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FAUTASI FIVA IS ON THE SAMI…

Pago Page, AMERICAN SAMOA — As the Flag Day festivities are fast approaching, so is the anticipation of the tu’uga va’a  — the fautasi race — on Saturday, April 15, 2023.

This year’s Fautasi Fiva is sponsored by Paramount Builders — the local company also happens to be the major supporter for this year’s Flag Day Fautasi Regatta.

At the Governor’s cabinet meeting held Monday, April 10, 2023, PC Mauga T. Aseuga and Lt. Governor Talauega E.V. Ale accepted a donation of $100,000 from the CEO of Paramount Builders, Papali’i Lauli’i Alofa for the sponsorship of the Flag Day fautasi race.

Yesterday, at the last Flag Day Fautasi Committee meeting with all captains and representatives of competing fautasi attending the prizes for the tu’uga va’a were also announced and amount to $89,000 in total:

First place, $20,000; Second place, $17,000; Third place, $15,000; Fourth place, $13,000; 5th place, $10,000; 6th place, $8,000; and 7th place prize will be $6,000.

Fautasi racing lanes were also confirmed in yesterday’s meeting:

Lane 1- Taema (Leone); Lane 2- Fealofani (Fagasa);

Lane 3- Matasaua (Manu’a), Lane 4- Aeto (Pago Pago);

Lane 5- Manulele Tausala (Nuuuli); Lane 6- Paepaeulupo’o (Aua),

and Lane 7- Iseula o le Moana (Fagatogo)

During the week, Samoa News will bring all 7 competitors to the table to discuss their mana’o for this year’s Flag Day Fautasi Regatta.

A Samoa News correspondent went out into the field to interview the captains of each auva’a on what their expectations are for this year's flag day regatta, the first fautasi race since the COVID pandemic affected the Fa’aSamoa way of life and culture.

FAUTASI FIVA

Samoa News asked three simple questions to each captain: 1) What are their expectations for this year's flag day regatta; 2) What chance they think they have to snatch the first place trophy; and, 3) Any words of encouragement they could give to their fellow rowers and captains.

First up on our roster is the captain of the Fealofani Samoa III from Fagasa, Atuatasi Aga Seigafo, “We’ve been intensely training our rowers the past few weeks and I can say that our rowers are prepared physically and mentally, and they’re more than prepared due to their intense training and the preparations we’ve had the past few weeks.

Atuatasi Aga Seigafo, captain of the Fealofani Samoa III from Fagasa [photo: Charity Faatau]

“We also want to emphasize the importance of this year’s flag day and satisfy the people of American Samoa in celebrating this year’s festivities.

“Fagasa is very well prepared for this year’s fautasi race. Our biggest hope this year is that the weather will be great and that it is also going to be a fair and square race.

“There’s also no captain that doesn’t want to win, all auva’a that are in this year’s race are all aiming for first place, but we’re here to make use of all the hard work that every auva’a has put in and to do the best we can do.

“The race wouldn’t really be of much importance … if our rowers aren’t performing safely, and that’s the number one thing we want to focus on is the safety of all the auva’a’s that are in this year’s race.”

In answering the final question Seigafo provided words of encouragement to all captains and auva’a — “During our faiga loku this past Sunday, I’ve already conveyed my advice and positive words to our auva’a, that we must not only discipline our minds in order for our bodies to function, but to discipline our spirits as well, and as a representative of Fagasa, we’re also cheering on other auva’a and captains competing alongside us.”

He continued, “…the top priority is that we have a quiet, outstanding, and safe race and for us to have great fellowship, just like our longboat’s name, Fealofani, and that the youth and future of American Samoa may also follow these examples in finding great fellowship amongst each other.

“And we also want to praise and commend the Fautasi committee in order to proctor a great race and that they enforce safety above all things, and to have a fair and square race,” Seigafo stated.

Second on our roster is the captain and fitness trainer of Matasaua from the Manu’atele, Motusaga Tuileama Nua.

Motusaga Tuileama Nua, captain of the Matasaua from Manu’atele [photo: Charity Faatau]

Motusaga also emphasized how important the fautasi race is this year.

“I think because this is the first flag day fautasi race for this administration, we are pumping up to entertain the people of American Samoa … to put on a great show. We don’t think of anything else but coming first, and that’s how we’re going to put on a show and entertain the people of American Samoa along with our competitors.

  “I also want to thank the district of Manu’a and all of their families and friends that are producing these rowers, this is how we bring, not only the territory together, but also our district since we are from Manu’atele.

“Thank you Manu’a and thank you Fale Sefulu for allowing us this opportunity”, Motusaga said.

“I wish every captain of all the fautasi the best of luck, have a lot of fun out there, also to respect each other, and let’s all come together to give the people of American Samoa, and also the people of the Independent State of Samoa an enjoyable flag day race, best of luck to you all!’

Our third interview was with the captain of the Taema from Leone, Senator Faiivae Iuli A. Godinet.