinema – the first release of the long awaited movie in American Samoa. Its film script is delivered in English & Samoan with a focus on Pacific humor to deliver its uplifting message to all movie goers.

 

Three Wise Cousins will be showing at the theatre starting today — Friday, April 29 — and will run till Wednesday, May 4, 2016. This is an exciting launch of a motion picture production on island, as this is the first time that a movie produced in the South Pacific has hit the big screen here on island — compared to other local productions that were featured at the Gov. H. Rex Lee Auditorium (fale laumei).

 

The last professionally cut motion picture project that trended popularly within our Samoan community here and abroad was The Tulafale or Orator, but even they couldn’t launch this big.

 

The 3 Wise Cousins became popular after releasing teasers and trailers of the project on social media last year, and since that time, the locals have been eagerly waiting for the release of the movie in its full length on island.

 

Starring actors for the 3 Wise Cousins, Vito Vito and Fesui Viliamu visited Samoa News yesterday afternoon, escorted by their Marketing and Distribution Manager Tautiaga Tiatia — who told Samoa News that making the trip to American Samoa wasn’t easy.

 

“The purpose of being here is to promote the movie,” the trio told Samoa News. “The reality is, New Zealand, Australia and pretty much the whole Pacific have seen the film, but it took us a while to get it here in American Samoa, because of the process we had to go through”.

 

Tiatia explained, “We basically had to deal with America — we had to deal with a lady in California in order for us to bring the film here. So we had a lot of people on our Facebook page that were getting quite aggravated, asking us when the film will be coming to American Samoa. We just wanted to come and have our presence here, and I brought the guys along for a sort of meet and greet, just to give the people a treat.”

 

According to Tiatia, this is the first film that he has been involved in.

 

”Stallone, our director, and I have worked together on previous projects, but this is also his first film," Tiatia said, adding that "80 percent of the movie was filmed in Samoa and it was about a three-week project — in New Zealand it took a bit longer because of financial setbacks.”

 

He said, “Basically, this film is self-funded – when they came over, Stallone ran out of money, we had to go back and work to make up more money, and then we shot the rest of the film during the weekends — and we tried to adjust to everybody's schedule.”

 

Being the first Samoan produced film to hit the big screen in American Samoa, Tiatia told Samoa News that “the film, compared to what else is out there, cost us $80,000 – if you compare it to other films that come out with multi-million dollar projects, this whole movie was filmed off one camera with eighty grand.”

 

When asked if their ticket sales — so far in New Zealand and Australia — would reimburse all the money they've spent on making the film, he said, “We try not to dwell on the money but in terms of what we made back, we were able to cover the money we spent – and more.”

 

According to Tiatia, money isn't the driving force in this effort. He said, “The initial reason the project was done – it was for the people.”

 

He added, “It's always been for the people and we've been blessed that the people have gotten behind it. We’ve been blessed that we've been able to make better cash — on the way to being able to get more of our stories on screen.”

 

When asked about the selection of their cast, Tiatia said, “Well, these two” —referring to Vito and Viliamu — “met with Stallone on a FRESH segment called Mr. Lavalava – a lot of people, like Vito and Fesui, are from that program. (FRESH is a popular New Zealand television program.) Stallone had actually directed that segment, and Will the producer on the film was involved in it too – so the casting was pretty much set back then.”

 

Tiatia told Samoa News that the idea of the 3 Wise Cousins came up with Fesui and Vito. He said he thought “these two would be good in the movie” and they actually cast them before they were in the film.

 

"When asked if there was a message behind the comedy/drama of 3 Wise Cousins, Tiatia said, “We don't want to give away that part of the movie – but what we will say is that you will leave the cinema uplifted, you will feel enlightened from the movie. Yes, there’s comedy — it's going to make you laugh and it's going to make you feel good, it's going to encourage you and uplift you.”

 

Samoa News asked Tiatia what their goal was in producing the 3 Wise Cousins. 

 

He replied, “It goes back to the motive behind it – it's for the people. There are messages in the movie that we want the people to see, and there are some messages that are lost in the younger generation – these are lessons that we feel aren't really being taught, so we wanted to portray these messages in a fun filled wrap up.

 

“But at the core of it, there's a really nice takeaway there for all ages. No matter what age you are, you will really take something with you after watching the film,” Tiatia said.

 

Samoa News asked Tiatia if they will come out with a part 2 or a sequel to the film. He said, “The success of the film has actually allowed us to pursue our dreams. We do have a part two in the works — but get out and see part one and then you'll see, and join the rest of the world, that wants part two.”

 

He noted, “The backstory is – it's an underdog story. We are a small group of people who self-funded the film, and now we're self-distributing  – we're not going to a major distribution company, we're actually doing all the work ourselves, so in terms of the future, we're actually paving the future right now. It sets us up going forward. There's going to be a couple of channels that are really taking this on as a real day time profession – we all have day time jobs.”

 

When asked how the public and fans of 3 Wise Cousins will be able to purchase DVD's of the film, Tiatia said, “When you screen in cinemas, there are rules in the contract saying you cannot release any DVD or VOD either in iTunes or anything like that – until 90 days after you've finished your screen run, which is why you never see DVDs sold at the same time the movie is in the theatre.

 

“But we will have the DVD for the 3 Wise Cousins probably around August or September of this year depending if we make it to America or not,” he said.

 

Cast members Viliamu and Vito told Samoa News that they were humbled to be here to release the movie.

 

“It’s just exciting to be here, not because of the movie but just to get some time off and have a different routine from what we do in New Zealand and Samoa — we can't wait for the people of American Samoa to see the movie!” Viliamu said.

 

Vito stated "it's an exciting feeling for us – there are heaps of people here in American Samoa who've kept asking us when the movie will come out, some of them were actually getting mad at us, and we kept telling them, soon – now the movie is finally here. We're excited to see how the people here are going to react to the movie and give them the satisfaction that they've been asking about time and time again."

 

Vito added that not only are they excited to be here to bring the movie, but they are also excited to see their families and relatives here in Tutuila "and they can finally watch us—and I know they'll be proud of us." Fesui added,”

 

“We’re not professional actors – we believe we can do something and we go for it. Overall we're humbled to be here in American Samoa."

 

 Tiatia told Samoa News "we would like to thank everyone who has helped us bring this film here – Tuai Auva'a Mua and All Star Signs for her help in connecting us with the people here; her local knowledge has basically been what's allowed us to come here and really promote the movie. We had a couple of connections online like Terry Auva'a and Samoa News.  We know it's a platform that people actually read – it's a platform that we're really thankful to be on."

 

“So thank you to the people of American Samoa for really persisting and asking about the movie – it wasn't an easy process for us to get here, but we are blessed to have made it here, finally. Thank you once again."

