The popular fautasi race of longboats that is usually the highlight of any celebration has been postponed to the end of the year.
Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mataafa said the sea-sports sub committee of the 60th Independence celebrations have confirmed the postponement due to the state of various teams and their preparations.
The Prime Minister says the work that goes into the preparation of fautasi racing is not easy, and it is best to allow more time for this event.
“This was the advice received from the sub-committee.. it gives more preparation time to entrants, so the fautasi race will be held at the end of the year, as the taualuga (finalé) of the 60th Independence celebrations”.
“O le a tuu atu le faaagatama i le tai, e taualuga ai le tatou tausaga..”
“E pei e sili ai ona tuu atu i tua lenei faamoemoe ona e le o se galuega faigofie, aemaise fautasi.”
In an earlier interview with Police Commissioner Auapaau Logoitino Filipo who is also Co-Chair of the 60th Independence Celebrations Committee, he jad confirmed that although they had met with all the major fautasi crews, only three had formally registered for the race, which has a first-place prize money of $60,000 tala.
The Fautasi Regatta this year extends to include other sea sports that need such as the tulula or whaling boats to be rowed by women crews. Six person canoe or paopaos, as well as va’aalo or individual canoe races are also planned to coincide with the fautasi race, as a festival regatta.
The annual Teuila Festival is being revived after two years of COVID restrictions and will be replaced this year as the major event of the year-round 60th Anniversary of Independence celebrations.
The fautasi race used to be the finalé of Samoa’s Independence celebrations in the early years. The Kingdom of Tonga once sent crews to compete in Samoa’s annual event.
It was then dropped from the June independence celebrations and shifted to September for the Teuila Festival.