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Paramount Flag Day banner
The Aeto and Paepaeulupo’o

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The highly anticipated 2023 Flag Day Tu’uga Va’a  — fautasi race — is happening on Saturday, April 15.

This year’s Fautasi Fiva is sponsored by Paramount Builders — the local company that also happens to be the major supporter for this year’s Flag Day Fautasi Regatta. The CEO of Paramount Builders, Papali’i Lauli’i Alofa has gifted $100, 000 to the Flag Day Fautasi Committee to sponsor the race.

The prizes for the regatta are as follows: First place, $20,00; 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.

In addition to the monetary prizes, the winning fautasi will also receive the Lealaifuaneva Peter Reid Perpetual Cup, named in honor of the late senator, businessman, philanthropist, and one of the most successful Fautasi captains.

The Lealaifuaneva Peter Reid family is also donating half of the $20,000 prize to the winning fautasi.

Fautasi Fiva on the sami, today highlights the Aeto Sa from Pago Pago and the 2019 Flag Day Fautasi Regatta defending champions, the Paepaeulupo’o from Aua.

They were asked the same three questions Fagasa, Leone and Manu’a captains were asked: 1) What is their expectations for this year’s fautasi race; 2) What are their chances on snatching the first place trophy and monetary prize; and, 3) Do they have any words of encouragement for their fellow competing auva’a and captains?


Hank Sesepasara, captain of the Aeto [photo: Charity Faatau]

Hank Sesepasara is the captain of the Aeto from Pago Pago; and when asked what his expectations were for the Flag Day race, Sesepasara told Samoa News their main goal and his expectation for his va’a is to represent Pago Pago fully — getting first place because everyone is aiming to get first place and the trophy.

Asked what he thought their chances were at reclaiming Pago’s glory pedestal, Sesepasara said that the Aeto crew “has a whole lot of confidence in their potential to win.

“We’ve been training and practicing for the past 8 weeks, we’ve got a fit crew, a strong crew and I’m faithful in their capabilities to bring home that win this coming Saturday”, he stated confidently.

Captain Sesepasara concluded with words of encouragement for all auva’a, “Like they say amongst the youth and in sports competition, ‘O tatou e oti lava ile kigi’.”


Voloti Malietoa, captain of the Paepaeulupo’o [photo: Charity Faatau]

Captain of the Paepaeulupo’o is Voloti Malietoa, who said one of his expectations for this year’s race has been meet: It “…is that the government brings back our annual longboat race.

“Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic, which we’re still living in — it’s been 3 years since they put [the race] off and canceled the race because of that.

“Reviving this tradition is very important in celebrating American Samoa’s Flag Day and the treaty that the government signed with the United States of America 123 years ago.

“And this is very important not only to the village of Aua, but important to American Samoa and Manu’a, and especially to the other villages who are not competing this year, but will be working towards putting their auva’a in consideration for future races.”

To conclude Paepaeulupo’o Captain Voloti wishd “the best of luck to each village that has a Sa competing in this year's race, especially with the work that went into coaching, training and drilling of our rowers in getting ready for the race this Saturday.

“To all the captains and mainly to the rowers who were produced by all the families here in American Samoa and Manu’a, who are so dedicated to this race, I again wish you all the best of luck and may the best auva’a win.

“And to our youth and spectators that will be attending the fautasi race, I hope that it will be a quiet and uneventful race as we gear towards the fautasi race on Saturday in celebrating and honoring American Samoa’s Flag Day.”