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Cultural Activities Event in Hawaii celebrates Samoan Heritage

Samoan youth in Hawaii making Elei prints
(Source: Governor’s Office press release)

Honolulu, HAWAII — Traditional food preparation led off the third Samoa Cultural Activities Event in Hawaii, organized by the Aganu’u and Gagana Committee as part of the Samoan Heritage Initiative Program sponsored by the Governor’s Hawaii Office. The event took place at the Kanana Fou Hall on Saturday, April 6.

Attendees received a Fa’amaoni Card upon arrival, serving as their passport to the day's immersive workshops and activities, recording their journey through various booths, including traditional cooking techniques and arts and crafts. This card also served as their entry into a special raffle drawing.

The day began with a hands-on activity where participants delved into traditional food preparation methods. They experienced setting up an umu (Samoan underground oven), husking coconuts, and peeling bananas and breadfruits. Breakfast included a tasting session of Samoan delicacies like Koko Alaisa, Poi Fa’i, Koko Samoa, Pani Popo, and Fa’ausi.

Highlighting the day’s events was the Ava ceremony led by Fata L. Utupo alongside the Lighthouse Youth. Reverend Elder Koneferenisi Nu’usa shared additional wisdom, reinforcing the community’s role in nurturing and educating its children.

In an enriching workshop, participants had the opportunity to explore the art of the Tuiga, a headdress, with Laronda Mavaega of Le Atuto’s Creations, observing the meticulous process involved in adorning a Taupou’s head with the tuiga. Participants had the opportunity to create and make their own palefuiono adorned with embellishments.

Guided by Leiese and Lawrence Apo, a BYU Samoan Language professor, this booth introduced participants to the significant art of Elei fabric printing. Attendees selected their designs and colors, creating personalized Elei prints to cherish as mementos of the day.

Ta Mamanu or Wood Carving led by Sam Alone and his talented daughter delved into the skilled craft of traditional Samoan wood carving. Participants designed their patterns on paper, which were then brought to life in wood, crafting pieces ranging from the decorative to the functional.

The day was punctuated with performances, including a guest appearance by Arrianna Princess Auva’a, the energizing Siva Samoa led by Miss Samoa Hawai’i Sive Jarrard and Claire Toeava, and the grand finale Taualuga by Reverend Koneferenisi Nu’usa.

The event concluded with a raffle, rewarding participants with unique prizes that celebrated Samoan Culture generously donated by our presenters and community partners. Prizes included a Samoan Language Children’s book, courtesy of Pepe Faitau Book Co., a mini woven Ili Samoa, a mini carved fish hook necklace, a $25.00 cash prize, ASG-HI Mask and Keychain, and a complimentary haircut by Kala Kutz in Aiea.

The American Samoa Governor’s office extends its deepest appreciation to all who participated in making this event a meaningful celebration of Samoan heritage and looks forward to continued collaboration in preserving and sharing the Samoan culture.

For additional information about the Samoan Heritage Initiative Program and future events, please visit our website at or find us on Facebook.