Vito Vito, Fesui Viliamu and the film’s Marketing & Distribution manager, Tautiaga Tiatia, who are in town to promote the movie, “Three Wise Cousins” — took time out yesterday afternoon at the Samoa News office to take a photo with some of our staff. (L-R) Tuai Auva’a- Mua — local contact for the group and co-owner of All Star Signs, Flo Leota, Vito (one of the wise cousins), Maelynn Musu, Viliamu (one of the other wise cousins), Evaga Tuna with Baby Boaz Auva’a-Mua, Leua Aiono Frost, and Tiatia – the film’s Marketing and Distribution Manager. [photo: TG]

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A.S. BOXERS AGAIN WIN GOV’S CUP IN FLAG DAY TOURNEY + BONUS VIDEOS

Plus more videos and photos of other Flag Day events
ausage@samoanews.com

The 2016 Flag Day International Boxing Championship between the two Samoas last Friday night ended on a high note for the American Samoa boxing team when they again won the Governor’s Cup with four wins against the Samoa team, who took three wins. American Samoa also won the Flag Day boxing tournament last year with five wins against Samoa’s two.

 

Seven amateur undercards battled for the Governor’s Cup at the Bowling Alley Sports Complex in Tafuna, together with two professional bouts which drew the attention of more that 200 spectators who came to watch some of the best boxers in both Samoas that night.

 

After an opening prayer to start off the program, a representative from the Samoa boxing team, Tapusoa Fifita offered a big fa’amalo to Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga and members of the American Samoa Boxing Council (ASBC) including president Toleafoa Henry Tavake. He then thanked Governor Lolo for inviting them to take part in the American Samoa Flag Day celebration.

 

“This will be a huge step forward for our young fighters who are now battling for the win tonight,” he said. “Not only will they get the chance to show they have the talent, but it will also prepare them for the next challenge in life”, said Tapusoa.

 

GOVERNOR’S CUP

 

In the Light Weight Division (131-135 lbs) Iosefa Folosi of Samoa got off to a slow start against Vaeluaga So’oalo of American Samoa, but it was not long before he found his range against Tanoa to take the unanimous decision win over the American Samoan. 

 

In the second bout of the night, Filiga Se’eti of American Samoa who fights in the Welter Weight Division (147 lbs) picked up the first win for American Samoa, when he defeated Gordon Lesiva of Samoa in a tough battle, which ended in another unanimous decision. Lesiva came out hard in the first two rounds of their bout, but looked tired in the third and final round, while Se’eti looked active and continued to throw some good punches, which gave him more points to win the fight.

 

Two other wins were added to team American Samoa when George Tanoa Jr and his younger brother Keach both won their bouts.

 

Keach defeated Iulio Nu’u of Samoa in a split decision for the Welterweight division, while George defeated Henry Tyrell in a unanimous decision in the Middleweight division.

 

One of the most entertaining fights of the night came in the Heavyweight division, when Paofe Se’eti of American Samoa faced off against Petelo Matagi of Samoa. Matagi has already qualified for the Rio Olympics in the 81kg category, and he is the only boxer to represent Samoa in the upcoming Olympics. Both these heavy hitters traded punches in each of three rounds, but Matagi was a split second faster and quicker giving him the slight edge in all three rounds — as well as the victory. 

 

Matagi was Samoa’s two-time gold medalist for the Pacific Games in 2011 in New Caledonia and then again in Papua New Guinea last year.

 

Suiselani Posini of Samoa added the last win for their team when he defeated Se’eti Se’eti of American Samoa in another heavyweight division bout. Both fighters looked tired in the second and third rounds, and all four judges gave Posini a split division victory.

 

While both boxing teams had three wins each, Uli Paepae Uli of American Samoa gave the local team the win that secured their chance to win the Governor’s Cup again, when he defeated Haley Salu of Samoa in their super heavyweight bout.

 

Uli combined his power and speed during the entire fight, which gave him the first win in his amateur career.

 

PROFESSIONAL BOUTS

 

First up in the professional fights was Riley Tuala (Heavy Weight) of American Samoa facing Gogosina Ulutoa of Samoa in a scheduled four-round fight. This was Tuala’s second professional bout since he turned pro before the end of last year. Both fighters showed their skills during the first round, but in the second round, Ulutoa look tired and winded against the hard-hitting Tuala.

 

Ulutoa was able to come back hard in the third and last round, but Tuala was still active and able to fire some big shots, which caused Ulutoa’s nose to bleed.  At the end of the fight, all four judges believed that the fight was a draw.

 

American Samoa’s heavyweight fighter Tuala now has a record of two fights, with one loss and one draw. When asked by Samoa News after the fight, Tuala said he was happy with the results despite the draw, saying that he will do better in his next fight, which is scheduled for the end of next month, in Samoa.

 

THE MAIN EVENT

 

The main event of the night was American Samoa’s Sui Palauni (Middleweight) who fought his first professional fight against Samoa’s Tony Iapesa for a scheduled six rounds. Palauni brought an impressive 17-3 record of his own into the ring. Leaving the amateur boxing style with an undefeated record of 24-0, Palauni was favored to win the fight, based on his speed and skills.

 

At the 1:10 mark of the first round, Palauni knocked down Iapesa with a nice power combination of jab and hook, which caused the referee to give count to Iapesa. However, the Samoa fighter was able to continue the fight, where he proved to Palauni that he can also do damage with his power and speed. In the end, Palauni was able to control the fight with his side steps to avoid Iapesa’s power punches.

 

Iapesa was knocked down again in the third and fourth rounds, which caused the referee to each time give him the count, and while he was able to continue the fight to the last round, in the end, all four judges agreed to give Palauni a unanimous win with points against Iapesa.

 

Toleafoa was a happy man after the fight, where he congratulated the boxing team from Samoa for bringing their best fighters to compete with our best local team.

 

“This year’s results for our local boxers was extremely overwhelming and I’m so excited to the outcome of tonight’s results. Our fighters trained hard for a long time, they spent so much time on their training, and now their hard training is paying off. For all of our boxers who won tonight, I thank them for the job well done, but for those who lost, the sun will shine again, and I know that they will do much better in their next fight”, he told Samoa News.

 

Tapusoa of Samoa said that the Samoa Amateur Boxing Association will host a Flag Day Boxing Championship in June this year in Samoa, and they are inviting a team from American Samoa to come over and participate.

 

“This is how boxing looks like. We lost to a good team from American Samoa for the Governor’s Cup, and we are now inviting them to come over to Samoa during our Flag Day in June, to challenge us for the Prime Minister’s Cup — and I promise you that we will select a good team to face the team from American Samoa because we don’t want to repeat our loss tonight,” said Tapusoa with a smile on his face.

 

The Samoa boxing team left Tuesday for Samoa.

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A.S. BOXERS AGAIN WIN GOV’S CUP IN FLAG DAY TOURNEY + BONUS VIDEOS

Plus more videos and photos of other Flag Day events
ausage@samoanews.com

The 2016 Flag Day International Boxing Championship between the two Samoas last Friday night ended on a high note for the American Samoa boxing team when they again won the Governor’s Cup with four wins against the Samoa team, who took three wins. American Samoa also won the Flag Day boxing tournament last year with five wins against Samoa’s two.

 

Seven amateur undercards battled for the Governor’s Cup at the Bowling Alley Sports Complex in Tafuna, together with two professional bouts which drew the attention of more that 200 spectators who came to watch some of the best boxers in both Samoas that night.

