Phenom Finau keeps his irons in the fire at The Barclays
American Samoa's Tri Marine to find other opportunities
Tri Marine International says it will look for other opportunities to source a tuna supply for its American Samoa cannery.
The fishing industry in the territory is facing serious challenges with restrictions imposed since June, and the United States recently withdrawing from the Pacific fisheries treaty.
There is concern these challenges will result in the closure of Tri Marine's two Pago Pago canneries, as it may not have enough raw material to be processed.
A company spokesperson, Heidi Happonen, says Tri Marine will be able to source tuna from around the world, but at a cost.
She says Tri Marine will look to source tuna from other fleets that may be available to make direct deliveries to American Samoa, while supporting every effort to negotiate a new treaty for US-flagged boats.
StarKist Samoa did not respond to questions on how it would get its fish supply this year.
Government monitoring development
The American Samoa Government is watching closely how the United States pull-out from the South Pacific Tuna Treaty will impact the local tuna industry.
According to the executive assistant to the governor, Iulogologo Joseph Pereira, the implications of the withdrawal of the United States from the Treaty is being reviewed by the American Samoa Fisheries Task Force.
He says the administration has received information that some of the fishing vessels which supply fish to the local canneries are not going out fishing because it is not economically and financially feasible.
Several locally-based purse seiners have been tied up since the end of last year, as they don't have licenses to fish in nearby waters that have been their traditional fishing grounds.
Iulogologo said the government is aggressively implementing economic development initiatives aimed at easing the adverse impact on the territory's economy should the canneries reduce production days due to the shortage of fishstocks.
Horrific Bus crash is not as deadly as reported initially.
5 People were injured when the bus they were riding crashed in Mulifanua, Samoa. There were many reports that initially claimed 15 people died in the crash however, that was not confirmed and the latest reports are reporting that the bus driver and a few others were involved in the crash but none had died. The injured were all treated at Leulumoega Hospital and then transferred to Motootua Hospital where the extent of the injuries are catagorized as serious but not life threatening. Witnesses claimed the bus driver and friends were on the bus which is the Manono Bus. This was one of the old wooden frame buses and the results could have been worse. According to one source there have been close to 50 Bus accident related deaths in the last 5 years and the quality of Bus driver in Samoa is in need of re-examination.
Senator Galea’i: looking for “one honest man” to enter the Governor’s race
By Fili Sagapolutele
Although a staunch supporter of the Lolo and Lemanu camp in the 2012 gubernatorial race, the very outspoken Sen. Galeai Tu’ufuli is looking for someone who is honest, who has the guts to stand up for the people and practice transparency as a candidate for governor in the next general election.
Galeai’s comments come at a time when many in the community, including those in the public sector, have started talking about the 2016 gubernatorial race and possible candidates for governor.
In past years, such discussion regarding candidates for the gubernatorial race becomes intense at least 12 months before an election. This time around, Galeai has started early — 18 months before the November 2016 election.
Speaking with reporters at a news conference yesterday morning, where several issues were discussed, Galea’i made a surprising revelation: “I’m looking for someone to run as candidate for governor”. He says he is not interested in the post, adding “I’m too old for the job.”
“I’m looking around for someone, who is honest, someone who has the guts to stand up for the people. Someone, who, when he says ‘transparent and accountability’, he practices it instead of trying to skirt it,” said Galeai, referring to the Lolo Administration’s promise after winning the 2012 race of “transparency and accountability to the people of American Samoa.”
Galeai said, “I’m looking for somebody with a good mind. Somebody who cares about the people — above all things,” and pointed out that the current administration has not fully practiced “transparency and accountability” on several issues, including government spending and hiring.
Galeai describes Lolo as a “very compassionate person” but running the government and territory, does not rely on “those kinds of emotions” because it could get the territory into trouble, he said.
“I hear Lolo speak, it attracts people, because he talks about family and God. You don’t run the country that way. You pray to God to help you think and then you practice that thinking,” he said. “You don’t have to be reminded who is your Savior. We all know, because we’re very religious people.”
The Manu’a senator also voiced his disappointment over Lolo’s involvement in the final decision for the 2015 Fautasi Race. (See separate story in today’s edition.)
Galeai acknowledged that he was a strong supporter of the Lolo and Lemanu camp during the 2012 gubernatorial campaign. He added, “I’m a great supporter of Lolo. A staunch supporter of Lolo. I still am. But he has to change my mind, by doing his job righ t— because he is not doing it right now.”
Asked to elaborate further on doing the job right, Galeai responded, “when Lolo says things or initiates an issue, he needs to stay with it and finish it; instead of kicking up a storm and all of a sudden it just phases out. That happens a lot.”
Galeai, chairman of the Senate Government Operations Committee, is also concerned with the administration’s spending in personnel costs with reports of many new hires, a lot of them on contract. He says spending is too high versus the approved budget.
He says he has received information that contract workers’ salaries are high — some at $40,000 annually. “It seems to be the starting salary for contract employees,” he said, adding that the Senate will take a much closer look at the financial numbers when the Fono gets into reviewing the fiscal year 2016 budget in the Fall this year.
Galeai also says that there are too many small offices attached to the Governor’s Office. “You don’t see that anywhere else but this place [American Samoa],” he said. “Maybe the governor has a different style of management, but that will get us into trouble in the future.”
(Among the small offices attached to the Governor’s Office, since the Lolo Administration, is the Medicaid Office and the Office of Fraud Prevention and Investigation.)
Another concern by Galeai is the administration initiating the road construction project from Visa Point in Lauli’i heading to Fagaitua without an approved funding source. He says the law is clear, a project is not initiated “unless you have money for it.”
During a Senate Public Works Committee hearing on Mar. 31, Public Works director Faleosina Voigt said improvements to the Eastern District roads have begun, starting with the Visa Point to Fagaitua project, which is funded with local revenue from the Governor’s Office.
Responding to committee questions about the funding source, Voigt said the three-mile construction project would cost more than $1 million, and that all she knows is that the funding is coming through special programs under the Governor’s Office.
However, Sen. Laolagi F.S. Vaeao said there was no such funding allocation for this project in the approved FY 2015 budget.
Galeai said at the hearing that he had watched on KVZK-TV the ground breaking for this project, and the governor had stated that the work had begun — but there was no money for it. While he is supportive of road improvements, Galeai told the Public Works director that it’s important that there is a set funding source already approved by law for these types of projects.
Voigt reiterated that she didn’t know the funding source, and her department was working with the governor’s office, which is providing the money.
Samoa News should point out that Galeai — although still a supporter of the governor — has been critical of the administration during Senate debate and discussion of government issues, especially when it comes to finances and spending by the Administration.
Galeai has also been critical of the governor for not responding to the Senate Government Operations Committee recommendation in September 2013, which called for further review and recovery of the nearly $1 million in payouts to directors of the previous Togiola Administration — including the former governor and lieutenant governor. (See Samoa News edition Apr. 10 for latest update on payouts.)
- See more at: http://www.samoanews.com/content/en/senator-galea%E2%80%99i-looking-%E2%80%9Cone-honest-man%E2%80%9D-enter-governor%E2%80%99s-race#sthash.OoyGH5Tw.OZtpZq3L.dpuf
Malie candidate Seiuli Ueligitoni wins the by election for Sagaga Le Usoga seat
In Samoa, the Sagaga Le Usoga constituent's by-election preliminary results have shown the only candidate from the village of Malie, Seiuli Ueligitone Seiuli, has topped the polls with 735 votes.
But one of the two by-election candidates from Afega village, Fata Tulasunu'i Paulo Seuseu, came second with 492 votes.
The four candidates, all running for the ruling Human Rights Protection party, competed in yesterday's by-election after the former MP, Muagututagata Peter Ah Him, stepped down in March.
The other candidate representing the village of Afega, Logo Fetaomi, came third with 392 votes and the only candidate from Tuanai village, Vatuua Alefosio, came fourth with 121 votes.
The official count will be held on Monday, followed by the announcement of the winner.
Earthquakes strike Samoa and Tonga
A series of earthquakes has struck off the neighbouring South Pacific ocean states of Samoa and Tonga, the US Geological Survey has said, just hours after a major tremor rattled Papua New Guinea to the west.
A number of 6.8-magnitude quakes struck south-west of the Samoan capital, Apia, in waters between the two island states of Tonga and Samoa.
Residents in Samoa told Reuters there were no reports of damage and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said there was no tsunami threat.
The quakes came just hours after a 7.7 quake struck off the coast of Papua New Guinea, near the town of Rabaul, in the country’s north-east.
A tsunami warning was issued soon after the PNG quake, though the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said no destructive, Pacific-wide tsunami was expected.
Samoa youth unemployment plan 'much needed', says ILO
A project coordinator for the International Labour Organisation in Samoa says the country's new action plan on Youth employment is the first of its kind and is a much needed approach in Samoa.
The one year project is funded by Sweden's government and has been launced by the ILO in partnership with Samoa's government.
Cherelle Jackson, who coordinates the national plan known as SNAP on YE, says the project will address key issues that challenge youth employment in the country.
Youth unemployment is estimated to be around 16 percent and further adds to the overall unemployment rate, which remains a critical challenge in Samoa.
Ms Jackson says the plan will also seek to encourage more work in rural areas.
It's a much needed approach on youth employment. We need to increase employment for young people but also the need for people to create employment for themselves.
Press Release – Media PA
LEFAGA, SAMOA is home to the island nations newest resort. The luxurious Return to Paradise Resort was opened in August 2014 and is already collecting international accolades, having recently been named one of Booking.coms Places to Be on …Samoa Invites You To Return to Paradise With a Special Nostalgic Screening of Iconic Hollywood Movie
LEFAGA, SAMOA is home to the island nation’s newest resort. The luxurious Return to Paradise Resort was opened in August 2014 and is already collecting international accolades, having recently been named one of Booking.com’s “Places to Be” on New Year’s Eve.
Return to Paradise Resort is hosting a special nostalgia weekend in May to celebrate its opening. The weekend kicks off with a red carpet screening of Hollywood movie Return to Paradise on the 15th of May, followed by a charity gala dinner and ball on the 16th of May. The proceeds of the auction will go to Marist Trust, which provides assistance for people with severe spinal injuries.
Return to Paradise was filmed in Lefaga in 1953 on the very beach where the resort has been built, and starred Hollywood legend Gary Cooper along with his love interest Roberta Haynes. Several local Samoans were also cast in the film, a huge step forward in human rights at the time. This was the first major Hollywood film to use indigenous actors for major speaking parts at a time when most native movie roles were played by white Hollywood actors.
The resort will be showing a special re-digitalised screening of the movie at a Samoan-style red carpet event on the 15th of May. The event’s sponsor, Fiji Airways will be flying Roberta Haynes business class to attend the movie screening and gala ball as the guest of honour. The six surviving cast members who had speaking roles in the movie will join her for the premiere.
Return to Paradise Resort is proudly 100% Samoan owned and operated. The four star resort offers world-class food, service and facilities in an authentic Samoan setting. The resort is ideal for conferences, events and weddings.
Tickets to the movie premiere and gala ball are on sale now, and special accommodation packages are also available. For more information contact the resort at email@example.com or phone (+685) 35055 (Samoa).
Content Sourced from scoop.co.nz
Ex Samoan Cabinet Minister seeks dismissal of criminal charges
Former Samoa cabinet minister, Muagututagata Peter Ah Him, is seeking the dismissal of criminal charges without conviction.
Muagututagata, who resigned from parliament suddenly last week, was found guilty last month on two charges of forgery, following a complaint by the Chinese company in which he is a shareholder.
He was in court today for a pre-sentencing hearing.
His lawyer has called for the charges to be dismissed, a probation report suggested a substantial fine and the prosecution is seeking a substantial jail term.
Yesterday was the dawn of a new era for Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle, Paul Soliai.
It was when he stepped into the shoes of a matai, having been bestowed with the Leulua’iali’i title at the village of Solosolo.
“A matai name is a blessing,” he said. “It is not something that you get today and then you forget tomorrow.”Father Stowers advised Leuluaiali’i Paul to seek God first and place him above all else.
Referring to his achievements on and off the football field, he said: “You have fought and you have won. You deserve it (the title) and you have the blessings of your family, village and your church.”
He also reminded Leulua’iali’i not to forget his roots.
“Don’t forget that wherever you go, you are carrying the name of Leulua’ialii. You are taking with you the village of Solosolo.
“Always remember that a matai title is about the life of service, and fulfilling the roles of the matai is not an easy task.
“However, when you seek God His blessings will be upon you. Most of all you have to love and honor your family, church and village.”
Leulua’iali’i Paul, who is in the country with a host of other NFL players, said he was humbled by the honour.
The ceremony was well attended by the Solosolo village council – including Deputy Prime Minister, Fonotoe Pierre Lauofo.
The bestowal ceremony was followed by traditional exchanges of gift, food and money.
Soliai attended Rancho Alamitos High School in Garden Grove before moving to American Samoa for his senior year, he attended Nu'uuli Technical High School in Pago Pago where he was team captain as a senior.
Soliai spent two seasons at Coffeyville Community College in Coffeyville, Kansas. He was a two-time All-Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference offensive lineman. He earned an honorable mention All-American selection in 2002, and was a First-team junior college All-American as a sophomore in 2003.
Considered a four-star recruit out of junior college by Rivals.com, Soliai was listed as the No. 32 non-high school player in the nation.
Soliai transferred to the University of Utah in 2004 and was redshirted his first season. He played in 12 games as a junior in 2005, with up five tackles, 1.5 of which were for a loss. He made four stops against rival Utah State, including an assisted tackle for a loss. He also had a 10-yard sack against Arizona.
