By: Jasmine Netzler-Iose


A delegation of 70 is scheduled to leave Samoa this Sunday to participate at the 13th Festival of Pacific Arts and Culture hosted by Hawai’i this year.


FestPAC was established in 1972 by the South Pacific Commission (SPC) today known as the Pacific Community to end the loss of traditional practices of Pacific Island countries through cultural exchange.


The Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Education and Culture, Aeau Chris Hazelman revealed on Monday afternoon in a Press Conference with local media that Samoa’s delegation will be led by Minister of Education and Culture, Seuula Ioane Tuā’au.


The delegation will also include Associate Minister of Education Agaseata Valelio Tanuvasa Peto, the Teachers Dancing group, Aeau himself and weavers, cooks, tattooists, painters, artists, story tellers, carvers, handcrafters and many more.


Upon arrival in Hawai’i the Minister will take part in a meeting before the major conference of Culture Ministers that will discuss the future of this program and look at which country will be the next host.


This meeting will happen prior to the actual festival which will be held from the 6th June to the 16th June 2024 under the theme; “Ho’oulu Lāhui: Regenerating Oceania”.


The festival is the world’s largest indigenous showcase of Pacific Island culture and traditions and according to Aeau an important event held every four years to address the various challenges that already exist and are faced by Pacific Island countries.


The festival aids in the efforts to remind and value the importance of our culture and traditions he added.


Also pointing out these challenges include; climate change, natural disasters and rising sea level and the issues already faced by many countries today of efforts into reviving their languages which are disappearing.


Samoa however is not a new comer to the festival as it hosted in 1996 and have participated several times.


But Aeau confirmed that the festival is late to start this time since restrictions resulting from COVID had held it back from taking place.


Hawai’i was initially to play host to the festival in June 2020 however due to COVID 19 it did not take place as scheduled until now.


The festival following the major meeting will initially start on the 6th of June where there will be a showcase of handicrafts, tattooing, food, different clothes, and entertainment, and there will also be artists, storytelling, and specialised skilled people including cooks and carvers and designers etc.


The CEO emphasised that the main idea is to use this platform to build awareness of the general public about the importance of culture and traditions and keeping it alive.


He also pointed out that showcasing of our culture and traditions include reflecting in those various performances and artistic talents the essence of our core values as Samoans.


According to Aeau it was essential that we understand what is being portrayed rather than just absorbing it without actual knowledge or comprehension of the underlying message


For those interested in following the event the 6th of June for Hawai’i is our 7th June.


The travel across to Hawai’i by the delegation is funded by the Ministry under its budget.


All other costs will be incurred by the hosting country once they arrive in Hawai’i including accommodation etc. say the CEO.




Aeau also reaffirmed the media that there will be no disruptions to the studies and curriculum of the students as a result of the teachers heading over to Hawai’i to perform in the dance group.


They have been preparing for the past 2 months and all of these were part of the conditions that were involved in participating at this festival.


They have to make sure that they are prepared to continue on with their teaching schedules that the curriculum is at upon return.


According to the CEO the teachers dancing group are made up of over 30 representatives and make up the largest number of the delegation.


And what does the delegation hope to shine light on at the festival?


  1. According to Aeau, that is to show that we have got our own issues but we will handle it in our own way – our own Samoan way and that we can handle them.


Photos: FestPac Hawaiʻi/Facebook & Pule Puleina

Brisin Manu Retzlaff-Lima