 

After an opening prayer to start off the program, a representative from the Samoa boxing team, Tapusoa Fifita offered a big fa’amalo to Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga and members of the American Samoa Boxing Council (ASBC) including president Toleafoa Henry Tavake. He then thanked Governor Lolo for inviting them to take part in the American Samoa Flag Day celebration.

 

“This will be a huge step forward for our young fighters who are now battling for the win tonight,” he said. “Not only will they get the chance to show they have the talent, but it will also prepare them for the next challenge in life”, said Tapusoa.

 

GOVERNOR’S CUP

 

In the Light Weight Division (131-135 lbs) Iosefa Folosi of Samoa got off to a slow start against Vaeluaga So’oalo of American Samoa, but it was not long before he found his range against Tanoa to take the unanimous decision win over the American Samoan. 

 

In the second bout of the night, Filiga Se’eti of American Samoa who fights in the Welter Weight Division (147 lbs) picked up the first win for American Samoa, when he defeated Gordon Lesiva of Samoa in a tough battle, which ended in another unanimous decision. Lesiva came out hard in the first two rounds of their bout, but looked tired in the third and final round, while Se’eti looked active and continued to throw some good punches, which gave him more points to win the fight.

 

Two other wins were added to team American Samoa when George Tanoa Jr and his younger brother Keach both won their bouts.

 

Keach defeated Iulio Nu’u of Samoa in a split decision for the Welterweight division, while George defeated Henry Tyrell in a unanimous decision in the Middleweight division.

 

One of the most entertaining fights of the night came in the Heavyweight division, when Paofe Se’eti of American Samoa faced off against Petelo Matagi of Samoa. Matagi has already qualified for the Rio Olympics in the 81kg category, and he is the only boxer to represent Samoa in the upcoming Olympics. Both these heavy hitters traded punches in each of three rounds, but Matagi was a split second faster and quicker giving him the slight edge in all three rounds — as well as the victory. 

 

Matagi was Samoa’s two-time gold medalist for the Pacific Games in 2011 in New Caledonia and then again in Papua New Guinea last year.

 

Suiselani Posini of Samoa added the last win for their team when he defeated Se’eti Se’eti of American Samoa in another heavyweight division bout. Both fighters looked tired in the second and third rounds, and all four judges gave Posini a split division victory.

 

While both boxing teams had three wins each, Uli Paepae Uli of American Samoa gave the local team the win that secured their chance to win the Governor’s Cup again, when he defeated Haley Salu of Samoa in their super heavyweight bout.

 

Uli combined his power and speed during the entire fight, which gave him the first win in his amateur career.

 

PROFESSIONAL BOUTS

 

First up in the professional fights was Riley Tuala (Heavy Weight) of American Samoa facing Gogosina Ulutoa of Samoa in a scheduled four-round fight. This was Tuala’s second professional bout since he turned pro before the end of last year. Both fighters showed their skills during the first round, but in the second round, Ulutoa look tired and winded against the hard-hitting Tuala.

 

Ulutoa was able to come back hard in the third and last round, but Tuala was still active and able to fire some big shots, which caused Ulutoa’s nose to bleed.  At the end of the fight, all four judges believed that the fight was a draw.

 

American Samoa’s heavyweight fighter Tuala now has a record of two fights, with one loss and one draw. When asked by Samoa News after the fight, Tuala said he was happy with the results despite the draw, saying that he will do better in his next fight, which is scheduled for the end of next month, in Samoa.

 

THE MAIN EVENT

 

The main event of the night was American Samoa’s Sui Palauni (Middleweight) who fought his first professional fight against Samoa’s Tony Iapesa for a scheduled six rounds. Palauni brought an impressive 17-3 record of his own into the ring. Leaving the amateur boxing style with an undefeated record of 24-0, Palauni was favored to win the fight, based on his speed and skills.

 

At the 1:10 mark of the first round, Palauni knocked down Iapesa with a nice power combination of jab and hook, which caused the referee to give count to Iapesa. However, the Samoa fighter was able to continue the fight, where he proved to Palauni that he can also do damage with his power and speed. In the end, Palauni was able to control the fight with his side steps to avoid Iapesa’s power punches.

 

Iapesa was knocked down again in the third and fourth rounds, which caused the referee to each time give him the count, and while he was able to continue the fight to the last round, in the end, all four judges agreed to give Palauni a unanimous win with points against Iapesa.

 

Toleafoa was a happy man after the fight, where he congratulated the boxing team from Samoa for bringing their best fighters to compete with our best local team.

 

“This year’s results for our local boxers was extremely overwhelming and I’m so excited to the outcome of tonight’s results. Our fighters trained hard for a long time, they spent so much time on their training, and now their hard training is paying off. For all of our boxers who won tonight, I thank them for the job well done, but for those who lost, the sun will shine again, and I know that they will do much better in their next fight”, he told Samoa News.

 

Tapusoa of Samoa said that the Samoa Amateur Boxing Association will host a Flag Day Boxing Championship in June this year in Samoa, and they are inviting a team from American Samoa to come over and participate.

 

“This is how boxing looks like. We lost to a good team from American Samoa for the Governor’s Cup, and we are now inviting them to come over to Samoa during our Flag Day in June, to challenge us for the Prime Minister’s Cup — and I promise you that we will select a good team to face the team from American Samoa because we don’t want to repeat our loss tonight,” said Tapusoa with a smile on his face.

 

The Samoa boxing team left Tuesday for Samoa.

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A.S. BOXERS AGAIN WIN GOV’S CUP IN FLAG DAY TOURNEY + BONUS VIDEOS

Plus more videos and photos of other Flag Day events
ausage@samoanews.com

The 2016 Flag Day International Boxing Championship between the two Samoas last Friday night ended on a high note for the American Samoa boxing team when they again won the Governor’s Cup with four wins against the Samoa team, who took three wins. American Samoa also won the Flag Day boxing tournament last year with five wins against Samoa’s two.

 

Seven amateur undercards battled for the Governor’s Cup at the Bowling Alley Sports Complex in Tafuna, together with two professional bouts which drew the attention of more that 200 spectators who came to watch some of the best boxers in both Samoas that night.

 

After an opening prayer to start off the program, a representative from the Samoa boxing team, Tapusoa Fifita offered a big fa’amalo to Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga and members of the American Samoa Boxing Council (ASBC) including president Toleafoa Henry Tavake. He then thanked Governor Lolo for inviting them to take part in the American Samoa Flag Day celebration.

 

“This will be a huge step forward for our young fighters who are now battling for the win tonight,” he said. “Not only will they get the chance to show they have the talent, but it will also prepare them for the next challenge in life”, said Tapusoa.

 

GOVERNOR’S CUP

 

In the Light Weight Division (131-135 lbs) Iosefa Folosi of Samoa got off to a slow start against Vaeluaga So’oalo of American Samoa, but it was not long before he found his range against Tanoa to take the unanimous decision win over the American Samoan. 

