Samoa Observer Tusitala Short Story Competition Goes from Strength to Strength


21 August 2020, Apia Samoa. The Samoa Observer Tusitala Short Story competition continues to grow from strength to strength and this year, received 1,315 entries from schools across Upolu and Savaii.

Samoa Observer editor Mataafa Keni Lesa said there were 625 and 690 respective entries for the Samoan and English categories.

Samoa Observer Editor Mataafa Keni Ramesa Lesa.

“Stories written in Samoan came from 56 different schools, and over 40% of those were from Savaii;

“By contrast the stories written in English came from 61 schools, with 75% of them from Upolu”.

Now in its 9th year, Samoa Observer partnered with Samoa Stationery and Books, Vodafone Samoa and Eveni, and the prize giving ceremony held in the SSAB conference Friday morning was a celebration of student winners from schools across Upolu as well as Savaii.

Over 60 award winners from Years 4 to 13 received prizes including gift vouchers and handsets with student sims.

This year’s competition theme was centered around the COVID-19 pandemic now impacting the world over. Students were asked to write an imaginary story, or one from a real life experience, about the global pandemic.

Winner of the Year 13 English category Tupulua Pelenato of Faatuatua College said she based her story on everyday life during the coronavirus state of emergency lockdown.

Tupulua Pelenato with her proud father and grandparents.

“Usually the buses are full and I have to sit on a stranger but the best thing about lockdown was you weren’t allowed to have a full bus.., so I get to have a seat all to myself,” she smiles and says in an interview with Mataafa.

As keynote speaker for the prizegiving event, His Excellency the High Commissioner of Great Britain in Samoa Mr David Ward thanked the Samoa Observer for the initiative and acknowledged all students who submitted entries.

High Commissioner of Great Britain to Samoa HE David Ward

His Excellency highlighted the importance of the annual event, and quoted from the Scottish author who made Samoa his home: the Tusitala, Robert Louis Stevenson..”The difficulty of literature is not to write, but to write what you mean; not to affect your reader, but to affect him precisely as you wish”.

He told students to find themselves, and encouraged them to be unique in their writing.

“You need to find your own voice and send your stories out to touch people on the other side of the world.. just as the Tusitala had said….you have to know what you mean, and to know what you mean, you have to first know yourself..”

First prize for English Year 12 Peta Toleafoa of St Mary’s College with President of SSAB Tofilau Fiti Leung Wai.

Notable this year was the overwhelming interest from schools in Savaii. Mataafa highlighted that the increased entries from Savaii has been well reflected in the number of students from Savaii schools amongst the prize winners of this year.

“O lo tatou faamoemoe o loo taumafai pea, ae pei ona faafofoga iai i le aso lenei, o le tele o tamaiti manumalo i faailoga, e omai mai Savaii”.

Mahabi Malofou Lalomalava Primary School in Savaii is the Yr 8 Samoan Story 1st prize.

The annual short story competition aims to improve literacy levels throughout schools in Samoa and to encourage all students to write and read in both languages.

“It is also an opportunity to showcase our writers from Samoa to the world, by publishing their work”.

Four esteemed Samoan writers judged the competition; Afioga Silafau Professor Sina Vaai, Afioga Papalii Momoe Von Reiche,  Fitima’ula Donna Aiono Le Tagaloa Ioane and award winning writer Jenny Bennet-Tuionetoa.

Tupulua Pelenato of Faatuatua College topped the Year 13 English category whlie Le Amosa Salevavau’s Tilitilimai Ah Kuoi took out the Samoan category.

Winner of Year 13 Samoan category Tilitilimai Ah Kuoi with Pincipal of Le Amosa Selevavau.

Fusita Tupu of Itu o Tane claimed the first prize for Year 12 Samoan while Peta Toleafoa of St Mary’s College won the English category.

Fusita Tupu of Itu o Tane receives his prize from Tofilau Fiti Leung Wai, President and CEO of SSAB.