In 12 games at nose guard as a senior in 2006, Soliai recorded 35 tackles (13 solo), 3.5 tackles for a loss, two sacks for 15 yards, four pass break-ups, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a blocked kick. He earned a Second-team All-Mountain West Conference selection.
In April 2007, Soliai measured a height of 6-feet-4 and a weight of 332 pounds at his Utah Pro Day. He ran the 40-yard dash in 5.02seconds and 5.12 seconds, the short shuttle in 4.53 seconds and the three-cone drill in 7.77 seconds. He measured a 30½-inch vertical jump, but an elbow sprain prevented him from doing the 225-pound bench press.
Prior to the draft, Soliai was praised for his rare size, strength, quickness and athleticism, while also being criticized for his lack of technique and moves.
Soliai was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the fourth round (108th overall) of the 2007 NFL Draft, signing a four-year contract on June 7.
Before the NFL lockout, Soliai was franchise tagged by the Dolphins. Giving him a one-year guaranteed salary of at least $12 million, which is the average of the top 5 salaries at that position.
On January 24, 2012, Soliai was added to the AFC Pro Bowl Roster to replace Ravens DT Haloti Ngata.
On March 14, 2012, Soliai signed an 2-year extension with the Miami Dolphins worth $12 million, with $6 million guaranteed for the 2012 and 2013 seasons. On March 11, 2014, Soliai agreed to terms with the Atlanta Falcons on a five-year, $33 million contract including $14 million guaranteed.
Samoa welcomed Queen Victoria yesterday.
The Cruise Ship docked at Apia Harbour in the morning before tourists disembarked, making a beeline to check out the monuments and historic sights in Samoa.
The Samoa Observer caught up with some of them at the Samoa Tourism Authority cultural village where they witnessed the preparation of the umu. This was done as soothing Samoan music was played by a string band in the background.
The Gentrys from Florida, United States of America, who are on the boat for a total of 66 days explained that the ship will only stay in Samoa for a day before departing for Fiji.
During this time the passengers will enjoy Apia and explore an Organic Plantation.
The ship sails to Australia and New Zealand before heading back to America through the Panama Canal.
For Lloyd and Christine Aikenhead from Canada, the weather in Samoa is a big a attraction.
“Right now it’s snowing back home,” Christine said.
Lloyd and Christine Aikenhead from Canada visiting Samoa for the very time is enjoying the taste of palusami at the S.T.A
“So the green grass and the trees blossoming is very nice to see.”
Yesterday afternoon, their lunch consisted of breadfruit and palusami.
The many taxis in the city were also one of the things that the couple had noticed during the hours they’d spent in Apia.
“This is our first and probably only time in Samoa. We really enjoyed the cultural event at the S.T.A,” they said before leaving to see the Organic Plantation. The cruise ship departed last night.
All Blacks worried about test against Samoa due to contagious viral disease
New Zealand Rugby is monitoring a mosquito-transmitted disease that has infected thousands in Samoa but remain confident it will not threaten the historic All Blacks test.
While on the decline, according to the Auckland Regional Public Health Service, more than 4,400 cases of the mosquito-spread viral disease chikungunya, which carries similar symptoms to dengue fever, have been reported in Samoa over the last six months.
Of the estimated 69,000 cases in French Polynesia, nine people have died from the illness. Deaths are rare, however, with most people overcoming potential fever, joint and muscle pains, headaches and rashes within one week.
There are no vaccines or medicines to prevent chikungunya. Travelers are merely advised to protect themselves from mosquito bites, through clothing or repellant.
NZR chief executive Steve Tew was relaxed when approached yesterday, but indicated the outbreak would be continually monitored.
"New Zealand Foreign Affairs are still sending Kiwis up there without any advisory and the precautions are similar to malaria – to cover up," Tew said. "It is on the decline, so we're not treating it as a major concern right now. We'll keep an eye on it."
NZR operational staff, along with Sky Television technicians, also returned this week from a two-day stay in Apia, where the main focus was assessing the state of the pitch where the All Blacks will meet Samoa on July 5.
The respective unions appear to have reached an agreement where a problematic drainage system, which has been built in preparation for the Youth Commonwealth Games, will be covered in some way to prevent it encroaching on the in-goal and sidelines.
"They had a good look around and we've now got a handle on what's good and what needs a bit of effort," Tew said. "There's no deal breakers, but they'll have to do some remedial work around this drain, that's for sure. Our operations people think that's quite achievable."
All Blacks manager Darren Shand is expected to travel to Apia in around three weeks and check on medical facilities, accommodation and transportation.
In recent weeks World Rugby and the Samoan Rugby Union have jointly moved to input wide sweeping reforms which resulted in the sudden resignations of the chief executive and general manager of high performance.
Former All Blacks midfielder Alama Ieremia has stepped up to accept the high performance role – all of which should help avoid possible strike action from the Samoan players.
"They've got some good people who have taken over key roles," Tew said. "That hasn't done any harm."
Criticism of commercialisation of Samoa tattoos
A teacher of the Samoan culture at the American Samoa Community College is concerned about the commercialisation of the Samoan art of tattooing.
Teleiai Christian Ausage says the tatau or measina is a mark of service or tautua and in the old days only children of chiefs would have a tattoo.
He says there are certain cultural tasks that a person with a tattoo is expected to perform, but now one particular tattoo artist is using the ancient art form for commercial benefit.
"So the question is who has the authority and the ownership of this measina? As of now, he's putting this on everyone even people that are non-Samoans. So I am a little bit of afraid of this, because we are putting our own Samoan measina to other racial ethnicity, which is non-Samoan."
Teleiai has written a book about the tatau which is expected to be released in April.
Team Samoa has started a Crowd funding campaign to raise $12,000
A big fa'afetai tele (thank you very much) to those Facebook families and friends that have pledged financial assistance towards the #TeamSamoa campaign.
More excitement for Samoa supporters around the world and boxing fans with the announcement today of Monty Betham Jr. pictured here with Teleiai Edwin Puni and Team Betham in front of the old Chinese Association Centre (‘Fale o Saina’ as it was commonly known back then) in Apia in 2007.
Monty has taken the bait and answered twitter troll, Adam Hollioake’s challenge to fight on the SUPER 8 Redemption Card on March 28th in Christchurch.
The former UK Cricket skipper, who is the only international cricketer to become a professional fighter, threw down the gauntlet to Betham on twitter last week, accusing the former Kiwi’s captain of hiding behind his wife’s lack of approval as an excuse.
After retiring from rugby league in 2006, Monty made his professional debut in Samoa in March 2007 in a co-promotion by Event Polynesia and Polynesian Xplorer. On the amateur undercards were two young prospects, Vaitele Soi and Farani Tavui. It was also the start of a new era in Samoa boxing.
Early this week #TeamSamoa Supporters network launched a crowdfunding campaign for patriotic Samoans and boxing fans around the world starting with my Facebook families and friends being asked to donate $10 or $20 towards funding of a 5 weeks training camp in New Zealand for Samoa based boxers Vaitele Soi (Vailele, Taga & Vaovai) and Farani Tavui (Satupaitea).
#TeamSamoa Supporters network is seeking your help to raise $12,000 to fund (airfares, accommodation, meals. trainers, training facility, training gears, medical, insurance & miscellaneous) for the 2 Samoa based fighters. This is a much needed preparations for the biggest fight of their lives. At this stage Vaitele & Farani do not have any sponsors or Government assistance.
We are working at setting up a crowdfunding utility for people to donate. I hope you can help and be part of the winning #TeamSamoa.
Feel free to comment and click 'like' to spread the word.
American Samoa case for US citizenship continues
Oral arguments have been heard in a Washington DC appeal in what has been dubbed a United States citizenship lawsuit brought by 8 people born in American Samoa.
The plaintiffs, who are all U.S. nationals, have argued the Citizenship Clause of the U.S. Constitution applies to persons born in American Samoa, and therefore they should have been given automatic citizenship.
Defendants, which include the State Department, disagree, arguing only Congress has the authority to grant U.S. citizenship to "outlying territories" such as American Samoa.
The case was dismissed in a lower court last year, prompting the appeal.
The plaintiffs have the backing of the American Samoa Government and the territory's US congresswoman Aumua Amata.
A Judge from New Zealand appointed to Samoa's Supreme Court
A second New Zealand woman judge has been appointed to the Supreme Court of Samoa for a twelve month period.
Justice Elizabeth Margret Aitken, was sworn in by the Head of State, Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi, on Wednesday, before taking up her duties next week.
The first New Zealand woman judge appointed to Samoa's Supreme Court was Justice Ida Malosi.
American Samoa flu outbreak continues
An influenza outbreak in American Samoa is showing no signs of abating with hospitals and health centres continuing to be inundated with cases.
Department of Health epidemiologist, Scott Anesi, says authorities are seeing a rapid increase in the number of people presenting with flu-like symptoms including fever, sore throat, body aches and a running nose.
Mr Anesi says the department saw 305 cases in the week ending December 21st and that rose to 400 people the following week.
The LBJ Hospital has been crowded with flu patients and people have been waiting for up to three hours to be seen.
Samoan MP guilty of forgery
The Supreme Court in Samoa has found the Associate Minister for Trade and Commerce, Muagututagata Peter Ah Him, guilty of two charges of forgery.
The ruling party MP was acquitted of a third charge of forgery and theft.
Muagututagata had stood trial in November after a Chinese company in which he holds a 10 percent share filed a complaint to the police.
The company, Grand Ocean Limited, had accused the Associate Minister of forging an invoice to clear two shipping containers and inventing 30 thousand US dollars of costs.
He is to be sentenced on the 23rd of February.
Meanwhile on a separate case, the charge of attempted rape against the suspended editor of the government newspaper Savali, has been withdrawn before the chief justice, Patu Falefatu Sapolu.
It comes after the prosecution has asked for the original charge to be substituted with two counts of indecent assault against the accused, Tupuola Terry Tavita.
The new charges will be heard for mention in the district court today.
Samoa talo exports more than triple
Talo exports from Samoa to New Zealand have more than tripled, increasing from four to fifteen containers a month.
The rise in exports is being credited as a result of the Samoa Manufacturers and Exporters, or SAME, trade show in Auckland in November last year.
The president of SAME, Tagaloa Eddie Wilson, says figures on export earnings from 2013 were at 1 point 4 million US dollars, and has risen to about 4 million dollars at the end of last year.
Tagaloa says Australia has given the green light for new varieties of talo from Samoa to be exported, and they are expected to be on showcase at a trade show in Sydney in March.
Australian authorities however are requiring a scientific clearance to confirm the blight fungus that devastated the old talo variety, is no longer present.
By Lanuola Tupua, Photos by Tuifao Tumua NUS
Close to a hundred National University of Samoa students have been awarded scholarships to study in overseas universities this year.
They were congratulated at a ceremony held at the University yesterday.
A Prayer Service was conducted by Rev. Siaosi Salesulu who gave the students words of encouragement, telling them that they were now young Samoan Ambassadors and as such, “you should always stick with God."
“Don’t let abuse and praise get to you,” he advised, reminding “it is the prayers of Samoa that you walk with faith and in the end you shall find success."
In his Keynote Address, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegoi, who is also the Chairman of the Scholarship and Training Committee, encouraged the scholars to use the opportunities that are being made available to them wisely.
He reminded them that “you have an obligation to return to Samoa after your studies to serve and apply your newly-acquired knowledge” to benefit your country.
He advised: “Grab the opportunity with both hands and make the most of it.
“As sons and daughters of Samoa, and as recipients of scholarships overseas, go with the thought of how you can help pave the way forward for the development of your country, and what you can contribute when you return.
“Following the completion of your studies you are expected to return to serve and use your newly acquired knowledge for the betterment of the country.”
Tuilaepa also reminded the students that many scholars had been returned home before completion of their scholarships.
“Many have brought back and no more scholarships will be wasted on them,” recalled Tuilaepa.
He said: “They were brought back because they caused trouble, they liked drinking and clubbing, and they ended up in fights, especially those going to Fiji.”
He then acknowledged the generous assistance of Samoa’s perennial partners whose support was vitally invaluable in Samoa’s struggle as a developing nation.
It’s understood that 40 scholars are sponsored by the Australian government, and 53 are sponsored by the New Zealand government.
Seven are sponsored by the government of Samoa.
Both the Acting High Commissioners of New Zealand and Australia, Ms Sophie Vickers and Ms Rosemary McKay respectively, spoke at the ceremony. They offered their congratulations and wished the scholars well also.
They assured them that their countries’ investment in their academic studies were vitally important to the development of Samoa as an Independent Nation.
This year also marks the first three-year trial programme of a scheme aimed at addressing the shortages in the workforce in Education and Health.
Samoa celebrates 54 years of Independence
Samoa celebrates its 54th Anniversary of independence from New Zealand, which ruled for 50 years.. The nation gathered at the Mulinuu Malae as the opening ceremonies were conducted. After the speeches and raising of the flag the traditional march past was conducted featuring schools, churches, civic organizations, and bands. Always a colorful event, the uniforms and marching to drums and bands playing is one of the most anticipated events for Samoa's population each year.After six decades of colonial administration first by Germany and then New Zealand, Samoa became independent in 1962.
The President of French Polynesia, the Governor of American Samoa, and the Ulu o Tokelau are some of the overseas dignitaries invited to attend with members of the diplomatic corps.