 

In the second bout of the night, Filiga Se’eti of American Samoa who fights in the Welter Weight Division (147 lbs) picked up the first win for American Samoa, when he defeated Gordon Lesiva of Samoa in a tough battle, which ended in another unanimous decision. Lesiva came out hard in the first two rounds of their bout, but looked tired in the third and final round, while Se’eti looked active and continued to throw some good punches, which gave him more points to win the fight.

 

Two other wins were added to team American Samoa when George Tanoa Jr and his younger brother Keach both won their bouts.

 

Keach defeated Iulio Nu’u of Samoa in a split decision for the Welterweight division, while George defeated Henry Tyrell in a unanimous decision in the Middleweight division.

 

One of the most entertaining fights of the night came in the Heavyweight division, when Paofe Se’eti of American Samoa faced off against Petelo Matagi of Samoa. Matagi has already qualified for the Rio Olympics in the 81kg category, and he is the only boxer to represent Samoa in the upcoming Olympics. Both these heavy hitters traded punches in each of three rounds, but Matagi was a split second faster and quicker giving him the slight edge in all three rounds — as well as the victory. 

 

Matagi was Samoa’s two-time gold medalist for the Pacific Games in 2011 in New Caledonia and then again in Papua New Guinea last year.

 

Suiselani Posini of Samoa added the last win for their team when he defeated Se’eti Se’eti of American Samoa in another heavyweight division bout. Both fighters looked tired in the second and third rounds, and all four judges gave Posini a split division victory.

 

While both boxing teams had three wins each, Uli Paepae Uli of American Samoa gave the local team the win that secured their chance to win the Governor’s Cup again, when he defeated Haley Salu of Samoa in their super heavyweight bout.

 

Uli combined his power and speed during the entire fight, which gave him the first win in his amateur career.

 

PROFESSIONAL BOUTS

 

First up in the professional fights was Riley Tuala (Heavy Weight) of American Samoa facing Gogosina Ulutoa of Samoa in a scheduled four-round fight. This was Tuala’s second professional bout since he turned pro before the end of last year. Both fighters showed their skills during the first round, but in the second round, Ulutoa look tired and winded against the hard-hitting Tuala.

 

Ulutoa was able to come back hard in the third and last round, but Tuala was still active and able to fire some big shots, which caused Ulutoa’s nose to bleed.  At the end of the fight, all four judges believed that the fight was a draw.

 

American Samoa’s heavyweight fighter Tuala now has a record of two fights, with one loss and one draw. When asked by Samoa News after the fight, Tuala said he was happy with the results despite the draw, saying that he will do better in his next fight, which is scheduled for the end of next month, in Samoa.

 

THE MAIN EVENT

 

The main event of the night was American Samoa’s Sui Palauni (Middleweight) who fought his first professional fight against Samoa’s Tony Iapesa for a scheduled six rounds. Palauni brought an impressive 17-3 record of his own into the ring. Leaving the amateur boxing style with an undefeated record of 24-0, Palauni was favored to win the fight, based on his speed and skills.

 

At the 1:10 mark of the first round, Palauni knocked down Iapesa with a nice power combination of jab and hook, which caused the referee to give count to Iapesa. However, the Samoa fighter was able to continue the fight, where he proved to Palauni that he can also do damage with his power and speed. In the end, Palauni was able to control the fight with his side steps to avoid Iapesa’s power punches.

 

Iapesa was knocked down again in the third and fourth rounds, which caused the referee to each time give him the count, and while he was able to continue the fight to the last round, in the end, all four judges agreed to give Palauni a unanimous win with points against Iapesa.

 

Toleafoa was a happy man after the fight, where he congratulated the boxing team from Samoa for bringing their best fighters to compete with our best local team.

 

“This year’s results for our local boxers was extremely overwhelming and I’m so excited to the outcome of tonight’s results. Our fighters trained hard for a long time, they spent so much time on their training, and now their hard training is paying off. For all of our boxers who won tonight, I thank them for the job well done, but for those who lost, the sun will shine again, and I know that they will do much better in their next fight”, he told Samoa News.

 

Tapusoa of Samoa said that the Samoa Amateur Boxing Association will host a Flag Day Boxing Championship in June this year in Samoa, and they are inviting a team from American Samoa to come over and participate.

 

“This is how boxing looks like. We lost to a good team from American Samoa for the Governor’s Cup, and we are now inviting them to come over to Samoa during our Flag Day in June, to challenge us for the Prime Minister’s Cup — and I promise you that we will select a good team to face the team from American Samoa because we don’t want to repeat our loss tonight,” said Tapusoa with a smile on his face.

 

The Samoa boxing team left Tuesday for Samoa.

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Pacific youth face uncertain future over climate change, says leader

The effects of climate change on Pacific island nations like Samoa are leaving young people faced with uncertainty about being forced to leave their homelands and migrating to other countries.

The chair for Ōtara-Papatoetoe local board in Auckland, Fa’anānā Efeso Collins is also a former broadcaster and recently returned from Samoa.

WebHe “feels” for Pacific youth who are unsure about the existence of their homeland in the future.

“There is a lot of fear about whether or not they will be able to have their own children, their own families and grow up safety in Samoa over the next few decades,” he told Asia Pacific Report.

“We know that in countries like Kiribati, Nauru and Tuvalu, there’s been more international travel – so they’ve migrated more in the last 10 years than any other period in their history. I think Samoan young people are starting to think about the same thing.”

This is ironic for Pacific Islanders living in New Zealand, with hopes of many eventually to return back home.

But Fa’anānā says that with the increasing impact of climate change there may not be a home to go back to.

“I know for New Zealand-born Samoans like myself, we often talk about wanting to go back, or our parents retiring back to Samoa because the land is special to our parents generation – and it’s special to us.

“We are going to lose that sense of ‘specialness’ if we are thinking whether we are safer long-term in New Zealand.”

Health impacts
Unknown to many outside the region, climate change also has major health impacts and is contributing to the level of illnesses in the Pacific.

Fa’anānā says the health ministries in Samoa are focusing on infections like malaria, typhoid and dengue fever, which are all, transmitted by mosquitos.

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CANCELLATION OF 2016 FLAG DAY FAUTASI CHAMPIONSHIP RACE MARS FESTIVITIES

116th Flag Day — Our People, Our Culture, Our Future
joyetter@samoanews.com

There will be no Flag Day Championship Fautasi Race this year, and it’s been cancelled indefinitely says, Lt Governor Lemanu Peleti Mauga Co-Chair of the Flag Day Planning Committee. This was the decision that came out of the meeting between the Captains and Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga during the lunch hour of yesterday’s Flag Day festivities at the Veterans Memorial Stadium.

 

Lemanu, who was accompanied by Secretary of Samoan Affairs, Mauga Tasi Asuega did not specify as to why they have opted to cancel the race this year.

 

The fautasi championship race each year is the most anticipated sport in the territory, where the villages pride themselves by getting involved and being a part of the fautasi crew. It takes months of preparations and the territory is literally alight with ‘fautasi fiva’.

