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Samoa invites two fautasi teams for 50th anniversary

The Independence Committee for Samoa’s 50th Anniversary celebration has invited two fautasi teams from American Samoa — those which placed first and second during American Samoa’s Flag Day race earlier this month.

Aeto from Pago Pago Village won the race, with “Nu’uuli” from Nu’uuli Village taking second place.

In an interview with Samoa News, Co-Chairman of the Independence Committee Tolofuaivalelei Falemoe Leiataua said the invitations have already been sent to the office of Samoan Affairs for the two fautasi crews.

However there are conditions that the fautasi from American Samoa must meet in order to be qualified to compete in Samoa’s Fautasi race on June 2, 2012.

“The Committee has decided to invite Aeto from Pago Pago Village and Satani of Nu’uuli, but the fautasi competing in the race, cannot be a ‘high-tech’ fautasi,” said Tolofuaivalelei.

The Aeto fautasi from Pago Pago is a high-tech fautasi, however the Satani II of Nu’uuli, which placed second is a traditional Samoan fautasi. Tolofuaivalelei said “the Committee has agreed to bring back how fautasi were built 50 years ago, and this is the reason for banning high-tech fautasi.”

“Also banned at the fautasi race are the scooped (spoon) oars” he noted, adding that the fautasi crews will only be allowed the use of flat oars, which were the kind “used in the past by our ancestors.”

He added that the committee thought that it would be nice to bring back how the fautasi races were conducted fifty years ago.

Aside from the fautasi crews, also invited are the villages of Aasu and Alataua to perform at Samoa’s 50th Anniversary Celebrations. Tolofuaivalelei said Aasu and Alataua will be performing traditional pese and siva as part of the celebration.

Calls to Samoan Affairs Deputy Secretary Nanai Afuola were unanswered as of press time.

The Independence Committee for Samoa’s 50th Anniversary also invited the men’s cricket team from Vatia that were the champions for 2011 to represent American Samoa and compete with the cricket teams from Samoa.

Pago Pago village council has yet to decide whether the Aeto will participate in Samoa’s 50th Anniversary fautasi race.

As of press time, Nu’uuli’s fautasi captain had yet to reply to questions sent by Samoa News. However, Samoa News understands that issues of where the crew and group would stay is very much a factor in this decision, as well as the cost.

Read the Samoan language  version of this story in Le Leli section