This year's independence celebration is being held at the hockey field at the Faleata Sports complex and not the traditional Tiafau malae at Mulinuu because of construction works for the new Parliament house.
A group of entertainers from Leone village in American Samoa is among those performing traditional dance and songs in today's event.
Another group of entertainers are prisoners currently serving sentence.
The independence celebration is for one day to be followed by a public holiday tomorrow and a commissioned holiday for public servants on Friday.
Samoa avoids a direct hit from Cyclone Amos.
Tropical Cyclone Amos kept its eye on the ocean as it passed by Samoa. The islands bore the brunt of the southern half of the storm, enduring winds from the northeast and bands of torrential rain.
No deaths have been reported, but Amos left destruction in its wake. Samoa's Disaster Management Office said there had been significant damage to coastal roads, particularly on the northern island Savai'i.
Apia, the capital city, on the northern shore of the island of Upolu collected 218mm from the cyclone. That is just over the average rainfall for April, falling in 30 hours.
The cyclone is still feeding off the very warm ocean waters north of Samoa, which remain a degree and a half or even two degrees warmer than usual at the moment.
Cyclone Amos comes around two months after Category 5 Cyclone Winston - measured on the Australian tropical cyclone intensity scale - devastated parts of neighbouring Fiji.
Amos next headed for American Samoa, but authorities there cancelled a hurricane warning as wind speeds diminished. A flash flood warning has been kept in place.
Pago Pago, on American Samoa’s main island, Tutuila, recorded 77mm of rain from Amos. The smaller islands of American Samoa, further east, are directly in the path of cyclone for Monday.
Samoa company eyes NZ high-end organic market
A Samoan company selling gluten free breadfruit flour and raw fermented coconut oil is hoping it can become a staple in New Zealand's high-end organic market.
The company, Maiden South Pacific, recently introduced its handmade organic products to a number of New Zealand retailers.
One of its Samoan directors, Kalala Mary Autagavaia, says they are working with farmers and families in Samoa, through their village matai, to utilise land sustainably.
She says its about how they can use what the land produces, but doing so in a way that doesn't destroy it.
"If you walk through some of our plantations in the Pacific, there's food galore, there's breadfruit hanging off the trees, there's papaya, there's coconuts, but how do we take care of that and be good guardians of that land. I guess it's all those sorts of things that make our products special. We're not just going in to make a profit out of people, it's about working with the people, for the future."
Kalala Mary Autagavaia says there are also plans to collaborate with the Wellington Chocolate Factory to produce a 'Samoa Bar', made with koko Samoa beans.
Enhanced internet access step closer for Samoa
The Asian Development Bank is granting US$25 million towards an underwater cable which will improve internet access for Samoa.
The $57 million project will link Samoa to Fiji's international submarine cable network.
Samoa is currently linked to the American Samoa-Hawaii cable system which is operating at near capacity.
The ADB grant comes on top of $16 million from the World Bank and $1.5 million from Australia.
The outer island of Savaii will be connected to the existing cable for the first time enabling it to receive high-speed internet.
The ADB says the cable will make telecommunications more affordable and efficient for the people of Samoa.
Samoa serious about tuna fisheries conservation
Le Mamea Ropati, who was speaking at an event for World Tuna day, says it's an important year for tuna fisheries in Samoa.
He also says Samoa made a commitment when it signed under the Tokelau agreement last year.
"These agreements signifies Samoa and the Pacific islands determination in ensuring effective management for sustainable economic viability of our tuna fishery, so that we can reap the benefits from these resources today and also in the future."
Samoa's Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Le Mamea Ropati.
Art by students at Leulumoega Fou School of Fine Arts was on display at the event. The artwork promoted the economic benefits of the tuna industry, and the importance of sustainability and conservation of tuna stocks.
In 2011, Parties to the Nauru Agreement declared May the 2nd to be World Tuna Day.
Teacher and 2 students held from Don Bosco for rape in Utulei
Source: KHJ News, Pago Pago, American Samoa
PAGO PAGO: THURSDAY 23 APRIL 2015: A 27 year old teacher and two students from Don Bosco school were charged today with having sex with a 15-year-old girl.
The teacher, Vaega Anderson, and students Falesefulu Susuga and Nomani Tepa made their initial appearances in District Court today. They were each charged with rape, sexual assault, sexual abuse in the first degree and endangering the welfare of the a child.
The government’s case states that on April 20, a male adult walked into the Fagatogo police station with three female minors. He told police that he was concerned to see the three girls fraternizing with some of the Don Bosco students at Utulei during the weekend and evening hours.
The girls are 14, 15 and 17 years old. The 14-year-old told police that she hung out with Don Bosco boys during the period that she ran away from home but nothing sexual had happened between her and the boys.
The 15-year-old and the 17 year old told police that in addition to hanging out with some of the Don Bosco students, they both engaged in sexual activities with them.
The charges against all three defendants involve the 15-year-old girl.
The 15 year old girl told police that she had sex with two students and a teacher from Don Bosco, who were later identified as defendants Anderson, Susuaga and Tepa.
She said one of the students went by the name of Pekiga who was later identified as defendant Susuga. She said the second student she had sex with she didn’t know his name but he was accompanied by two other Don Bosco students on the night the sex happened. She said the third person is a teacher because he dressed like the rest of the Don Bosco teachers and he also wears a traditional tattoo or sogaimiti.
She said the sex with the defendants occurred at an abandoned house in Utulei during the weekend of April 16-19.
The girl was able to identify Anderson at the police station as the one of the persons she had sex with. A Don Bosco student considered a witness in the investigation identified defendants Tepa and Susuga. He told police that Tepa did have sex with the 15-year-old girl.
When questioned by police, the 27-year-old teacher admitted to having consensual sexual intercourse with the 15-year-old girl at an abandoned house in Utulei on April 19. Susuga, who is 19 years old, also admitted to having sex with the same girl on April 16. Tepa, also 19, admitted to police also to having sex with the same 15-year-old on April 19.
The defendants are being held on bail of $100,000 each.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa, All Blacks preparations are expensive
Samoa Prime Minister and rugby boss Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi says hosting the All Blacks for July's historic test in Apia is expensive.
Samoa Prime Minister and rugby boss Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi has joked he'd like to pay the All Blacks in coconuts and pawpaw for their looming test in Apia.
Tuilaepa was defending the high ticket prices for the July clash. With a capacity of around 12,000 at Apia Park, tickets range from $12 to $270.
He said the cost of hosting the All Blacks was expensive and revenue had to be recouped.
"I wish we could use coconuts to pay for the All Blacks visit," Tuilaepa told the Samoa Observer newspaper, "but that's not the case. Money is required. It's expensive."
"If only they would accept some baskets of pawpaw and if they all ate guava, that would've been fine but these boys want steak, so it's not cheap."
The All Blacks will be in Samoa for four days from July 6 on their historic visit with the match being used as part of the World Cup buildup for both teams.
Tuilaepa talked up the prospects of his team though he wasn't prepared to reveal details, saying he didn't want to give any advantages to the All Blacks.
"We are well prepared," he said.
"But I don't want to tell you because if I tell you, it will be pointless to [prepare then] because news about it will spread and then those preparations will become stale."
"If we discuss it now, then by tonight it will be all over the news in New Zealand. It would be broadcasted and spread by some other nasty people there.
"Someone might tell them that we have a plan A, plan B and plan C. That's why I don't want to tell you now.
"See these guys [the Samoa Observer] will put it on the internet and then the All Blacks coach will read about it. It's amazing what's happening these days."
Samoa have had to make repairs to Apia Park for their first hosting of a test against the All Blacks.
Interest will also centre on the strength of the Samoan team after players complained in November of poor management by the Samoan union, threatening at one stage to boycott their clash with England at Twickenham.
Samoans asked to have their say on new passport scheme
Samoa's opposition leader says a proposed new law giving passports for investment is a recipe for corruption and will drive long-time Samoans out of business.
But others say the scheme will be good for the country as long as there's respect for Samoan culture and traditions.
Sally Round reports.
People in Samoa are being asked to give their views on the Citizenship Investment Bill which would give citizenship to foreign investors with at least two million US dollars to spend. The government wants to boost the economy and provide more jobs for Samoans. The investors would have to inject their money into certain specified areas, including property development, food and fish processing, tourism, and wind and solar energy. Our correspondent in Samoa Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia says there's been heated debate in Parliament so far with most opposition MPs and several ruling party members voicing opposition to the plan.
AUTAGAVAIA TIPI AUTAGAVAIA: The majority of these concerns were voiced against the number of Chinese business people currently operating their business in the country and the Prime Minister attacking all this negativity against the Chinese saying why there's no opinion against the German or British or Korean but why label the Chinese?
The bill doesn't target investors from any particular country but with China's wealthy middle class spreading its wings they are a likely source of new investment. An exporter in Samoa Grant Percival says the proposal would help grow the economy.
GRANT PERCIVAL: They'll bring in fresh capital. They won't be borrowing locally. There's one thing about the Chinese, they don't start a business unless they know they've got an outlet and generally their outlet is China. So they'll come in here, start a business and know how to export into China.
But a local lawyer Leota Raymond Schuster says there's already a vehicle for investing in Samoa and it's unecessary to have to resort to selling passports. He says the proposal's causing much tension in the business community.
LEOTA RAYMOND SCHUSTER: There are people at the top and perhaps some who are dealing with people in Asia that are interested in this legislation for businesses purposes but we think it's opening up a can of worms. It's satisfactory that we already have a foreign investment certificate providing for people who are genuinely interested to come and invest.
One ruling party MP says Samoans are defined by their language, culture and links to their land and such a law affects their very independence. Thousands of Samoans claim Chinese ancestry with waves of immigration from China since the early 1900s. The Chinese established themselves as shopkeepers from the early days and continue to dominate the retail and wholesale trade. The leader of the opposition in Samoa Palusalue Faapo II fears the proposals will hurt local business.
PALUSALUE FAAPO II: If you look around town our people used to have businesses like small shops and so forth. They're all being closed now and taken over by the Chinese so I believe, that will happen, in 10 to 15 years there won't be many Samoans being able to compete with these people coming into Samoa through this bill.
Palusalue says with limited freehold land available, property investors will push up land prices and make land unaffordable for locals. He also says it'll hurt Samoan culture and tradition and attract the wrong type of investor.
PALUSALUE FAAPO II: This will open the door for anybody who has 4 million tala including all this criminal activities, criminal people will be able to enter Samoa and this will flow to New Zealand and Australia because they have the Samoan passport to travel.
But Samoa's Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, questioned by our reporter in Samoa recently, dismissed such concern.
TUILAEPA SAILELE MALIELEGAOI: It's the kind of thing you expect from any opposition. (Reporter) But is it not true that these elements could come in if they've got the money? (It's) very stupid to say that. Who will come in to this very small island country?(reporter) You've got some checks and balances in place? Yes, yes that will automatically ensure that we have peace and tranquillity.
Those checks and balances include a special high-powered committee to vet and scrutinise applications from potential investors and to make sure they're on track to deliver. An academic who has researched passport sales in the region Griffith University's Anthony van Fossen says past experience in the region has shown even legitimate citizenship programmes do nothing to stop the illegal and uncontrolled sale of passports.
ANTHONY VAN FOSSEN: In fact the introduction of a legal programme may lead to very high levels of passport sales that are hard to control. Of course I'm not saying that this will necessarily occur in Samoa and it appears to be a programme explicitly oriented towards genuine investment and citizenship rather than just passport sales.
Dr van Fossen points out that uncontrolled passport sales led to conflict between long-time citizens and new arrivals in the Marshall Islands and Tonga which saw its capital destroyed in subsequent riots in 2006. He says Samoa's proposed law has attempted to avoid the pitfalls they've experienced.
ANTHONY VAN FOSSEN: Particularly the committee and the proposal of quite complete public accountability. Those are very good measures. It took the Tonga monarchy many years to achieve anything even remotely like what's being proposed in Samoa in terms of transparency.
Our correspondent Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia says people he's spoken to aren't completely anti the bill.
AUTAGAVAIA TIPI AUTAGAVAIA: Most of the opinions that I've gathered are very positive and very supportive of the Chinese businesses because they think these are the only shops where you get the very good prices, the cheap ones than going to other shops. I think the overall opinion to those people who are against it, is you just wait and see, have a go with it and wait and see what's going to happen.
But the exporter Grant Percival says the threshold for investment won't work.
GRANT PERCIVAL: I met a group of them end of last year. They were very interested. But the levels, they said, were just way too high. It was quite difficult for them. They felt that they would not invest at that level. But at something half that level, they might consider it.
The Bill has passed its second reading in Parliament and people in Samoa now have a chance to give their views.
New proposal to relax strict fishery laws in American Samoa
A proposal that would allow American Samoa longliners to temporarily fish within a prohibited area is to be reviewed this week by a group that advises the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council.
The Scientific and Statistical Committee will consider a proposal to temporarily allow American Samoa longline vessels of 50 feet or greater to operate within American Samoa's Exclusive Economic Zone.
The issue has divided local longline owners, with fears that the exemption would put those operating smaller vessels in the EEZ out of business.
A statement from the Council says the proposed action would provide relief to the American Samoa longline fishery, which has not been profitable for the past several years.
Longline fishermen in these areas believe that an influx of Chinese longline vessels across the region is mostly responsible for the collapse, by reducing regional catch rates and lowering wholesale prices.
Other contributing factors are higher operating expenses.
Egon Keil appointed Samoa Police Commissioner
Egon Keil, has been appointed as Samoa's new Police Commissioner.