 

This year there were 13 fautasi that signed up to participate: (1) Fuao - Vatia; (2) Paepaeulupoo II - Aua; (3) Matasaua - Manu’atele; (4) Manulele Tausala II; (5) Manulele Tausala I; (6) Fealofani Samoa II; (7) Tama o le Muaau - Faleniu; (8) Aeto - Pago Pago (9) Iseulaolemoana III; (10) Fetu o le Afiafi – Fagaalu; (11) Taema II – Leone; Sinapioa – Executive Branch and the Iseulaolemoana II – Legislative Branch.

 

The fautasi belonging to the branches of government were not competitors but raced to allow villages that normally do not race a chance to enjoy participating.

 

The 14th fautasi was an invitation boat from the village of Manono, however their boat did not make it, and Samoa News understands they were given the green light to use the Iseulaolemoana II by Fagatogo in the final race.

 

Due to the number of fautasi racing in this year’s Flag Day championship race, the Flag Day Committee decided for safety’s sake to have only a final race with seven fautasi. They divided the fautasi into two groups and had them race in heats, bringing the top winners, based on time and following the rules to the final. Manono was an invite, so was given a bye on the heats.

 

On Saturday, after three heats were run (one was a re-race), the committee disqualified five fautasi, Paepaeulupoo III – Aua; Matasaua - Manu’atele; Manulele Tausala II – Nuuuli; Iseula le Moana - Fagatogo and Fetu ole Afiafi - Faga’alu for not following the rules, which included being in front of the starting line when the committee signaled the start of the race, and un-sportsman-like behavior.

 

They also chose the six local fautasi that were to run in the 2016 Flag Day Championship Race, which were Manulele Tausala I - Nuuuli, Fuao - Vatia, Fealofani Samoa II f- Fagasa, Taema II – Leone, Tama o le Muaau - Faleniu and the Aeto - Pago Pago.

 

However, on Saturday during the meeting which decided the six finalists, a representative from Aua’s fautasi Paepaeulupoo II suggested to the committee that in fairness, the Group B heat, which they were disqualified from, should be re-raced, as was done with the Group A heat.  Co-chair Mauga intervened and with a raised voice told Aua to leave the things where they are, the decision had been made and it was final.

 

He slapped the table and said in Samoan, “Aua kou ke kofokofoa mai iga a’u” (don't you dare challenge me).” Mauga further stated that the decision is final and if they change it for Aua, what about the other villages and their fautasi crew. He said the fautasi committee will enforce their rules now, because if not now, when?

 

Mauga was referring to the history of the Flag Day Fautasi Championship Race which has filled complaints against past fautasi committees for not enforcing race rules by disqualifying those who don’t follow the rules.

 

Unfortunately this year, yet another scar is added to its history — the championship race has been cancelled, there is NO CHAMPION IN THIS YEAR’S FAGAIMEA I LE TAI.

 

FLAG DAY FESTIVITIES AT THE STADIUM

 

The 2016 Flag Day festivities at the Veterans Memorial Stadium were held yesterday. Attending were Samoa’s Head of State, His Highness Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi, accompanied by Masiofo Filifilia, Assistant Secretary for Insular Affairs of the Department of Interior Lupesinaosamoa Esther Kia’aina, Governor of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, Ralph Deleon Guerrero Torres and Ulu o Tokelau Aliki Faipule Afega Gaualofa.

 

American Samoa’s Congresswoman, Aumua Amata was also present.

 

President of the Seventh Day Adventist church, Pastor, Uili Solofa offered the invocation.

 

Sitia Mase, Manino Alalefaleula, Uputaua Falealii and Kirikiti Aulaumea Jr. raised the American and the American Samoa flags officially starting the festivities at the stadium.

 

The parade that followed consisted of 50+ groups of schools, rugby teams, sports federations, government department and agencies, and members of the private sector.

 

Colorful floats were also part of the parade. Of note there were the floats from the Nu’uuli Vocational Technical School — dressed up in accordance with this year’s Flag Day motto, “Our People, Our Culture, Our Future”, and the Governor’s Office float, which featured Miss America Samoa, Suluga Taliau on board, and guided by the fa’aluma in full traditional dress and tatatau.

 

Then there were the decorations by the Department Human Social Services of the second stadium stand (facing the one with the governor and VIP guests) with its huge “Samoan Tuiga”, which caught the attention of the public, who complimented DHSS for a job well done.

 

Governor Lolo delivered Special Remarks and Assistant Secretary for Insular Affairs of the DOI Lupesinaosamoa gave the Keynote Address.

 

In his special remarks, Lolo thanked the people of American Samoa and especially the dignitaries who attended, for making the day more special. He said the people of Tutuila and Manu’a have come together to celebrate the wisdom of our forefathers and to acknowledge with profound gratitude the continued benevolence of the United States of America.

 

He said the Flag Day celebration is unique because it’s the result of the commemoration by our forefathers to freely join the great family of the United States.

 

“This has served us well for 116 years however, a changing of dynamics for an economic force around the world compels us to revisit the effectiveness of the established traditional pathways in meeting the needs of our people, and this will be our focus in the coming years. The assessment process is already underway with great support and assistance from our good friend Assistant Secretary for Insular Affairs of the Department of Interior… as demonstrated by the recently completed self determination forum for all of the US territories held in DC last month.”

 

Lolo said for this assessment process, Lupesinaosamoa has kindly granted technical assistance to fund an office, with its primary function to identify issues connected with our political status and our constitution, federal rules and regulations with the development of our territory.”

 

He said, “the Flag Day celebrations along with the theme, Our people, our Culture and our Future, is the underscore in this 116 years of celebration.  Because if we look to the past to determine the fundamentals of the driving forces responsible for the purpose American Samoa has in this 116th year, I can assure you it’s the resiliency of our people and the reciprocity of our culture that has facilitated the achievement.”

 

Lupesinaosamoa’s keynote address is in separate story in today’s issue.

 

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CANCELLATION OF 2016 FLAG DAY FAUTASI CHAMPIONSHIP RACE MARS FESTIVITIES

116th Flag Day — Our People, Our Culture, Our Future
joyetter@samoanews.com

There will be no Flag Day Championship Fautasi Race this year, and it’s been cancelled indefinitely says, Lt Governor Lemanu Peleti Mauga Co-Chair of the Flag Day Planning Committee. This was the decision that came out of the meeting between the Captains and Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga during the lunch hour of yesterday’s Flag Day festivities at the Veterans Memorial Stadium.

 

Lemanu, who was accompanied by Secretary of Samoan Affairs, Mauga Tasi Asuega did not specify as to why they have opted to cancel the race this year.

 

The fautasi championship race each year is the most anticipated sport in the territory, where the villages pride themselves by getting involved and being a part of the fautasi crew. It takes months of preparations and the territory is literally alight with ‘fautasi fiva’.

