By: Jasmine Netzler-Iose, Government Press. Thunder will be heard across areas close to Apia at midnight of Sunday 31st December as the first day of 2024 is welcomed.
The Samoa Tourism Authority have confirmed fireworks for not only Apia but also on the Big Island as the saying made popular by the late Hon Tofilau Eti Alesana goes; what is good for Upolu is also good for Savai’i.
The confirmation comes from Samoa Tourism Authority Manager Statistics and Research, and Chairman of the Fireworks Committee Niumata Kitiona Pogi, in a press conference this week.
Niumata says Apia’s fireworks will happen out at sea on a barge belonging to the Samoa Shipping Corporation.
The showcase for residents of Savai’i will take place infront of Amoa Resort at Siufaga.
As Niumata explains, the fireworks since it has become part of Samoa’s celebrations, has always been funded under the budget of S.T.A. with support from partners.
“In the last four years there have been two companies involved; PYRO International that conducted the fireworks in 2018-2019 and Vin Tiel last year.”
Fireworks says Niumata will take place at midnight Sunday early Monday 01 January 2024 and will run for 12 to 15 minutes in Upolu and up to 9 minutes in Savaii.
This is a result of the amount of fireworks that will be utilised for the showcase in Apia says Niumata.
Sales and Marketing Manager Losa Maia’i confirmed the cost for fireworks is approximately close to NZD$200,000 tala.
She acknowledged the key partners working together with S.T.A. to ensure the fireworks is a success.
The Samoa Police Service, FESA, MNRE, MWTi, SSC, LTA, BBE and the Samoa Ports Authority.
“Thank you to these ministries for their support to enable this event for Samoa.”
FESA.’s Acting Commissioner Matofai Mata’u Esau Lotu stressed the importance of safety during the show of fireworks on the eve of New Year’s.
According to Matofai although the risk has dropped from having the fireworks starting off from land safety is still important to take into consideration.
“Because even though it will happen from a barge on the harbour there is still risk with containers on the wharf and we are not aware of what is inside those and also for the safety of families living close to the coast.”
Matofai says FESA will roll out its usual safety operation and stand by to ensure they are prepared in case an incident might occur during the display of fireworks.
Fire trucks have been allocated for the harbour, around Beach Road and at the FMFMII building and Mulinu’u.
An ambulance will also be on standby in case an urgent medical situation arises involving any of the spectators since there will not only be the elderly but children.
F.E.S.A. will also have officers on foot patrol he added.
Matofai is urging adults to ensure they look out for their children who enjoy watching the display from on the seawall in case someone might slip in the side of the sea.
S.T.A. Senior Marketing Officer Levao Iulai Lesa says that a bid was given out to companies in NZ and Australia but safety and service standard guidelines of Samoa Police and F.E.S.A. has to be met before the winning bid was considered.
He urged the community to tune into the radio, watch television and the newspapers for any updates regarding any sudden changes to the programme for the fireworks.
But reminded that F.E.S.A. and the Samoa Police will have a marked zone that will be safe for spectators so he calls upon the public and community at Savai’i to prioritise safety at all times.
He says it is better to be safe and sound after watching the fireworks display rather after the event, and an accident has occurred due to not heeding the calls for safety.
Feature Photo: SGN