Mr Keil, who was one of 13 applicants, had spent 17 years with the Los Angeles police department before returning to Samoa three years ago.
Mr Keil, who is 50, is the son of a prominent businessman, Maposua Rudolf Keil, who runs the country's first FM radio station.
Under amendments of the Police Act, he is the first person to be appointed with outside police experience and qualifications.
The Prime Minister, Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, has told reporters the new police commissioner has outstanding knowledge from his career in the police force in the United States.
Samoa Police Association not happy with commissioner criteria
The more than 500-strong Samoa Police Association has voiced strong opposition to opening up the position of police commissioner to a person with what they deem limited experience.
The president of the association Police Inspector Fata Manuele Pemita says a letter has been handed to the Minister of Police outlining their concerns.
In 2013 parliament endorsed an amendment which includes criteria for all applicants to the position of commissioner to have ten years of police experience and hold a commissioned rank.
Fata says although the amendment was passed two years ago it was never put into reality and now the Public Service Comission wants to open up the criteria for selection to include applicants with no police work experience.
Interviews for the position of a police commissioner are scheduled to start on Friday.
Radio New Zealand International understands 14 applicants have been shortlisted, including seven senior police officers.
Two of the applicants are from New Zealand.
Samoa School of Language opened
The Samoa government has opened a school for foreign languages.
Three language teachers from China are already in the country to kick off the school with learning Chinese to be followed by other foreign languages such as Japanese, German, French and Samoan for non-Samoan speakers.
Speaking at the opening of the Samoa School of Language, the Prime Minister, Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, says this is the opportunity for anyone of any age to learn other languages so they can communicate and share other people's cultures.
"Some of our young people who go on scholarship, to countries like China and Japan, can no longer feel threatened by the communication barriers because they can learn these languages before they leave."
Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi has also announced that the Samoa Tourism Authority will financially support to 30 students who cannot afford the cost of the language school.
Samoa Rugby Union CEO and Head of HPU resign
Fred Amoa said his resignation was handed in yesterday but insisted it was a coincidence the head of the Union's High Performance Unit, Tuala Mathew Vaea, was also leaving.
A dispute between the SRU and Manu Samoa players also remains unresolved, after the team threatened to boycott a test against England in November.
But Fred Amoa said that did not influence his decision to step down, and that he simply wanted a change and to return to his work as a lawyer.
"Just personal reasons. I think it's time somebody else will take over. I've had my turn, it's time for somebody else," he said.
"I'm pretty sure someone will be recruited by the Samoa Rugby Union to carry on the work and organise and prepare the team for the All Blacks match [in the] middle of the year and also the Rugby World Cup."
A team from the New Zealand Rugby Union will be in Samoa next week to check on preparations for the July test between the All Blacks and Manu Samoa at Apia Park.
Samoa calls for more money for renewable energy
Samoa's prime minister has told a regional workshop on energy efficiency that it is vital that development banks and donors give more support to capacity building in the renewable sector.
Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi says Samoa wants to be generating all its energy from renewable sources by 2017.
He says currently 30 percent of Samoa's electricity is from a combination of renewable sources such as hydro, solar and wind.
Tuilaepa says the Pacific recognises the importance of energy efficiency especially now with the demand to cut fossil fuel use and reduces greenhouse gases.
He says Pacific countries, while they know the impacts of climate change place additional burdens on their national budgets, they lack the funds for adaptation and mitigation projects.
He says sustainable sources of energy mean sustainable development in the small island states.
Marine Genocide as Chinese Fishing Armadas threaten to destroy Pacific fishing stocks
A political tsunami is building in the South Pacific over the growing presence of Chinese fishing boats.
More than 1300 heavily subsidised Chinese boats are now licensed in the region with plans for a further 300 this year.
Fishing with long-lines, many are targeting albacore tuna with some set to take over the exclusive economic zones (EEZs) of the Cook Islands and Samoa.
"I call it marine genocide, something needs to be done about it soon," Samoa fish exporter and expatriate New Zealander John Luff said.
Alarm over the expanded Chinese fleet was part of the logic for New Zealand appointing former Labour MP Shane Jones as an ambassador to the region, but Pacific countries appear to be indifferent to Wellington's warnings.
In Rarotonga politicians are actively working to exclude New Zealand fishing operations, preferring the Chinese.
Sources were shocked even though a year ago diplomatic dispatches were pointing to China's openly declared plan to increase its deep-water fishing fleet to more than 2300 boats.
Luff said they have been told two long-liners were about to arrive in Samoa's 129,000 square-kilometre EEZ, the Pacific's smallest. They've also been told they will be allowed to operate inside the smaller territorial waters.
"It is outrageous for this approval to get done," he said.
"They won't tell us what flag it is - we are assuming it is China."
Another 20 boats have also been licensed by regional authorities and Samoa, but Luff said officials told him they would only let one or two in at a time.
"The whole South Pacific fishery is in trouble and yet these guys are inviting them in," he said.
Luff said that with such a small EEZ, no matter where the newcomers fished, they would wipe out the domestic fishery.
"The South Pacific stock is getting hammered and if nothing is done soon, it will be beyond recovery," he said.
Pacific nations were facing powerful nations and were "reluctant to upset them for fear of losing their candy".
One of the big problems with the Chinese boats is that they are heavily subsidised by Beijing, meaning they can take fish long after it has become uneconomic for other boats.
A large tuna fishery exists in the northern Cooks EEZ but Rarotonga politicians have given licenses to a large number of Chinese boats, and last week approved South Korean purse-seine, or net fishing, boats, to take tuna.
The Cook Island's celebrates 50 years of self-government from New Zealand this year. Its Labour Party fisheries spokesman Reno Tirikatene said giving away Pacific fisheries resources to unproven Chinese companies was bizarre.
"Kiwis are chasing toothfish pirates in Antarctic whilst the Cooks are hopping on the Oriental Express of seafood fraud," he said.
"More galling is the fact Kiwi taxpayers, pay for it."
Part of that taxpayer money is in the form of a New Zealand Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigation into the granting of tuna licenses being carried out on behalf of Cook Island Police. Neither party would comment.
Charges of corruption among politicians and civil servants are under the spotlight and in a formal submission made by interests groups and non-government organisations to the Marine Stewardship Council, concern was expressed at what China was doing and questions asked over the SFO's "ongoing investigation into … corruption allegations."
Suspended Samoa newspaper editor accused of breaching bail
The police in Samoa are looking into an alleged breach of bail conditions by the suspended government newspaper editor, Tupuola Terry Tavita.
It comes after the adopted father of the complainant wrote to the Prime Minister and the Attorney General asking for help, after friends and family members of the editor approached the victim and her family to withdraw the complaint.
The police say one of the bail conditions is for the accused not to approach the victim.
However, the family of the victim wrote that they have been approached four times, and said that they were told the Prime Minister and Attonery General were behind the efforts to withdraw the case.
Neither could be contacted for comment.
The Samoa National Orchestra String Ensemble had their second performance at the TATTE Convention Centre during the Ministry of Education Sports and Culture’s (M.E.S.C) Annual Conference last month.
The performance was in collaboration with the two-day conference exploring the theme “Education for Sustainable Development”. This performance featured a programme of hymns and classical music.
The String Ensemble is part of the Samoa National Orchestra who is striving to improve classical music in the region and strengthen skills on instruments such as the clarinet, bassoon, violin, viola and cello.
This year, the String Ensemble aims to continue these intimate performances and increase their repertoire, as does the Orchestra.
Some of the Orchestra performances this year will include presentations and visits to local schools in the hope of increasing awareness and interest in a wider variety of musical styles and instruments in Samoa.
This move is in conjunction with the Samoa National Orchestra Academy which commenced late last year. The Academy is a training program for school students who have shown an aptitude for music studies and wish to learn a stringed instrument while improving their theoretical knowledge.
Members of the String Ensemble include:
TJ Naioti, Tipazo Aukusitino, Ben Solomona, Enoch Fruean, Atonio Savalio, Beatrice Carey (Australian Volunteer for International Development)
Multiple offender sentenced in American Samoa
An American Samoan man who went on a robbery spree robbing several busineses and homes, including the home of a church minister, has been sentenced to 16 years in prison.
Joseph Iakopo is acccused of fourteen burglaries, which occured over several weeks in early 2013.
Court documents say the robberies covered about six villages on the main island of Tutuila.
According to court documents, the defendant stole more than $3,000 from a church safe, which was at the home of a church minister, and more than $2,000 worth of merchandise from stores, two restaurants and private homes.
Samoa News reports that Iakopo faced 34 charges, ranging from first and second degree burglary, attempted burglary, stealing, first degree assault and property damage.
Iakopo appeared last Friday in court for sentencing where the defence sought leniency, but the prosecutor argued Iakopo was a career criminal who had not learned his lesson from an earlier conviction.
The court agreed and sentenced Iakopo to 16 years in prison.
Miss Samoa wins the Ms. South Pacific 2014
The 20-year-old Law and Music University student from New Zealand also scooped the two main categories for the pageant, best talent and best interview.
Miss Cook Islands, Antonina Browne, was the first runner-up, Miss Fiji, Nanise Rainima, was second runner up, Miss American Samoa, Anneliese Sword was third runner up and Miss Papua New Guinea - Grace Nugi was fourth runner up.
Miss Nauru - Kauai Oppenheimer won the Miss Internet, Miss Fiji won Miss Photogenic, Miss Niue, Nina Nemaia was voted Miss Personality, and Miss American Samoa won the National Tourism Award.
Japan against protecting local tuna supplies from overfishing
WATCH Pacific island countries enforce their own measures against overfishing of local tuna fishery following the dramatic failure by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) to agree to a reduction in fishing efforts at its annual negotiation sessions in Samoa last December.
Already the eight island countries that are members of the powerful Pacific sub-regional grouping of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) comprising the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu are threatening to enforce reductions in fishing efforts in their own waters.
Especially worrying for PNA member countries is the fast declining stock of the much sought after Bigeye tuna, in high demand for the world’s sashimi (raw fish) market. Scientists are warning that Bigeye stock is at 16 per cent of its historic population, and PNA members, teaming up with their nine other Pacific island neighbours that together are members of the Pacific Forum Fisheries Agency had wanted the WCPFC to reign in overfishing in the four high sea pockets it manages in the Pacific Ocean.
However, five days of negotiations in Apia’s sprawling but modern convention centre in Faleata, a suburb of Samoa’s capital, produced zero consensus on reducing fishing efforts on bigeye in the high seas. Foreign countries that fish in the Pacific are referred to as Distance Water Fishing Nations (DWFN), and one of them, Japan was identified as the country that shot down the PNA and FFA proposal.
“Once again the interests of the small Pacific Island nations have been railroaded at this high level meeting raising questions of the ability of the commission to address the overfished stocks and put a limit on stocks that are nearing overfishing,” a disappointed CEO of the PNA Office Dr Transform Aqorau said at the end of the failed WCPFC negotiations in Samoa. “The PNA will regroup and revise its strategy to work outside the ambit of WCPFC and use the existing commercial arrangements to address overfishing in our waters.”
American Samoan Women who force young girls into Prostitution are going to jail
Two women in American Samoa have been found guilty of promoting prostitution and sentenced to 28 months in prison.
The owner of a bar in Atuu, Faasaina Park, and her second in charge, Lusia Tuai, have been convicted of assault and forcing two women from Samoa to engage in prostitution.
The women's lawyers asked for probative sentences but the prosecution argued the women should receive significant jail terms because their prostitution enterprise was an ongoing activity that started as early as 2010.
According to the prosecution, the enterprise included luring women from other countries under false pretenses to come and work in American Samoa.
The prosecution argued that neither women has taken responsibility for their actions or apologised to their victims.
New Manu Samoa coach expected by Christmas
The Samoa Rugby Union hopes to appoint a new national head coach before the end of the year.
Stephen Betham stepped down following the country's disappointing Rugby World Cup campaign, where the Manu finished fourth in their group and failed to qualify automatically for the 2019 tournament.
SRU Chief Executive Officer Faleomavaega Vincent Fepuleai says a number of high profile and interesting candidates have put their names forward, with the bulk of those coming from overseas.
"It was closed a couple of weeks ago. The independent committee is working on that and going through their process of shortlisting and the interviews. We've had 18 or 19 applicants - we're hoping to make an appointment before Christmas and we're hoping the right person will take us over the next four years".
Faleomavaega says whoever gets the job will have to live in Samoa and the SRU is willing to pay what is required to secure the best person for the role.
Samoan Flea Market and "old" Makeki Fou burns down
The start of 2016 began with fireworks in Apia, just not the kind you want to see.
The Flea market also known as the Makeki Fou to an older generation, located in Savalalo burnt to the ground as the result of a fire that burnt the entire commercial area and food court of the Flea market, a favorite for visitors and tourists. As fire fighters struggled to save the historic site, the flames engulfed the structure and there was nothing but flames within the interior of the building and the crowd who gathered took pictures which were immediately posted on social media sites causing an even greater sens of loss among expatriates who had grown up on Makeki Fou reports in the morning as well as the food which was perhaps the most attractive feature of this building.
There were no known injuries caused by the fire. Reports have the fire beginning at 6pm which is fortunate since business had closed and vendors all left for the weekend at 5pm. The fire is suspected to have begun in the area where food is prepared. The Fire department arrived but were unable to prevent the complete demolition of the large structure. The large crowd who gathered there posted pictures of the fire online which was one of those events Samoans all over the world took personally.