 

This year there were 13 fautasi that signed up to participate: (1) Fuao - Vatia; (2) Paepaeulupoo II - Aua; (3) Matasaua - Manu’atele; (4) Manulele Tausala II; (5) Manulele Tausala I; (6) Fealofani Samoa II; (7) Tama o le Muaau - Faleniu; (8) Aeto - Pago Pago (9) Iseulaolemoana III; (10) Fetu o le Afiafi – Fagaalu; (11) Taema II – Leone; Sinapioa – Executive Branch and the Iseulaolemoana II – Legislative Branch.

 

The fautasi belonging to the branches of government were not competitors but raced to allow villages that normally do not race a chance to enjoy participating.

 

The 14th fautasi was an invitation boat from the village of Manono, however their boat did not make it, and Samoa News understands they were given the green light to use the Iseulaolemoana II by Fagatogo in the final race.

 

Due to the number of fautasi racing in this year’s Flag Day championship race, the Flag Day Committee decided for safety’s sake to have only a final race with seven fautasi. They divided the fautasi into two groups and had them race in heats, bringing the top winners, based on time and following the rules to the final. Manono was an invite, so was given a bye on the heats.

 

On Saturday, after three heats were run (one was a re-race), the committee disqualified five fautasi, Paepaeulupoo III – Aua; Matasaua - Manu’atele; Manulele Tausala II – Nuuuli; Iseula le Moana - Fagatogo and Fetu ole Afiafi - Faga’alu for not following the rules, which included being in front of the starting line when the committee signaled the start of the race, and un-sportsman-like behavior.

 

They also chose the six local fautasi that were to run in the 2016 Flag Day Championship Race, which were Manulele Tausala I - Nuuuli, Fuao - Vatia, Fealofani Samoa II f- Fagasa, Taema II – Leone, Tama o le Muaau - Faleniu and the Aeto - Pago Pago.

 

However, on Saturday during the meeting which decided the six finalists, a representative from Aua’s fautasi Paepaeulupoo II suggested to the committee that in fairness, the Group B heat, which they were disqualified from, should be re-raced, as was done with the Group A heat.  Co-chair Mauga intervened and with a raised voice told Aua to leave the things where they are, the decision had been made and it was final.

 

He slapped the table and said in Samoan, “Aua kou ke kofokofoa mai iga a’u” (don't you dare challenge me).” Mauga further stated that the decision is final and if they change it for Aua, what about the other villages and their fautasi crew. He said the fautasi committee will enforce their rules now, because if not now, when?

 

Mauga was referring to the history of the Flag Day Fautasi Championship Race which has filled complaints against past fautasi committees for not enforcing race rules by disqualifying those who don’t follow the rules.

 

Unfortunately this year, yet another scar is added to its history — the championship race has been cancelled, there is NO CHAMPION IN THIS YEAR’S FAGAIMEA I LE TAI.

 

FLAG DAY FESTIVITIES AT THE STADIUM

 

The 2016 Flag Day festivities at the Veterans Memorial Stadium were held yesterday. Attending were Samoa’s Head of State, His Highness Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi, accompanied by Masiofo Filifilia, Assistant Secretary for Insular Affairs of the Department of Interior Lupesinaosamoa Esther Kia’aina, Governor of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, Ralph Deleon Guerrero Torres and Ulu o Tokelau Aliki Faipule Afega Gaualofa.

 

American Samoa’s Congresswoman, Aumua Amata was also present.

 

President of the Seventh Day Adventist church, Pastor, Uili Solofa offered the invocation.

 

Sitia Mase, Manino Alalefaleula, Uputaua Falealii and Kirikiti Aulaumea Jr. raised the American and the American Samoa flags officially starting the festivities at the stadium.

 

The parade that followed consisted of 50+ groups of schools, rugby teams, sports federations, government department and agencies, and members of the private sector.

 

Colorful floats were also part of the parade. Of note there were the floats from the Nu’uuli Vocational Technical School — dressed up in accordance with this year’s Flag Day motto, “Our People, Our Culture, Our Future”, and the Governor’s Office float, which featured Miss America Samoa, Suluga Taliau on board, and guided by the fa’aluma in full traditional dress and tatatau.

 

Then there were the decorations by the Department Human Social Services of the second stadium stand (facing the one with the governor and VIP guests) with its huge “Samoan Tuiga”, which caught the attention of the public, who complimented DHSS for a job well done.

 

Governor Lolo delivered Special Remarks and Assistant Secretary for Insular Affairs of the DOI Lupesinaosamoa gave the Keynote Address.

 

In his special remarks, Lolo thanked the people of American Samoa and especially the dignitaries who attended, for making the day more special. He said the people of Tutuila and Manu’a have come together to celebrate the wisdom of our forefathers and to acknowledge with profound gratitude the continued benevolence of the United States of America.

 

He said the Flag Day celebration is unique because it’s the result of the commemoration by our forefathers to freely join the great family of the United States.

 

“This has served us well for 116 years however, a changing of dynamics for an economic force around the world compels us to revisit the effectiveness of the established traditional pathways in meeting the needs of our people, and this will be our focus in the coming years. The assessment process is already underway with great support and assistance from our good friend Assistant Secretary for Insular Affairs of the Department of Interior… as demonstrated by the recently completed self determination forum for all of the US territories held in DC last month.”

 

Lolo said for this assessment process, Lupesinaosamoa has kindly granted technical assistance to fund an office, with its primary function to identify issues connected with our political status and our constitution, federal rules and regulations with the development of our territory.”

 

He said, “the Flag Day celebrations along with the theme, Our people, our Culture and our Future, is the underscore in this 116 years of celebration.  Because if we look to the past to determine the fundamentals of the driving forces responsible for the purpose American Samoa has in this 116th year, I can assure you it’s the resiliency of our people and the reciprocity of our culture that has facilitated the achievement.”

 

Lupesinaosamoa’s keynote address is in separate story in today’s issue.

 

YouTube 
See video
See video
See video


CANCELLATION OF 2016 FLAG DAY FAUTASI CHAMPIONSHIP RACE MARS FESTIVITIES

116th Flag Day — Our People, Our Culture, Our Future
joyetter@samoanews.com

There will be no Flag Day Championship Fautasi Race this year, and it’s been cancelled indefinitely says, Lt Governor Lemanu Peleti Mauga Co-Chair of the Flag Day Planning Committee. This was the decision that came out of the meeting between the Captains and Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga during the lunch hour of yesterday’s Flag Day festivities at the Veterans Memorial Stadium.

 

Lemanu, who was accompanied by Secretary of Samoan Affairs, Mauga Tasi Asuega did not specify as to why they have opted to cancel the race this year.

 

The fautasi championship race each year is the most anticipated sport in the territory, where the villages pride themselves by getting involved and being a part of the fautasi crew. It takes months of preparations and the territory is literally alight with ‘fautasi fiva’.

 

This year there were 13 fautasi that signed up to participate: (1) Fuao - Vatia; (2) Paepaeulupoo II - Aua; (3) Matasaua - Manu’atele; (4) Manulele Tausala II; (5) Manulele Tausala I; (6) Fealofani Samoa II; (7) Tama o le Muaau - Faleniu; (8) Aeto - Pago Pago (9) Iseulaolemoana III; (10) Fetu o le Afiafi – Fagaalu; (11) Taema II – Leone; Sinapioa – Executive Branch and the Iseulaolemoana II – Legislative Branch.