Year 11 English went to Sonja Tuaumu of Mata-ae-vae College while Loveni Ah Kuoi of Le Amosa Salevavau took the prize for the best Samoan story.

Winner of Year 11 English story, Sonja Tuaumu of Mata-ae-vae College.

The Year 10 top English story was awarded to Luzaria Tiresa Vaai of St Mary’s College while Taunapo Mohr of Leulumoega Fou College claimed the first prize for the Samoam category.

Luzaria Tiresa Vaai Year 10 English 1st prize winner with Vodafone CEO Satish Sharma

Mataua Sue of Itu o Tane was the best English story for Year 9 and Jalesofalita Lepule of Pesega College took the Samoan prize.

Ilevet Taupau of Divine Mercy School won the best English story for year 8 and Mahabi Malofou of Lalomalava took the first prize for the Samoan story.

Receiving her prize from Papalii Momoe Von Reiche, Sita Posi  for Best Samoan story for Year 6.

The Year 7 top English story was won by Tausiva Fepulea’i Pita of Vaitele Primary while Bructaness took the Yr 7 Samoan.

Salanatessa Hansell of Vaiala Beach School claimed the 1st prize in the English competition for Year 6 while Sita Posi of Vailoa Faleata Primary School won the Samoan story.

Antonia Ah Him of Samoa Primary took the prize for Year 5 English while Adel Seumanutafa of Vaitele Uta Primary School won the best Year 5 Samoan Story.

Antonia Ah Him Best English story for Year 5.

And for Year 4, Vaiala Beach School’s Jackson Mc Leod won the English while Jacqueline Tevaga of St Mary’s claimed the best Samoan story.

Jacqueline Tevaga of St Mary’s Primary School.

The full list of 2020 Short Story Winners includes those who missed out on the top 3, but rated as HC-Highly Commended stories.

Year 4 English:

HC- Travis Betham, Vaiala Beach & Tausilioalii Lam, Samoa Primary 

3rd Robert Wendt, Marist Brothers

2nd Ramseus Aiono, Sauniatu Primary

1st Jackson McLeod, Vaiala Beach

Year 4 Samoan: 

HC-Lolagi Ofisa Tofa, Vaimoso Primary & Hadassah Simati, Solosolo Primary  

3rd Toevalaauina Tanuaola, St Peter’s Primary 

2nd Marturion Nata F Sua, Vaimoso Primary 

1st Jacqueline Tevaga, St Mary’s Primary 


Year 5 English:

HC-Ivanhoe Iosefa, Samoa Primary & Sophie Fesili, Vaiala Beach

3rd Serah Tagi, Vaiala Beach

2nd Meredith Ah Kuoi, Vaiala Beach

1st Atonia Ah Him, Samoa Primary

Year 5 Samoan:

HC- Gloria Reupena, Samoa Primary & Jessica Alofaifo, Aele Fou Primary  

3rd Potoae Tonumaipea, Sauniatu Primary

2nd Robert Maoae, Lalomalava Primary

1st Adel Seumanutafa, Vaitele-uta  Primary


Year 6 English:

HC-Emanuel Va’ai, Vaiala Beach & Jireh Fau, RLS Primary 

3rd Josephine Sefo, Letui Primary

2nd Imogen Meyer, Vaiala Beach

1st Salanatessa Hansell, Vaiala Beach

Year 6 Samoan:

HC-Lynette Seuao, Solosolo Primary & Koroseta Tofiga, Moata’a Primary

3rd Gillian H Soti, Samoa Primary   

2nd Sonny Lekaisa, Puapua Primary

1st Sita Posi,  Vailoa Faleat


Year 7 English:

HC-Douglas Ioane, Vailima Primary & Galusina McIntosh, Vaiala Beach

3rd Hellengrace Leota     Solosolo Primary

2nd Roses Mailelani Va’aulu    RLS Primary

1st Tausiva Fepuleai-Pita    Vaitele-uta  Primary

Year 7 Samoan:

HC-Utahna Fa’alavaau, Lalomalava Primary & Fa’afetai Falaniko, Sagato Petelo

3rd Rebecca Lami, Sagato Petelo

2nd Elisha Naoupu, Aele Primary

1st Bructaness Feula, Lepea Primary


Year 8 English

HC- Cecilia Iosefa, St Mary’s Primary & Rosaline Ah Liki, Vaiala Beach

3rd James Davetanivalu, Vaiala Beach

2nd Lopeti Lei Sam, Marist Brothers

1st Ilevet Taupau, Divine Mercy School

Year 8 Samoan: 

HC-Agape Viliamu, Tanugamanono & Shakainah Fa’asau, Moata’a Primary 

3rd Fenumiai Lavi, Vailima Primary

2nd Le-Sinatapuitea, Siufaga Falelatai

1st Mahabi Malofou,      Lalomalava


Year 9 English:

HC: Manino Fa’asopo, Itu o Tane College & Darren Peti, Don Bosco College

3rd Katalaina Sio, St Peters Chanel

2nd Pius V Fa’anu’uali’i, St Josephs College

1st Mataua Sue, Itu o Tane 7751131

Year 9 Samoan:

HC: Fana’afi Ioane, Le Amosa & Lesina Pio, St Mary’s

3rd Christina Aiva, St Mary’s 

2nd Vaioleola Ah Kuoi, Le Amosa Col

1st Jalesofalita Lepule, Pesega Middle School


Year 10 English:

HC: Lonnysha Taua, Le Amosa & Faustina Ah Fook, Don Bosco

1st Luzaria Tiresa Va’ai, St Mary’s

3rd  Daryl Adam, Alofi-o-Taoa

2nd Taunapo Magele Mohr, Leulumoega Fou

1st Luzaria Tiresa Va’ai, St Mary’s College

Year 10 Samoan:  

HC: Mavaega Fa’ataga, Safata College & Patrick Tuanoa, Itu-o-Tane

3rd Mary Tautunu, Leifiifi College

2nd Miracle Manase, Itu-o-Tane

1st Taunapo Mohr, Leulumoega Fou


Year 11 English

HC: Luvali Amani, Mata-ae-vae & Emmla Taua, Le Amosa.

3rd Oraynorose Magele, Mata-ae-vae 

2nd Logo Fitisemanu, Pesega College

1st Sonja Tuaumu, Mata-ae-vae

Year 11 Samoan:

HC: Natalie Folau, Palaulaua College

3rd Uputaua Faigame, Itu-o-Tane 

2nd Miriama Ioane, Alofi-o-Taoa

1st Loveni Ah Kuoi, Le Amosa


Year 12 English:

HC: Evvalani Lees Va’ai St Mary’s College & Dollysarai Menu, Itu-o-Tane 

3rd Anjecs Sheck, St Mary’s College

2nd TJ Lauina, Le Amosa College

1st Peta Toleafoa, St Mary’s College        

Year 12 Samoan:

HC: Tavita Sauileone, Itu-o-Tane & Henrychiu Lemauai, Leifiifi Col

3rd Towan Shiku Sauileone, Itu-o-Tane

2nd Campaign Fidow, St Mary’s

1st Fusita Tupu, Itu-O-Tane


Year 13 English

HC-Audrey Lee Hang, St Mary’s College & Lucilla Tavita, Papauta College.

3rd Lenalei Chan Ting, St Mary’s College

2nd Lupeoaunuu Va’ai, St Mary’s College

1st Tupulua Pelenato, Fa’atuatua College.

Year 13 Samoan:  

HC-Matia Fua, Itu-o-Tane & Va’asili Sasita, Savaii Sisifo.

3rd Litia Pauaraisa, Alofi-o-Taoa

2nd Faletui Leleiga, Alofi-o-Taoa

1st Tilitilimai Ah Kuoi, Le Amosa 7780564

Maina Vai