The Makeki Fou was constructed in the 1970s. At first it was just a market for produce and fish with food stalls where many workers and students went to eat for lunch and during the day. Later the produce was taken to another location and the Fleas Market was born. There were a large number of stalls owned by individuals who rented small stalls for an affordable rate and this provided them with a means to sell products from clothing to house wares. The number of traditional artifacts and Samoan items increased as more tourists came to Samoa. It was a great opportunity for the local entrepeneurs a place to sell their wares.
The loss of all the stalls was devastating to the local economy. The new year could not have started with a worse event. There are calls for the government to investigate the fire to find out if there was any arson involved. There is also a demand for the government to rebuild the Flea market. The government has a location already set up in Vaitele but the lack of foot traffic has prevented the new location from attracting vendors to sell their wares there.
The location is probably one of the most expensive real estate locations in Samoa and the government has built many buildings around this location for public service and business. Time will tell what the new venue will look like.
Cannery threat not new for American Samoa
The owner of two fishing companies operating in American Samoa says a recent threat by canneries to move offshore is nothing new.
The owner of Ocean Global and Sea Global, Doug Hines, says the canneries continue to post very good profits and have recently announced investments in Papua New Guinea and Kiribati.
He says a recent wage increase is not damning enough to warrant departure from the territory and threats have been used in the past to secure concessions from the government.
"They've made these comments for over the last 40 years they've been coming off the island, and the American Samoa government, the people of American Samoa have always always been there to grant support."
Mr Hines says it is the US fishing operators that are experiencing economic hardship, not the canneries who have a more than adequate supply of fish.
American Samoa warned over mininum wage hike
American Samoa has been warned that wage increases could substantially reduce employment and affect the local tuna industry.
The senator, Galeai Tu'ufuli, told reporters he supports higher minimum wages in the territory and wants to hike them up to 7 US dollars and 50 cents per hour.
But the American Samoa Chamber of Commerce says it's not in favour of the move and questions the data used by Galeai.
The Chamber's Chairman, David Robinson, says it's hard to see how employers can afford such a hike in the current economic climate.
American Samoa's minimum wage has been set by federal law since 2007, but the 50-cent hike has been delayed over the last three years, with the next increase set for September the 30th.
On Anzac day, Pacific countries reflect on their role in war
In Samoa, large crowds turned out at a dawn service in the capital, Apia, to remember those who fell in war.
Our correspondent, Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia, said 49 soldiers of Samoan descent, who had joined either New Zealand or Australian forces in both world wars, were remembered in Saturday morning's ceremony.
Speaking at the service, Samoa's Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi praised the courage and service of local soldiers who fought to maintain peace and freedom.
"The First World War was described at the time as 'the war to end all wars'," said Tuilaepa. "Sadly, since then, World War Two has been fought and other localised wars and conflicts continue to happen up to this day."
"Samoans have served in World War Two and now in UN peacekeeping operations in conflict zones around the world."
Government Building, Apia, in 1914 soon after New Zealand took control of German Samoa.
New Zealand's first act of the First World War was in August 1914 when it sent a 1485-strong military force at the request of Britain to take control of Samoa, then a German colony, to disable a radio transmitter on the main island, Upolo. New Zealand went on to rule Samoa for another 50 years.
At Saturday's service, Prime Minister Tuilaepa reflected on Samoa's complicated place in the conflict of 1914-1918: "For Samoa, as we heard last year during the commemoration for the start of the First World War, and its impact on the nationhood path taken by our country, there were Samoans serving in World War One on both sides of the battle lines."
Tonga also commemorated its 91 soldiers who were sent to the battlefields of Europe and the Middle East in the First World War, as well soldiers who were deployed to other conflicts and on peacekeeping missions at a ceremony at the Cenotaph, Pagai Si'i, in Nuku'alofa on Saturday morning.
Tongan soldiers were joined by soldiers from both New Zealand and Australia for the ceremony.
Warrant officer Roger Middleton raises the NZ Flag during the Nuku'alofa dawn service.
In Papua New Guinea, large crowds turned out for a ceremony at the Bomana War Cemetery near Port Moresby, where over 3,000 soldiers who died during the country's occupation in the Second World War are buried.
Addressing the crowd, Prime Minister Peter O'Neill said the bravery of Papuans and New Guineans who served in the Australian Army during the war, and the bravery of Papuan villagers who helped allied soldiers along the Kokoda track remains one of the most honoured parts of the history of war in the Pacific.
The Kokoda track campaign consisted of a series of battles between mainly Australian and Japanese forces in what was then the Australian territory of Papua. During that campaign, local Papuan carriers, who Australian troops called the 'Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels', carried supplies up the Kokoda track to allied soldiers and carried back injured troops for treatment.
"We pay special tribute to those brave men and women, who wrote their names into history with distinction and courage," said Mr O'Neill.
"Right now we stand on sacred ground -- where so many fallen warriors are buried. Here at Bomana, 3,834 service personnel from Australia, New Zealand, the United States and other allied partners have their final resting place...they will forever rest in our soil with due care and respect," he said.
"Now the Pacific lives in peace, and our countries have moved on from the horror of war -- but we will honour those who paid the supreme sacrifice," said Mr O'Neill.
Cenotaph honouring World War victims in Rabaul, Papua New Guinea.
The Cook Islands will hold Anzac Day commemorations on Sunday (NZT, Saturday Cook Islands Time), with Rarotonga's traditionally separate RSA and civil Anzac commemorations combining to create a special centenary commemoration programme.
Hundreds of Cook Islands soldiers enlisted for the First World War, most of them in their teens, and served as labourers and ammunition bearers in France, Egypt and Palestine as part of the Maori contingent.
Machete attack triggered by a slap on brother’s face
By Lagi Keresoma
APIA: THURSDAY 17 APRIL 2015: A young man angered by the attack on his older brother retaliated by attacking a matai with a machete.
68 year old Gaga Sagele of Falealupo village is still hospitalized for serious wounds from the attack.
Gaga, was sent to relay the village council’s decision of the attacker’s older brother was still banished from the village.
According to the Ministry of Spokesperson, Superintendent Lemamea Su’a Muliaga Tiumalu, said that it was Gaga who slapped the young man’s brother first which triggered the attack.
One of the young man’s cousin tried to visit Gaga at the hospital yesterday. He said that Gaga did more than relay the council’s decision.
The young man, now charged with causing injuries with intent, learnt about the incident then followed Gaga and attacked him with a machete.
The cousin told Talamua that the incident could have been avoided if Gaga had not attacked first.
Lemamea confirmed the charge against the young man and his name is suppressed and police investigations are continuing.
“The police are working together with the Alii ma Faipule to secure peace,” said Lemamea.
The attacker’s cousin and a few relatives residing in Upolu decided to visit Gaga however, one of the hospital security guards advised them to seek assistance from the police.
He also said everyone in Falealupo is inter-related and he hoped the incident would not divide or cause further tension.
The village council met and decided to continue the ban against the attackers older brother when he was seen again in the village breaking his banishment conditions.
Meanwhile Gaga’s condition is still critical, said Lemamea.
SAN FRANCISCO (Press Release) — Scott Burch has been selected as the new superintendent of National Park of American Samoa located on the islands of Tutuila, Ofu, and Ta‘u in a remote part of the South Pacific. He replaces Jim Bacon who will be moving to the National Park Service’s Denver Service Center. Burch will begin his new assignment in summer 2015.
“Scott has a lot of experience with Pacific island issues, having lived in Hawaii much of his life,” said Pacific West Regional Director Chris Lehnertz. “He also has a strong background in managing large and diverse workloads, and in building successful partnerships. He’s a great fit for this position.”
Burch is currently the management assistant at Crater Lake National Park in Oregon, and previously served as a concessions management specialist at Denali National Park and Preserve. He brings a wealth of knowledge in sustainable economic development on public lands informed by his academic and professional work experience from both the private and public sectors.
During his graduate work at the University of Hawaii Burch analyzed impacts of recreational use on Hawaiian off-shore island wildlife sanctuaries and designed a commercial recreation permit and fee system for those areas. He also founded a non-profit organization and a commercial ocean eco-tour company that were both based on collaborative work with local communities to conduct natural resource monitoring, advance sustainable low impact ecotourism, and implement education programs in fragile island ecosystems. These efforts earned him the Mayor of Honolulu Special Recognition Award and a nomination for the Hawaii Living Reef Award.
“I am excited to have the chance to contribute to the work of the dedicated staff at National Park of American Samoa, our partners, and the neighboring communities in finding that balance in the best interest of the people and unique ecosystems of American Samoa,” said Burch. “I am also delighted to be moving once again to a Pacific island. Snorkeling, outrigger canoe paddling and surfing are some of my family’s favorite past times; and having grown up in Hawaii, I feel most at home where I can live, work and play in and near the ocean.”
Established in 1988, the National Park of American Samoa (nps.gov/npsa), the only U.S. national park south of the equator, is dedicated to preserving the Samoan/Polynesian culture and landscape. The 10,500 acre unit consists of parklands on three separate islands: Tutuila, Ta’ū and Ofu. Almost all the land area of these volcanic islands — from the mountain tops to the coast —is rainforest. Close to a quarter of the park consists of submerged coral reef offshore from the islands.
American Samoa Govt won't invest in food plant
The American Samoa Governor has signed an agreement to allow AVM Bernardo Engineering to look for a company to manage a proposed food plant, after the Government turned down an offer to invest in the business.
Lolo Moliga says the Government doesn't have the funds and it goes against the Government's principles to do so.
AVM, a Filipino company, had offered a 10 percent shareholding in the company.
Lolo has now given the green light for AVM to find a third party willing to invest.
The food processing plant would employ 700 to 1,000 people and AVM will invest more than US$100 million dollars.
Samoans feel edged out of retail sector
An academic says community views on the presence of Chinese in Samoa show concern about the country's retail sector.
Dr Iati Iati from the University of Otago is a speaker at this week's China in the Pacific conference at the National University of Samoa in Apia.
He has just concluded a survey in Samoa of grassroots views on China's role in the country.
Chinese dominance in the ownership of supermarkets and general stores was a recurring theme in people's views.
"On the one hand they're quite pleased with the prices that are available to people, on the other hand they are concerned that this will lead to a lot of Samoan businesses going out of business. They just cannot compete, both in terms of price and in terms of the fact that a lot of Samoan businesses are caught up in certain cultural protocols which makes it a little bit expensive for them and offering their goods."
Dr Iati Iati says another imbalance is that local people don't have the access to capital and goods that the Chinese businesses have.
Teen pregnancies drop in American Samoa
Statisticians at American Samoa's LBJ Hospital say there has not been a 14 year old mother giving birth at LBJ Hospital for the first time in five years.
Radio New Zealand International correspondent, Monica Miller told Jenny Meyer the number of babies born at Pago Pago's LBJ Hospital has been dropping steadily for the last five years and so too has the teen pregnancy rate.
According to the Family Planning Division of the LBJ hospital, there's been a steady decline in the number of teenage pregnancies and this corresponds with the overall birth-rate also dropping in the last five years. Some of the figures that have been released according to the manager Marilyn Anesi, in 2013 there were 138 babies born to teenage mothers but last year that number dropped to 114. One of the things she was particularly pleased about was that for the first time in five years there is no baby born to a 14 year old mother. The previous years there has been a steady increase to the number of babies born girls 14 years of age. Last year and the last four years prior to 2014,15 was the youngest age.
So what are the hospital authorities and the statisticians crediting with this development?
According to Monica she thinks that their message is getting out. She says, "I know that they have a very strong teen monitoring programs where the teenagers in the high schools and the American Samoa Community College talk to girls who are in serious relationships and trying to spread the message that they should not have sex at that young age and that they should wait for marriage. They've also opened up their clinics sometimes late on Tuesdays and Thursdays and even opening up on Saturday morning. According to Mrs Anesi they've seen an increase in the number of people that are coming to the clinic now to make use of family planning services. The other belief is that whereas before people believed that using family planning would interfere with the will of God for parents to have children but I think that with a new generation coming up now they don't hold that belief as much as their parents did."
This seems to be a good news public health story. How has the reaction been from different sectors: education, health and perhaps even the teenagers themselves as the news hit the public?
Monica continues, "Unfortunately the report that we carried, this is the first time the information has come out and so there hasn't been any reaction so far. On the other side of the coin though, I know that the government people have been looking at why our census has been going down and that would be interesting to see what the government people would make of the fact that the birth-rate has dropped. If you compare the number that were born last year to 2010. It's actually 200 less babies."
Monica Miller says the 2010 census recorded a population for American Samoa of 55,000 people, which was lower than the commonly assumed estimate of 60,000, and she says there is a mid-census count planned soon for the territory.
American Samoa school destroyed by tsunami to finally be rebuilt
Clearance has finally been given for a school destroyed by the 2009 tsunami in American Samoa to be rebuilt.
Students of Taputapu Elementary School, on the western end of the main of island of Tutuila, are still using an air conditioned tent set up shortly after the tsunami as a classroom.
The US Federal Emergency Management Agency had refused to provide funding for the school's rebuild at its original site in Poloa, because of its proximity to the sea.
But the Deputy Director of Education, Russ Aab, says clearance for the construction of a new school has finally been issued, and Taputapu elementary is expected to be rebuilt to the north in Fagalii.
Mr Aab says there had been a delay in getting the lease approved by landowners, but that has now been settled and the project should be put out for tender soon.
Taputapu is the last of the five schools in the territory destroyed by the tsunami to be rebuilt.
Pitfalls addressed in Samoa passport scheme
An academic who's studied passport sales in the region says Samoa's citizenship investment plan appears to have addressed some common pitfalls.