 

The fautasi belonging to the branches of government were not competitors but raced to allow villages that normally do not race a chance to enjoy participating.

 

The 14th fautasi was an invitation boat from the village of Manono, however their boat did not make it, and Samoa News understands they were given the green light to use the Iseulaolemoana II by Fagatogo in the final race.

 

Due to the number of fautasi racing in this year’s Flag Day championship race, the Flag Day Committee decided for safety’s sake to have only a final race with seven fautasi. They divided the fautasi into two groups and had them race in heats, bringing the top winners, based on time and following the rules to the final. Manono was an invite, so was given a bye on the heats.

 

On Saturday, after three heats were run (one was a re-race), the committee disqualified five fautasi, Paepaeulupoo III – Aua; Matasaua - Manu’atele; Manulele Tausala II – Nuuuli; Iseula le Moana - Fagatogo and Fetu ole Afiafi - Faga’alu for not following the rules, which included being in front of the starting line when the committee signaled the start of the race, and un-sportsman-like behavior.

 

They also chose the six local fautasi that were to run in the 2016 Flag Day Championship Race, which were Manulele Tausala I - Nuuuli, Fuao - Vatia, Fealofani Samoa II f- Fagasa, Taema II – Leone, Tama o le Muaau - Faleniu and the Aeto - Pago Pago.

 

However, on Saturday during the meeting which decided the six finalists, a representative from Aua’s fautasi Paepaeulupoo II suggested to the committee that in fairness, the Group B heat, which they were disqualified from, should be re-raced, as was done with the Group A heat.  Co-chair Mauga intervened and with a raised voice told Aua to leave the things where they are, the decision had been made and it was final.

 

He slapped the table and said in Samoan, “Aua kou ke kofokofoa mai iga a’u” (don't you dare challenge me).” Mauga further stated that the decision is final and if they change it for Aua, what about the other villages and their fautasi crew. He said the fautasi committee will enforce their rules now, because if not now, when?

 

Mauga was referring to the history of the Flag Day Fautasi Championship Race which has filled complaints against past fautasi committees for not enforcing race rules by disqualifying those who don’t follow the rules.

 

Unfortunately this year, yet another scar is added to its history — the championship race has been cancelled, there is NO CHAMPION IN THIS YEAR’S FAGAIMEA I LE TAI.

 

FLAG DAY FESTIVITIES AT THE STADIUM

 

The 2016 Flag Day festivities at the Veterans Memorial Stadium were held yesterday. Attending were Samoa’s Head of State, His Highness Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi, accompanied by Masiofo Filifilia, Assistant Secretary for Insular Affairs of the Department of Interior Lupesinaosamoa Esther Kia’aina, Governor of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, Ralph Deleon Guerrero Torres and Ulu o Tokelau Aliki Faipule Afega Gaualofa.

 

American Samoa’s Congresswoman, Aumua Amata was also present.

 

President of the Seventh Day Adventist church, Pastor, Uili Solofa offered the invocation.

 

Sitia Mase, Manino Alalefaleula, Uputaua Falealii and Kirikiti Aulaumea Jr. raised the American and the American Samoa flags officially starting the festivities at the stadium.

 

The parade that followed consisted of 50+ groups of schools, rugby teams, sports federations, government department and agencies, and members of the private sector.

 

Colorful floats were also part of the parade. Of note there were the floats from the Nu’uuli Vocational Technical School — dressed up in accordance with this year’s Flag Day motto, “Our People, Our Culture, Our Future”, and the Governor’s Office float, which featured Miss America Samoa, Suluga Taliau on board, and guided by the fa’aluma in full traditional dress and tatatau.

 

Then there were the decorations by the Department Human Social Services of the second stadium stand (facing the one with the governor and VIP guests) with its huge “Samoan Tuiga”, which caught the attention of the public, who complimented DHSS for a job well done.

 

Governor Lolo delivered Special Remarks and Assistant Secretary for Insular Affairs of the DOI Lupesinaosamoa gave the Keynote Address.

 

In his special remarks, Lolo thanked the people of American Samoa and especially the dignitaries who attended, for making the day more special. He said the people of Tutuila and Manu’a have come together to celebrate the wisdom of our forefathers and to acknowledge with profound gratitude the continued benevolence of the United States of America.

 

He said the Flag Day celebration is unique because it’s the result of the commemoration by our forefathers to freely join the great family of the United States.

 

“This has served us well for 116 years however, a changing of dynamics for an economic force around the world compels us to revisit the effectiveness of the established traditional pathways in meeting the needs of our people, and this will be our focus in the coming years. The assessment process is already underway with great support and assistance from our good friend Assistant Secretary for Insular Affairs of the Department of Interior… as demonstrated by the recently completed self determination forum for all of the US territories held in DC last month.”

 

Lolo said for this assessment process, Lupesinaosamoa has kindly granted technical assistance to fund an office, with its primary function to identify issues connected with our political status and our constitution, federal rules and regulations with the development of our territory.”

 

He said, “the Flag Day celebrations along with the theme, Our people, our Culture and our Future, is the underscore in this 116 years of celebration.  Because if we look to the past to determine the fundamentals of the driving forces responsible for the purpose American Samoa has in this 116th year, I can assure you it’s the resiliency of our people and the reciprocity of our culture that has facilitated the achievement.”

 

Lupesinaosamoa’s keynote address is in separate story in today’s issue.

 

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FAUTASI COMMITTEE DRAWS THE LINE IN THE WATER —THE FINAL SIX ARE CHOSEN

Five fautasi disqualified
tony@samoanews.com

After being postponed for four days straight due to nearly a week of terrible weather, including a run on Friday that was deemed “not a race”, this year’s 2016 Flag Day Fautasi qualifying heats finally went down Saturday morning. While, not perfect, one of the heats was ‘re-raced’, the decisions by the Fautasi Committee however were delivered firmly and its members, who include co-chair Lt. Gov. Lemanu P. Mauga and co-chair Secretary of Samoan Affairs Mauga Tasi Asuega, drew the line in the water when they stood by their decisions, and made no changes.

 

In the words of Lemanu, “These results are official — I know some of you will not take this well, but we've made the final results of today’s qualifying heats as per the rules and regulations we talked about during the past several meetings.”

 

The meeting between the committee and the captains took place on late Saturday morning, after the heats were done, and the decisions from the meeting were announced on television.

 

This coverage of the 2016 Flag Day Fautasi Race is proudly sponsored and brought to you by Coors Light, solely distributed by GHC Reid & Company - “Family of Fine Beverages” – Oloa o Leala.

 

2016 FAUTASI COMMITTEE DECISIONS

 

Opening the announcement of the decision by the Fautasi Committee was Mauga, who spoke of one race —the championship race — being set for Monday, and then reminded all captains of the racing rules, and that the results from the heats, which determined the six boats to race in the final, used these established fautasi race rules.

 

Samoa News points out that since this meeting, Monday's race has been postponed to Tuesday, although no official announcement has been made to the media by the committee.

