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Samoa Gears up for 60th Independence Anniversary Finale

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA – 12 MAY 2023: Samoa is gearing up for the finale of the yearlong celebrations of the country’s 60th Independence anniversary at the end of the month.

The finale celebration starts with the much anticipated longboat – Fautasi regatta on 26 May 2023.

Five fautasi have been registered for the event with traditional powerhouses:

  • Segavao –Siusega,
  • Little Rina –Toamua,
  • Don Bosco –Alafua,
  • Tolotolo o Tamauli – Salelologa
  • and Telefoni o le Vainu’u– Manono.

The Government has already donated $10,000 each to prepare each boat and crew for the race with the $60,000 winning prize up for grabs.

$60 commemoration tala note launch
In the evening of the same day, a $60 tala note will be launched to commemorate the 60th anniversary.

“This is a milestone for Samoa’s 60th anniversary” said Agafili Shem Leo, the Independence Committee Chairman.

No details of the new note have been made available but Talamua understands the $60 tala note will feature the country’s very first Prime Minister, Fiame Mataafa Faumuina Mulinu’u 11 and the current Prime Minister, Fiame Naomi Mataafa, the first woman Prime Minister for Samoa. This is unique and significant event as Samoa’s very first Prime Minister and the one 60 years later, happen to be father and daughter.

Independence male dancers
Independence male dancers

Dancers performing in a previous Independence celebrations.

Celebration of the arrival of Church in Samoa the Catholic
Part of the celebration is the commemoration of the 192 years since the arrival of the Catholic Church at Lealatele village in Savaii on 27 May.

The official closing of the 60th independence anniversary starts with a Thanksgiving Prayer Service at 4.00pm to be followed by the distribution of the Order of Merit Awards by the Head of State of Samoa, Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi 11.

This will followed with Prime Minister Fiame’s speech then the lowering of the flag and the police salute to officially close the 60th independence celebrations.

The evening will close with a music concert featuring Samoan local and international artists.

Celebration of 61st Independence anniversary
Then on 1st June 2023, Samoa will again gather at the Malae o Tiafau, Mulinu’u early morning to begin the celebrations of the country’s 61st independence anniversary.

The program starts at 6.00 am.

Independence school parade
Independence school parade

One of the schools taking part in the march pass following the flag raising ceremony.

All Government Ministries, Corporations, organisations and schools expected to march on this event have been asked to register with the Ministry of Education Sports & Culture and the Ministry for Women Social Development & Community.

The program starts with a Prayer service conducted by the National Council of Churches then the address by the Head of State. Then Flag Raising will end with the traditional march pass of all the participating organisations, ministries and schools.

The day will end with traditional entertainment by the Palauli le Falefa district from Savaii and Samusu village from Aleipata Itupa i Lalo in Upolu to perform siva Samoa while the village of Mulifanua from Aiga ile tai will perform a traditional song to conclude Samoa’s 61st independence celebrations.

Independence police guard
Independence police guard

The Police Guard of Honour will end the celebrations with the police salute and lowering of the flag.

The yearlong celebrations of the country’s 60 th anniversary, opened up and gave each constituency the chance to organize their own celebrations with the flag raising, march pass and parades and entertainment. Many constituencies doubled up their independence celebrations with the exhibition of the first harvest – Talomua of agricultural and fisheries products and handicrafts.