People in Samoa are being asked to give their views on the Citizenship Investment Bill which would give citizenship to foreign investors with at least two million US dollars to spend.
Anthony van Fossen of Australia's Griffith University says the attempt to outlaw agents and the proposal for a vetting committee are among steps which might avoid problems experienced in Marshall Islands and Tonga.
"Particularly the committee and the proposal of quite complete public accountability. Those are very good measures. It took the Tonga monarchy many years to achieve anything even remotely like what's being proposed in Samoa in terms of transparency."
Dr van Fossen says his research shows even legitimate citizenship programmes do nothing to stop the illegal and uncontrolled sale of passports.
Chinese laborers flown in to build Apia Park.
Dozens of Chinese labourers have been flown into Samoa to spend all day in the heat, every day, getting once ramshackle Apia Park fit for an All Black test later this year.
While a Manu Samoa vs All Blacks rugby test on July 8 is an emotional high-point for the Polynesian nation, like much else in the country it's being paid for with Chinese aid money.
The Samoa Observer reported that a multi-million dollar facelift is being carried out by Beijing state-owned Shanghai Construction Company.
It has flown 100 Chinese workers and hired 40 locals in what project official Hong Liang Da says is a race against time.
"The workers had to sacrifice their holidays to make sure our work is on schedule," he said.
"The rainy season at the end of last year meant the workers had to do inside work." Hong said it was only on the Christmas Day and New Year's Day they did not work.
"We came back to work after those days," he told the Samoa Observer.
"We work so that we don't fall behind schedule."
The men have to work from 6.30 am to 6pm but if it gets too hot they are allowed a two-hour break in the afternoon.
Renovation is underway on the grandstands along with a new roof, replacing seats, a satellite, scoreboard and replacing the sound system.
Hong would not say what it was costing.
Shanghai Construction has an awkward reputation around the Pacific and is known for glitzy buildings, such as apartments in Suva and a court house in Rarotonga, that need expensive maintenance shortly after they are opened.
They built a lavish swimming and sports complex for the South Pacific Games in 2007. Samoa has sought New Zealand aid since in a bid to maintain them.
Samoa has a colonial history of using Chinese labour.
Under German rule between 1900 and 1914, Samoans would not work on plantations so Berlin allowed for the importation of around 6000 "coolies" from Guangzhou.
After the New Zealand occupation in 1914 many were forcibly repatriated but hundreds with Samoan families remained.
In 1931 the New Zealand Parliament passed a law forbidding Chinese men from having sexual relations with Samoan women.
Several couples were prosecuted but the fact that around 30,000 Samoans today claim part Chinese heritage suggests New Zealand law was honoured more in the breach than the fact.
American Samoa limits immigration sponsorship
A bill that would limit the ability of corporations to sponsor foreigners to live and work in American Samoa is now law.
In a letter informing Fono leaders about the bill's signing, Acting Governor Lemanu Peleti Mauga said the change to the Immigration Code will require all corporations desiring to sponsor foreigners to first obtain a certification from the Attorney General's Office.
Lemanu says this measure will ensure that a corporation is in good standing and meets certain requirements before they are eligible to sponsor such people.
The bill will also prohibit corporations from sponsoring a foreigner who has any control or interest in the company.
Lemanu says the corporate sponsorship provision was intended to foster the investment beyond the capacity of local businesses.
He says it also aimed to support American Samoa-owned businesses in need of human resources not available in the territory.
However Lemanu says over the past few years the territory has witnessed the increase of foreign ownership of small businesses within the capacity of American Samoans to own and operate.
In Samoa, 70% of students fail national maths exam.
Results for Year 13 show 70 percent of students failed in the Samoa Secondary Leaving Certificate national mathematics exam.
The CEO of the Ministry of Education, Matafeo Tanielu Aiafi, has rejected a call by parents for the marks to be changed.
He says the marking system did away with scaling last year and reintroduced the old marking system to allow teachers to find and fix students' weaknesses including in the area of maths.
But a lawyer and parent, Pa'u Tafaogalupe Mulitalo, says the only solution to the controversial exam results is to take the issue further legally.
He says other parents are supporting the move.
Samoa airline revival mooted
Tu'uu says this follows concerns raised by many of the travelling public over delay of international flights, alleging this was the result of pilots working far too many hours.
He has told parliament Virgin Samoa and Air New Zealand have been seen as more friendly to each other rather than competing.
The Prime Minister, Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, says the joint venture deal between Polynesian Airlines and Virgin Australia will be reviewed this year.
He says the government has a long-term vision for the development of tourism with a plan to upgrade Faleolo International Airport.
This, he says, will open up to more competition with other big airlines.
Gov. Moliga resubmits bill to limit ability of Businesses to sponsor foreigners
American Samoa's governor, Lolo Moliga, is resubmitting to the Fono a bill which would limit the ability of businesses to sponsor foreigners.
The bill was approved by the House in the last special session but the Senate did not act on it.
The bill would allow only corporations certified by the Attorney General to sponsor foreigners aliens.
Under it, corporations must provide proof of financial responsibility, proof of timely payment of local taxes, fees and other government charges, an established business plan and proof of good corporate citizenship.
Governor Lolo is concerned that under existing law, an American Samoa corporation may be formed and after the articles of incorporation are approved becomes wholly owned and operated by a foreign national lawfully residing in the territory.
That corporation could then sponsor its owner/operator and any other foreigners.
American Samoa delegate sworn in to US Congress
Aumua Amata Radewagen has been sworn in as American Samoa's delegate to the US Congress.
She took two oaths of office, one with colleagues on the House floor and earlier a ceremonial swearing-in by House Speaker John Boehner in his Office.
Aumua who is the first woman to hold American Samoa's seat in Congress said she was elated.
"It's a very humbling experience, I am just in awe by everything and just to be here at the tip of the leadership in the United States. I thank God and I thank the people of American Samoa for giving me this opportunity to serve them."
Aumua replaces long time delegate for American Samoa Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin who served 13 terms.
She is expected in the terriotry this weekend to meet with the Governor and Fono leaders to discuss issues affecting American Samoa they want her to focus on.
She will also give a report on her first week in office.
Court hears case on American Samoa citizenship rights
HAGATNA, Guam >> A federal appeals court in the nation's capital is scheduled to hear oral arguments Feb. 9 in a case related to the citizenship rights of residents of American Samoa.
Unlike the territory of Guam, those born in American Samoa are not considered U.S. citizens.
At issue is the fact residents of the territories do not have the same rights as residents in the rest of the United States. Congress over the decades has passed laws giving only specific rights to the individual territories, such as the Organic Act of Guam.
Former Guam resident Neil Weare, president of the "We the People Project," in 2013 filed a lawsuit in the federal court in Washington, D.C., on behalf of American Samoans, arguing they've been denied their right to be U.S. citizens.
The court threw out the case, but Weare appealed, and the circuit court ruled some of the issues in the case could move forward.
It's hoped that having the courts clarify the citizenship rights of the 4.7 million people living in the territories also will help clarify the constitutional relationship between the United States and its territories, Weare has said.
One of the goals of the federal legal battle is to obtain full representation in Congress, where Guam currently has a non-voting delegate. It's an issue important to individual rights and control of our own economy, Weare has said.
In addition to the American Samoa case, the "We the People Project" has announced plans to file a lawsuit related to the inability of U.S. citizens living on Guam to vote for president of the United States. It has been gathering information from residents on its website in connection with the proposed lawsuit.
According to an order issued this week by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, oral arguments in the American Samoa case will be heard at 9:30 a.m. Feb. 9, before Circuit Judge Janice Rogers Brown and Senior Circuit Judges Laurence Silberman and David Sentelle.
Attorneys representing the residents who filed the lawsuit will have 20 minutes to speak, and attorneys representing the U.S. government will have 10 minutes, followed by 10 minutes for attorneys representing the American Samoa government, the order states.
The United States has argued against birthright citizenship for American Samoa residents, as has the American Samoa government.
The U.S. State Department has argued that the U.S. territories are not "states" and therefore do not have the same rights as states -- only those specifically granted by laws passed by Congress.
The American Samoa government has argued that automatic U.S. citizenship could undermine local traditions and practices, including land ownership rights that are restricted only to those of Samoan ancestry.
It also has argued that becoming U.S. citizens should be a choice for American Samoa residents instead of being mandated.
The U.S. Congress has the power to decide how people become naturalized citizens of the country, but it can't restrict birthright citizenship for those born under the U.S. flag because it's a "fundamental right," according to an attorney representing the residents who filed the lawsuit.
Several high-profile Guam residents, including former Gov. Carl Gutierrez, Guam Del. Madeleine Bordallo, and former Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Insular Areas Tony Babauta, last May submitted testimony in support of the American Samoa residents who filed the lawsuit.
Gutierrez, in a written statement, said, "Nearly 600 soldiers from Guam recently returning home from Afghanistan, in fact, more than 125,000 veterans call a U.S. territory home. It's about time the federal government stops arguing that Guam and these other territories aren't really part of the United States when it comes to important rights and benefits."
Bordallo, in a written statement, said, "So long as Guam and other U.S. territories are part of the United States, citizenship by birth should be recognized as a right guaranteed by the Constitution, not a mere privilege extended by Congress."
American Samoa mulls informer plan
The acting Commissioner of Public Safety, Save Liuato Tuitele, first revealed the informant initiative at a Senate hearing this week about last year's unresolved shooting incidents.
Save said the idea was to offer a cash reward to entice members of the public with information that can help with police investigation to come forward.
He said there may be people who know something but are afraid to contact police.
Governor Lolo says he supports the programme as anything that will help police with their investigation is welcome.
American Samoa Govt to pay thousands in overtime wages
American Samoa's Education Department has agreed to pay more than 17,000 US dollars in overtime wages to 20 employees.
It will also give almost 6,675 hours of paid leave to 44 workers who can use them as compensation for unpaid overtime hours of work in the future.
The US Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division found the Department paid bus drivers and technology department employees only for their scheduled weekly hours regardless of hours actually worked.
By doing so, overtime hours worked were under-reported.
The division's director in Hawaii says shifts such as transporting school children to extra-curricular events, had also been paid separately without contemplation of an overtime premium, as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Terence Trotter says the Department appreciates the American Samoa Government's full cooperation in resolving the matter.
Lemanu reports: Gov. Lolo staying in Hawaii for medical follow up
By Fili Sagapolutele
Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga was released this week from Straub hospital in Honolulu, and he will stay on there for follow up medical appointments, as well as meetings through next week.
Lolo was first admitted Feb. 21 at George Washington University Hospital in Washington D.C. where he had traveled to attend several meetings. He was released a week later but stayed for further medical appointments.
Lolo arrived in Honolulu last week and went for a doctor’s appointment at Straub, where he was admitted for observation based on a recommendation from his physician. Lolo is traveling with First Lady Cynthia Moliga, the governor’s executive assistant Iulogologo Joseph Pereira and his security officer.
Speaking to reporters yesterday, Lt. Gov. Lemanu Peleti Mauga said the governor stayed at Straub for five days and was released Wednesday this week, adding that Lolo is now staying at a Honolulu hotel awaiting medical appointments, as well as attending meetings that were originally scheduled for this leg of the trip back home, which had to be rescheduled.
Asked if he is able to provide any information as to why the governor was admitted to the D.C hospital in the first place, Lemanu recalled that —as he had stated before— this is "not my area of expertise and I would like not to say anything about the illness because I’m not really sure. I kind of have an idea of what happened....but I would like to also protect his privacy.”
In due time, when he returns home and hold a news conference, the “governor can be asked this question and he can decide on whether or not to answer it,” said Lemanu, who is also the acting governor.
Lemanu did say that the governor “ is doing very well. He sends his love and he sends his greetings to all the people of American Samoa, the leaders and the government of American Samoa.”
“And we sincerely thank you for all the prayers and love,” he said adding that the governor also extends his sincere appreciation to those who sent gifts and those who went to visit the hospital.
Lolo apologized to those who came to visit the hospital but were unable to see the governor “due to restrictions from the hospital."
" But in due time, he will be well and about. And in turn, return a word of thank you” to the public thru the news media, Lemanu said.
He said there is no firm date yet on when Lolo will return to the territory, but the governor has medical appointments up to next week. He says the governor’s date to return home is dependent on his medical appointments.
Lemanu also said that he has spoken via telephone with the governor while he was in D.C. and in Honolulu. He reported that “the governor’s voice is very strong” and “knowing the governor, no matter how he feels, he still thinks he is 18-years old”. That comment resulted in giggles from reporters as well as the governor’s senior staff, who sat in during the news conference.
Lemanu said he spoke with Lolo by phone Wednesday night and the governor even said, “not to bother him, he was eating his dinner.” Lemanu also shared that the governor is walking around, and “in fact visiting” the ASG office in Honolulu, as well as medical appointments yesterday.
The acting governor noted that among the meetings for the governor in Honolulu is a "continuation” of discussions about setting up the U.S. National Guard unit in American Samoa, which is being coordinated with the Hawai’i National Guard.
Two are killed in Land dispute in Ulutogia, Aleipata
By Lagi Keresoma
APIA: TUESDAY 11 MARCH 2014: Police are interviewing a man relating to a double killing between 3.00 and 4.00 this morning.
Acting Police Commissioner Fauono Talalelei Tapu confirmed the incident at Ulutogia village east of the capital Apia in the Aleipata district.
Both deceased lived within close proximity of the village.
The suspect is also from Ulutogia.
The incident was reported to the Lalomanu police just after 3am and a call for assistance was put through to the police main office in Apia.