 

Lemanu then spoke, announcing that the first heat was disqualified, while the second heat was official. He did not say the reason for the disqualification, although Samoa News understands it was because the race began before the committee even signaled or sounded the horn to start the race.

 

He said the following made the cut for the final race on Monday from Heat No. 2: the Manulele Tausala I and the Fuao.

 

The fautasi that didn’t make it are the following: Paepaeulupoo III – Aua, Matasaua- Manu’atele; and Manulele Tausala II – Nuuuli. They were disqualified because they were in front of the starting line when the committee signaled the start of the race.

 

Lemanu also said that the Legislative Branch and Executive Branch fautasi participated in the second heat, but they were there to ‘fa’afiafia’ giving a chance to the villages to participate in the competition.

 

He then announced the ‘re-race’ of Heat No. 1. He said the following made the cut: Fealofani Samoa II – Fagasa; Taema II – Leone; Aeto - Pago Pago; and Tama o le Muaau – Faleniu.

 

The two fautasi disqualified from the ‘re-race’ were the Iseulaolemoana III -Fagatogo and the Fetu o le Afiafi – Fagaalu. They were disqualified for not following the rules, said the Flag Day Committee co-chair Lemanu.

 

He then announced the six fautasi that will be competing in the championship race at 7:30 a.m. Monday.

 

The initial plan to have a second race for the bottom seven has also been cancelled, said Lemanu. There will be only one race on Monday.

 

During the televised event, which was also open to the public and media, a representative for the fautasi Paepaeulupo’o III - Aua stood to voice his disappointment with Aua’s fautasi being disqualified for being in front of the starting line when the race began.

 

Paepaeulupo’o III had finished first place with Matasaua II in second place in the second heat, however the committee disqualified these two teams and they lost their slot for the top six.

 

Aua’s representative suggested having a re-race for the Group B as the committee did for Group A, noting that it’s unfair to disqualify Aua when Group A had their chance to a re-race, yet Aua should also be given a chance.

 

Mauga responded with a raised voice, telling Aua to leave things where they are, that the decision has been made and it’s final!

 

He slapped the table and said in Samoan, “Aua kou ke kofokofoa mai iga a’u” (don't you dare challenge me).” Mauga stated strongly that the decision is final and if they change it for Aua, what about the other villages and their fautasi crew.

 

Mauga reminded the captains again of the rules that were set by the committee from the beginning, and that those who disobeyed would be disqualified. He pointed out that some of the fautasi were in front of the starting line, another crew showed unacceptable behavior (amio le tau pulea) yet another crew showed poor sportsmanship.

 

(He was referring to Faga’alu for unacceptable behavior, causing trouble at the finish line, while Fagatogo for poor sportsmanship — they apparently tangled oars with the Aeto at the finish line.)

 

Mauga said that the fautasi committee will enforce their rules now, because if not now, when will they ever be enforced?

 

The co-chair of the Flag Day Committee was referring to past races where there have been complaints against previous fautasi committees for not enforcing race rules by disqualifying those who don’t follow the rules.

 

Mauga, who is Secretary of Samoan Affairs and is the Paramount Chief of Ma’oputasi of the villages Faga’alu to Aua, mentioned Fagatogo by name saying that the decision is final.

 

The heats were covered by Samoa News on the Sau Ia! vessel owned by the Leala Peter Reid family. The vessel’s participation in the 2016 Flag Day Fautasi race is sponsored by Powerade and Vaimalu, distributed solely by GHC Reid Co.; Napa Samoa; Peter E. Reid Stevedoring Inc.; and Samoa Motors.

 

HEAT NO. 2 – OFFICIAL

 

Heat No. 2 was composed of Group B: (1) Fuao - Vatia; (2) Paepaeulupoo II - Aua; (3) Matasaua - Manu’atele; (4) Manulele Tausala II; (5) Manulele Tausala I, and both fautasi of the Legislative and Executive Branches for lanes (6) & (7).

 

As previously noted, the Committee later disqualified three of the fautasi for being in front of the starting line when the beginning of the race was sounded.

 

It ran 2 miles, starting over by Lauli’i-Aua.

 

Final decision: Fuao – Vatia and Manulele Tausala I qualified for the final race.

 

Without the disqualification the standings were Paepaeulupoo II - Aua (1st place), Matasaua - Manu’atele (2nd), and Manulele Tausala I - Nu’uuli (3rd), Fuao – Vatia (4th), Sinapioa – Executive Branch (5th), Manulele Tausala II – Nuuuli (6th) and Iseulaolemoana II- Legislative Branch (7th).

 

The race, which started right in front of Matafao point, didn’t determine a leader at that time, as all fautasi crews were in full power racing side by side.

 

It wasn’t until the race reached Su’igaula o le Atuvasa Park that Samoa News spotted the Paepaeulupo’o II of Aua, starting to break away from the group of competitors who were scrambled in the middle as they headed toward the Rainmaker buoy.

 

The Matasaua II from Manu’a showed a big improvement as they caught up with the Paepaeulupo’o from Aua just behind the main dock – but Teioutaife’au Leonard Sonoma changed Aua’s pacing strategy, which separated the Paepaeulupo’o from the Matasaua II and the remaining competitors.

 

Not even a half a mile toward the finish line, the Matasaua II put on a show and picked up the pace – they came back and caught up to Aua just behind the Malaloa Dock.

 

It was an exciting finish to the second heat, as the Paepaeulupo’o II finished in 1st by half of a fautasi length in front of the Matasaua II, which came in 2nd.

 

HEAT NO. 1 – RE-RACE OFFICIAL

 

The re-run of Heat No. 1 was done after the Heat No. 3 was done.

 

Group A was composed of: (1) Fealofani Samoa II; (2) Tama o le Muaau - Faleniu; (3) Aeto - Pago Pago (4) Iseulaolemoana III; (5) Fetu o le Afiafi - Fagaalu, (6) Taema II - Leone.

 

It began just behind the Rainmaker Hotel point, with all six fautasi lined up for a second try to official standings. The race was estimated to be less than 2 miles, shorter than the original heat.

 

At the sound of the horn, the Taema II from Leone, which was closer to the cannery side, was spotted leading over the other five competitors.

 

However, Samoa News spotted the Fealofani Samoa II slowly inching toward the lead, stayed focused on the same lane that put them in front during the past two disqualified heats. When the group reached the market area, there was no question, as the Fealofani Samoa II took the lead by half a fautasi ahead of the Taema II.

 

Fagasa maintained their lead all the way to the finish line to again come in first, as Taema II came in 2nd, the Aeto, who ended up tangling oars with the IseulaoleMoana III just before the finish line— came in 3rd, Fagatogo then came in 4th, Faleniu’s Tama o le Mua’au in 5th, and the Fetu o le Afiafi from Faga’alu settled for 6th place.

 

Qualifiers from this heat were the first, second, third and fifth place winners — with Fagatogo and Faga’alu being disqualified by the Committee.

 

Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu, Samoa News Reporter contributed to this story.

 

 

 

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