Flag Day Fautasi Race chairman named
Western district governor, Faoa Lualemaga was introduced as the new chairman of the 2014 Flag Day fautasi race during a meeting held between the Office of Samoan Affairs and captains of long boats in Utulei on Tuesday afternoon.
Deputy Secretary of SA, Tuiagamoa Tavai made the introduction. Faoa told the skippers and representatives that he was happy to be a part of the most popular event in Flag Day activities.
The new chairman then called for confirmation on the number of fautasi that would be in the Flag Day race this year. One by one, each kapiteni rose to say that his village sa would compete. In the final tally, ten boats will be there. Pago Pago, Aua, Vatia, Fagasa, Manu’a, Nu’uuli (2), Fagatogo, Faga’alu, and Vailoa are now assured of their participation.
Tuiagamoa then addressed some of the matters that were tabled from the previous meeting and told the gathering that the committee has made the decision on the fautasi registration fee. “We’re imposing a $500 fee on every fautasi”.
He also said that the first prize money for this year’s mua might go as high as $20,000. “The final decision on this however rests with the governor when he gets back from Honolulu.”
Senator, Soliai Tuipine, who is one of Nu’uuli’s captains raised his objection, citing the expensive boats villages have built and the costly campaigns they have endured.
“A $20,000 first prize is not enough to cover the expenses each village spends during theirs campaigns. Nu’uuli has entered two fautasi that will place first and second after the race but the money we will get is not enough. I still feel that the fees should be suspended”.
Other representatives supported Solia’i. Tuiagamoa said he and Faoa have decided to lower the entry fee to $300. “We need money to pay for the prizes but if that is your wish, then we can’t increase the monetary awards for this year’s tu’uga.”
In the end, the meeting adopted the fee reduction and chairman Faoa set the deadline for villages to pay up.
“We will meet again next week on Wednesday (April 2nd) at 9.am here at the Samoan Affairs Office. You should bring your entry fee with you. On that day also, lanes will be drawn for fautasi to race from. The #1 lane is paralleled with the airport while the #10 lane lies toward the Aunu’u Island The race will be seven miles long”.