“I sent the backup team with members of the Special Response Unit (RSE) and the forensic team.”
Fauono, who was at the scene of the crime in the early hours, described the scene as “horrible”
“The injuries are quite severe,” Fauono explained.
One of the deceased’s body was badly cut on several parts while the other had his neck severely cut said Fauono.
Fauono suspects the suspect and deceased were involved in an argument early in the day.
“It is suspected the argument was over issues relating to land,” said Fauono.
One of the deceased is a 41 year old man, married with three children.
The other is a 27 year also married with one daughter.
No charge has been filed against the suspect.
New CEO for Samoa's Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment
APIA, Samoa ---- A career public servant has been appointed the new Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.
Cabinet announced the appointment of Suluimalo Amataga Penaia yesterday.
Suluimalo was an Assistant CEO under the late CEO Taulealeausumai Laavasa Malua who died suddenly at the end of last year. The Cabinet release said that vacancy was advertised for public interest and six candidates submitted applications, which were assessed and measured in accordance with the job requirements. The applicants were then called in for interviews and final assessment by an Interview Panel.
After assessment, a recommendation was tabled before Cabinet for its final decision.
At the time of his appointment, Tofa Suluimalo held the position of Assistant Chief Executive Officer within MNRE. He previously worked as Manager of Upolu Operations from 2002 to 2005, and Manager of Savaii Operations from 2001-2002 for the Samoa Water Authority.
Suluimalo holds the qualifications of Bachelor of Science from the University of the South Pacific, as well as an Advanced Graduate Diploma of Business Management from the University of New England, Australia and a Graduate Certificate in Integrated Water Management from Griffith University, Australia.
Aged 48 years, the new head of MNRE hails from the villages of Vailoa Aleipata, Lufilufi and Satitoa.
Some Samoa tourist accommodation providers doing no business
Almost a quarter of accommodation providers in Samoa did not have any tourists stay at their properties over a 12-month period.
That's according to the Samoa International Visitor Survey of 2012-2013, launched by the Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, who is also the Minister of Tourism.
According to the report out of the 125 accommodation suppliers included in the survey, 30 averaged having no one stay with them during the year the survey took place.
Overall almost 28 per cent of all tourists stayed in private homes, with the remainder being in some form of commercial accommodation, such as a hotel or bed-and-breakfast.
The two most popular accommodation establishments were Aggie Grey's Lagoon Beach Resort and Spa, and the Tanoa Tusitala Hotel, which together garnered 14 percent of tourists.
Cyclone LUSI remnants Approaching New Zealand but set to 'pack a punch'
MetService meteorologist Dan Corbett agreed, saying it was looking like a "batten down the hatches'' weekend, which could get "quite nasty in some places''.
"Certainly northern New Zealand, so Northland to Auckland to the Bay of Plenty, through Saturday, it will certainly be spells of heavy rain, strong winds, gales - maybe even severe gales,'' he forecast.
"Then the actual centre of that low, that's still a little bit difficult to determine exactly where, but it does look like it's tracking towards northern New Zealand for late Friday into Saturday.''
By Patrice Dougan, The New Zealand Herald
The remnants of Tropical Cyclone Lusi are on track to hit New Zealand this weekend, forecasters say, with the North Island likely to bear the brunt of the storm.
A "stunning'' week will be followed by a weekend of heavy rain and severe gales as the weather system arrives to batter the country on Friday or Saturday.
It's likely to pass over Auckland on Saturday night and into Sunday morning, WeatherWatch head analyst Philip Duncan said.
While it would no longer be classified as a tropical cyclone by the time it reached New Zealand, it would still "pack a punch'', he said.
"We expect it will move in around Saturday or Sunday and it could bring very heavy rain and severe gales to northern New Zealand, and across the weekend it will affect all of the North Island at some point,'' Mr Duncan said.
However, it is not yet known which part of the country will be worst hit by the tropical storm.
"A lot of the weather around this low will be just your normal cloudy, windy sort of stuff, it won't be severe. But the worst of the weather is the centre part where the worst of the wind will be and some of the heaviest rain will be. That's the area we're watching very
closely and are yet to work out specifically where it will go,'' Mr Duncan said.
MetService meteorologist Dan Corbett agreed, saying it was looking like a "batten down the hatches'' weekend, which could get "quite nasty in some places''.
"Certainly northern New Zealand, so Northland to Auckland to the Bay of Plenty, through Saturday, it will certainly be spells of heavy rain, strong winds, gales - maybe even severe gales,'' he forecast.
"Then the actual centre of that low, that's still a little bit difficult to determine exactly where, but it does look like it's tracking towards northern New Zealand for late Friday into Saturday.''
American Samoa says it can't punish human trafficking without laws
American Samoa's deputy attorney-general says new laws criminalising human trafficking will give her office more authority to prosecute cases.
The final approval to the human trafficking bill was endorsed by the Senate last week while the House gave its approval late last year, a month after it was submitted by the Lolo administration.
The governor is expected to sign the bill into law.
Mitzie Jessop, who drafted the legislation, says she is excited with the bill's passage, after years of attempts.
"I know that there might be a perception that human trafficking does not exist here in the Pacific. Unfortunately since I've been in the attorney-general's office, I have seen a lot of cases that have come through our office and I cannot prosecute those cases because I have no laws."
Mitzie Jessop says a person convicted of human trafficking will face serious jail time, and offences against minors will carry more severe sentences.
Health alert in Samoa as dengue case confirmed
APIA, Samoa ----- Samoa's health ministry has issued an alert as the Pacific nation confirms a lab positive dengue fever case.
The Director General and Chief Executive Officer of Health, Leausa Dr. Take Naseri said “This is an expatriate gentleman who is based in Samoa, who had recently returned from Fiji where he was believed to be infected from. He was seen by a General Practitioner for signs and symptoms of Dengue fever and was tested on the 17 February, 2014. On the same day he received a POSITVE Dengue IgM and NS-1 rapid test. His blood specimen is believed to have been sent overseas by the NHS Lab for re-confirmation and serotyping.
“We wish to highlight here that this is an ALERT and that all health personnel must be vigilant as this can trigger an outbreak of Dengue Fever in the country, especially as there has been several outbreaks in Pacific Island countries to date. The Cook Islands is the latest country in the region who have declared a Dengue Fever Outbreak this month, and Tonga has recorded two positive cases so far,” says the Director General.
“Dengue Fever Case Definition and Case Management, especially danger signs of Haemorrhagic Dengue Fever (plasma leakage) must be carefully identified. The Ministry of Health would like your co-operation in continued vigilance to Report and Notify further cases. Contact addresses and phone numbers of patients would help the Public Health team do Contact Tracing and follow-up.
“The Ministry of Health is closely monitoring the situation and looking to address source reduction; prevention and other Public Health aspects of a possible outbreak event.
American Samoa's Mauga keen to use surplus revenues for youth program
American Samoa's acting governor Lemanu Peleti Mauga is seeking approval from the Fono to use surplus revenues from last year for the summer youth employment program.
According to the acting governor the last fiscal year closed out with a surplus of revenues over expenditures of approximately $US215,000.
He told Fono leaders the administration has given careful consideration of how to best utilize these funds, and has concluded the best use would be to invest in the future of young people.
The administration is proposing a supplemental appropriation of $US200,000 to supplement the annual Work Investment Act funding in order to hire more youth for the Summer Youth employment program.
The program combines classroom and on the job learning for high school and college students giving them experience in different fields.
The students are placed in both government departments and businesses.
Last year 500 young men and women participated, and earned minimum wages.
Business survey in Samoa shows most businesses are cautious
A survey by the Samoa Chamber of Commerce on Business Confidence shows that most businesses are cautious about the overall economic outlook for Samoa in 2014 but more optimistic about the chance of their own business' growth.
Almost 40 per cent of respondents said they were planning to make more new investment this year than last year.
The survey results also indicated that the most significant constraints to business growth remain the high cost of essential services such as electricity, fuel and ICT, the shortage of skilled employees and Government taxes and charges.
In order to offset high electricity costs the Chamber has urged government to reduce the duty on solar panels and other energy efficient capital items.
Samoa parliament supports legislation to establish family court
People in Samoa will soon have the chance to give their views on the setting up of a family court.
A bill to establish a court where all family matters will be handled has been through its second reading in parliament.
During the debate the Minister of Justice, Fiame Naomi Mata'afa, expressed concern over the delay in establishing the court.
The opposition MP, Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi, pointed out the court's importance for dealing with issues like the increase in the number of children selling goods in the town area.
The bill has been referred to a parliamentary committee and public consultation before going back to the house for its final reading.
Jasmine Netzler and Sarai Ripine, Samoa Observer
Tight-lipped and no comment. That was the position adopted by members of the ruling Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P) after a six and a half hour caucus meeting that ended late last night.
Held inside the Cabinet room at the government building, the meeting attended by all H.R.P.P. members – excluding the members on travel duty - started a 3pm. It followed a special Cabinet meeting called in the afternoon at 12 middday. What was discussed during both meetings could not be ascertained. Neither Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, nor any member of the H.R.P.P. would talk to the media last night.
“I can’t comment,” most of them who were approached by the Samoa Observer responded.
But one of them quipped: “I don't want to be sacked.” Later, a representative of the Prime Minister told the waiting media that Tuilaepa would not make a comment about the meeting either.
“Maybe tomorrow (today),” he said.
“As for tonight, there will be no media release.”
Down at the car park, party members immediately dispersed. With plates of food in hand, most of them were smiling when they left.
The meeting was held behind closed doors. Members of the media were made to wait in the lobby.
Security guards were present. Last night’s meeting follows weeks of discontent within the ruling party.
Two weeks ago, Siumu M.P., Tuu’u Anasi’i Leota, announced plans to set up a new party over growing unhappiness about the Minister of Finance, Faumuinā Tiatia Liuga.
Tuu’u is not the only one who has spoken out about the Minister of Finance.
Former Minister of Finance, Papali’i Niko Lee Hang, has also publically questioned Faumuina’s behaviour.
Last year, some 19 H.R.P.P. members attempted to remove Faumuina with a letter they wrote to the Prime Minister, outlining 18 allegations against the Minister.
The attempt was unsuccessful. Last month, Prime Minister Tuilaepa rejected claims there are frictions within his party.
He reiterated that the H.R.P.P. caucus had already decided on the future of Faumuina.
“This thing is not new,” he said. “We’ve already met about this.” During the meeting in question, held last year, Tuilaepa said “only three voted differently, wanting him to resign. Everyone else wanted him to continue and that’s how it is.”
Tuilaepa refused to give names.
“There is nothing wrong [within our party],” Tuilaepa said.
“We had a party last week and everyone was there except for these two who are still angry.They still don't have the heart to forgive.”
Asked who the two members are, he said: “I won’t tell you who they are.”
So is he likely to make a decision on them to put an end to claims that the H.R.P.P. is divided?
“No,” said Tuilaepa. “You know Christianity is about love and forgiveness.”
Back from New York at the beginning of the week, the Prime Minister is expected to speak to the media today.
THE SAMOAN STORY OF CREATION recorded 1891
The Polynesian Society is indebted to Dr. John Fraser of Sydney for permission to reproduce in this Journal his paper originally pnblished in the "Transactions of the Royal Society, N.S.W.," 1891, on the "Samoan story of Creation." With equal kindness be lent us the Rev. Mr. Powell's original MS. text in the Samoan language, which is reproduced here after correction by the Rev. S. Ella of Sydney and himself. The Samoan text was not published by the Royal Society, but we have been induced to produce it here, for the same reason that other papers have been printed in the native languages in this Journal, i.e., in order that it may be read by the natives themselves. We thereby hope to induce members of the native races to contribute original matter bearing on their traditions, &c.
It appears to us that this "Story of Creation" is of a high order, and may be classed with the best of the creation myths of other branches of the Polynesian race.
The Rev. T. Powell in securing this valuable tradition, the Rev. G. Pratt in translating it, and Dr. J. Fraser in editing and annotating it, have conferred a lasting benefit on the Samoans in particular and the Polynesians in general, which the descendants of the present people will as time goes on, appreciate more and more when education and refinement increase amongst them.
The exalted supremacy ascribed to Tangaloa in this myth, is characteristic of the Western Polynesians, (and some others—no doubt derivative) but we venture to suggest that further researches will prove that other branches of the race ascribed the same high position to Tane, and that probably the latter are a distinct migration into the Pacific.—EDITORS.
The Polynesian race of the Eastern Pacific has an elaborate system of Cosmogony, which aims at explaining how the heavens were created and sustained, how gods and men came to be, how their own islands arose; but the details thereof vary much as given by the wise men in the various groups. Of the varying forms of the great Myth of Creation, the one I have here from Sāmoa seems to me to be the purest and the noblest, and to be the original from which the others have come. Any one who knows Polynesia would reasonably expect this to be so, for, in many respects, the Sāmoans are a nobler people than most of the other islanders; they have a strong claim to be considered the parents of the race; and their highest chiefs and priests were the depositories of the old traditions and beliefs. The present myth was communicated by one of these old chiefs, Taua-nu‘u of Manu‘a, and as Mr. Powell who got it had his full confidence, I have no doubt that this is a genuine and uncorrupted record. In estimating value, we must always bear in mind that natives consider their traditional records as property which ought not to be shared with stangers; if circumstances compel them to open their stores against their will to foreigners, they so abridge or mutilate the narrative that it is then of little value, and, only when there is mutual confidence and trust as between friends, will they consent to tell the tale in its fulness and purity. Now, it is evident that this condition of friendship existed between Taua-nu‘u and Mr. Powell. Hence my belief in the genuineness of this record.
There is much simple dignity in the opening sentence of the myth—"The god Tangaloa dwelt in the Expanse" as the sole intelligence there. He was soon to be the creator of all things, but as yet there was no sky, no sea, no land. He moved to and fro in the Expanse.
It is noticeable that this opening sentence of the myth assumes the prior existence of three things before the work of creation began—(1) an Expanse or Firmament, (2) an intelligent and self-existing creative principle, 'le atua Tagaloa,' the god Tangaloa, and (3) the material wherewith to form the earth. There is here no notion that the earth was formed out of nothing. There is, however, an implied belief in the eternity of matter,—the matter, at least, which became the primitive papa, 'rock.' And also there was an Expanse, a sort of illimitable space—and that is a necessary belief in every creation-myth, but there was no sky, that is, no cloud-land or rain-land such as is now over the earth, and there was Tangaloa, moving to and fro at will in the Expanse. I therefore take Tangaloa to be the Aether of other cosmogonies,—the bright and pure principle of light and heat which existed before the sun, and which spread everywhere in that earliest state of things which we call Chaos. And, as this myth goes on, we shall find that, according to Polynesian belief, after the heavens and the earth had been made, this same Tangaloa places himself in the highest heavens, the Ninth, the clearest empyrean—where no cloud ever comes,—and there he dwells, calm and undisturbed, in his fale‘ula, his 'palace of brightness.' So I see nothing sordid in these three Polynesian ideas; the whole presents itself to me as a very chaste opening to a Creation-myth.
In this same sense, Charles Kingsley eloquently says:—"Those simple-hearted forefathers of ours said within themselves 'Where is the All-father'? Then they lifted up their eyes to the clear, blue sky, the boundless firmament of heaven. That never changed; that was always the same. The clouds and storms rolled far below it, and all the bustle of this noisy world; but there the sky was still, as bright and calm as ever. The All-Father must be there, unchangeable in the unchanging heaven; bright, and pure, and boundless, like the heaven; and like the heavens too, silent and far off. So they named him after the heaven, Tuisco—the God who lives in the clear heaven, the heavenly father. He was the Father of Gods and men; and man was the son of Tuisco and Hertha—heaven and earth."
Now as to the meaning and derivation of the name Tangaloa, I may call to your remembrance the fact that the Anglo-Saxon god-name, Tuisco, is of the same origin as the Eng. word day andLat. dies; the old Aryan root is dyu or div, 'to shine,' which gives other god-names, the Sans. Dyaus and deva, the Gr. Zeus and Zēn, and the Lat. Jupiter, Jovis, as well as the common noun divus. The idea common to them all is that of 'bright, lustrous, beaming,' and this fits in with the fact that Tangaloa dwells in the empyrean above. But, in seeking for a derivation of the name Tangaloa, I call to mind the Polynesian tradition that originally the sky lay flat on the lower world, lalo-langi, as they call it, the 'under-the-sky,' and that the nine heavens, being now propped up, surround the earth and envelope it on all sides. Therefore I divide the name Tangaloa into two parts tanga and loa; in Samoan the verb ta‘ai, that is, takai ( = tangai) means, to 'wind round' like an ulcer encircling a limb, and ta‘aiga is a 'roll,' of mats or tobacco or the like. In the Maori dialect, tangai is the 'bark' or 'rind,' that which 'envelopes,' and takai is a 'wrapper'; in Samoan tanga is a 'bag,' that which 'envelopes' or 'encloses.' I would therefore say that the name was at first Tanga-la, then lengthened into Tanga-loa,—'the god that encompasses all things,' 'the encircling Aether'; but, as -la is not a common formative in Polyesian dialects, at least so far as I know, it is quite possible that -loa is a separate word, and may be the Samoan loa, 'long,' 'far off.'
The myth next goes on to say that, in his wandering to and fro in the Expanse, Tangaloa one day stood still, and then there grew up păpă, 'a rock,' for him to rest on. In another Samoan myth, 'le Solo o le Va,' Tangaloa is, at another time, weary of flying over the waste of waters, and no sooner does he express a wish for a resting place, than an island rises up from the deep for him. In both cases, there is no laborious work of creation ascribed to him, but his wish or his need at once produces the result desired. There is certainly some dignity in this.
The word păpă, in Samoan, means 'rock,' but in other dialects it also means 'foundation,' 'anything level or flat,' and pala, means 'mud.' Now I take the myth here to indicate that, by the exercise of his will alone, Tangaloa caused to spring up, out of chaos, first the solid foundation-material out of which the Earth, the Sea, the Sky, were afterwards evolved by separate fiats or acts of creation; for the myth then declares that he spake to the Rock, saying, 'Be thou split open,' and there came forth, as if by successive efforts of parturition, various kinds of foundation-stuff, then the Earth, then the Sea, and Fresh-water, and the Sky, and 'Prince-Prop-up-sky,' and Immensity, and Space, and Height, and, last of all, Man, as a physical being, but not yet endowed with intelligence. Unlike the original papa, all of these come into existence, not at his will, but by the power of a separate command of evolution for each.
I am not much concerned to explain how, on natural principles, the Sea, and the Sky, and Man himself, can have been produced by this papa, but the succession of ideas in this Samoan myth is consistent; for first comes the Rock or Foundation—the physical origin of all things—then the varieties of rock, which are soon united to form the Earth; then the Sea, 'le tai,' is made to surround the Earth and lave its shores; then its counterpart, 'le vai,' Fresh-water, appears on the Earth; hitherto Earth and Sky had been as one, but now the Sky is lifted up above the earth and secured in its place by props; then the dimensions Length, Breadth, and Height appeared; and then, all things being ready for him, Man came upon the scene.
But Man was yet a dull, inert mass of matter; so Tangaloa created Spirit, and Heart, and Will, and Thought, and put them within him, and thus Man became a living soul. Here the myth duly recognises the composite nature of man, and that too with a precision scarcely to be expected from Polynesians.
The Kosmos had been, to some extent, arranged already as Land, Sea, and Sky, but now that Man is to dwell on earth, Tangaloa proceeds to make him comfortable; and so he sends Immensity and Space, as a wedded pair, to dwell in the sky above; he bids another pair, 'Two-clouds' and 'Two-fresh-water-bottles,' attend to the supply of water from the clouds, and another pair to people the Sea. Meanwhile the man and his wife are to people the earth on its southern side. But now a catastrophe seems to have happened, for Tui-te‘e-langi, the Polynesian Atlas, found himself unable any longer to support the weight of the sky, and so it fell down on the earth once more. Then Tui bethought him of two native plants that grow, spread out a-top like an umbrella; with these he propped up the sky, and it has never fallen since! In this connection, it is curious to note that our Australian Aborigines believe similarly that the sky is held up by props, and they have a tradition that the props once broke, and then the wizards had great work to do in getting the sky propped up again.
The wedded pair, Immensity and Space, that had a little before been removed from the earth to the sky, now brought forth children— Night and Day, and these two, by their united action, produced the Sun and the Stas; these two dwell in the First Heavens, the region of alternate darkness and brightness. Immensity and Space next gave birth to Le-Langi, 'the clear, blue sky'; that is the Second Heavens. Langi then produces all the other heavens up to the Ninth, and each of these is peopled by Immensity and Space. All this means that, above the cloud land of the First Heaven, everything is serene, calm, and clear, and everywhere there is illimitable extension of space. So it must have appeared, at all events, to the earliest of myth-makers, when they turned their thoughts from earth to heaven.
Our myth now turns to the creation of the other gods; every one of these, however, is a Tangaloa, and is therefore not a seperate and independant being, but only a phase, as it were, of the supreme Tangaloa—a distinct manifestation of himself in some one or other of his functions. These he created, but the word used here fa‘a-tupu, only implies that he 'caused them to grow up' or to be. Of all these facets of himself, he makes Tangaloa-le-fuli, 'the immoveable,' to be the chief, for up there, in his domain, the Ninth Heavens, the clouds 'never roll along' (le fuli), the storms below never come nigh, and all is tranquility and peace.
The myth next shows the Sāmoan pride of race, for it makes Sāmoa and Manu‘a to be brothers to the Sun and the Moon. And yet we cannot believe that the Polynesians are akin to the rulers of the Celestial Empire. After these, the other islands of the Pacific, as known to Sāmoans,—Tonga and Fiji and the Eastern groups—are made to spring up at the will of 'Tangaloa-the-creator-of-lands.' This is a much more dignified account of things than that which is given in some other Polynesian legends, which say that, while one of the gods was engaged in fishing in the sea, he pulled up with his line an island here and there; and that had not the line at last broken with the pull, some of these islands might have been continents.
But the newly-created islands are, as yet, rough and rugged and unfit for the occupation of man; and so 'Tangaloa-the-creator' comes down and treads upon them, and prepares them for people to dwell in. And he looked on all his work, and said, 'It is good.' To people these lands, he causes Tangaloa-sāváli to take a native climbing-plant, a Fue, and lay it outside in the sun. Under the Sun's heat, its juice brought forth a great multitude of worms; these Tangaloa fashioned into men and women, and gave them intelligence, and thus he peopled the lands. This Fue must represent some echo of the original creation of mankind by God, for our myth says, at its close, that Fue was the son of Tangaloa, and there is still in Sāmoa a variety of this vine, which is called Fue-sā, the 'sacred vine.' And, to Sāmoans, such origination of life is intelligible; for they have experience of animal life as a product of the sun's heat, to procure oil, they slice their cocoa-nuts into lumps, and leaving a heap of this 'copra' exposed in a canoe, they find that it soon produces oil and worms.
As a parallel to this account of the origin of man, I now refer to the Australian tradition with which I began this introduction. There the creation-god is Baiamai, that is, Bai-bai, an intensive and therefore honorific name, formed from the Australian root-word ba, 'to cause to be,' 'to make'; similarly, the verb punjilko, that is, punjil with the infinitive suffix -ko added, means 'to cut out,' 'to shape,' 'to make'; hence Baimai and Punjil simply mean 'the creator.' In his creative work, Punjil uses a knife wherewith to shape all things; similarly Tangaloa cuts and shapes the vine-worms 'into member'd forms.' Punjil too, when he wishes the land to be occupied, cuts the people into small worm-like pieces and scatters them about. Tangaloa declares himself well pleased with his handiwork; Punjil, in delight, dances around the clay image of the man which he was making. Tangaloa gives spirit and heart to animate man; Punjil breathes hard on his image and the man lives, Tangaloa, in one of his aspects, is the lord of the sea; Punjil's brother is the lord of all waters. Baiamai gave to the Australians all their socal regulations; so also, among the Polynesians, all authority comes from Tangaloa; he gave them kingly rule, and the right of holding councils, and enjoined them to live in peace.
And thus, in folk-lore and in tradition myths, parallel stories may be found in the most unlikely quarters, all the world over and these parallels can scarcely have proceeded from merely a similar power of invention in so many diverse nations; they seem to indicate a common origin.
The god Tangaloa dwelt in the Expanse; he made all things; he alone was [there]; not any sky, not any country; he only went to and fro in the Expanse; there was also no sea, and no earth; but, at the place where he stood there grew up a rock. Tangaloa-fa‘a-tutupu-nu‘u was his name; all things were about to be made, by him, for all things were not yet made; the sky was not made nor any thing else; but there grew up a Rock on which he stood.
Then Tangaloa said to the Rock, 'Be thou split up.' Then was brought forth Papa-taoto; after that, Papa-sosolo; then Papa-lau-a‘au; then Papa-‘ano-‘ano; then Papa-‘ele; then Papa-tu; then Papa-‘amu-‘amu and his children.
But Tangaloa stood facing the west, and spoke to the Rock. Then Tangaloa struck the Rock with his right hand, and it split open towards the right side. Then the Earth was brought forth (that is the parent of all the people in the world), and the Sea was brought forth. Then the Sea covered the Papa-sosolo; and Papa-nofo [that is, Papa-taoto] said to Papa-sosolo, 'Blessed are you in [the possession of] your sea.' Then said Papa-sosolo 'Don't bless me; the sea will soon reach you too.' All the rocks in like manner called him blessed.
Then Tangaloa turned to the right side, and the Fresh-water sprang up. Then Tangaloa spake again to the Rock, and the Sky was produced. He spake again to the Rock and Tui-te‘e-langi was brought forth; then came forth Ilu, 'Immensity,' and Mamao, 'Space,' came (that was a woman); then came Niuao.
Tangaloa spake again to the Rock; then Lua‘o, a boy, came forth. Tangaloa spake again to the Rock, and Lua-vai, a girl, came forth. Tangaloa appointed these two to the Sā-tua-langi.
Then Tangaloa spoke again, and Aoa-lālā, a boy was born, and [next] Ngao-ngao-le-tai, a girl; then came Man; then came the Spirit; then the Heart; then the Will; then Thought.
That is the end of Tangaloa's creations which were produced from the Rock; they were only floating about on the sea*; there was was no fixedness there.
Then Tangaloa made an ordinance to the rock and said:--
(1) Let the Spirit and the Heart and Will and Thought go on and join together inside the Man; and they joined together there and man became intelligent. And this was joined to the earth ('ele-ele'), and it was called Fatu-ma-le-‘Ele-‘ele, as a couple,† Fatu the man, and ‘Ele-‘ele, the woman.
(2) Then he said to Immensity and Space, 'Come now; you two be united up above in the sky with your boy Niuao, then they went up; there was only a void, nothing for the sight to rest upon.
(3) Then he said to Lua-‘o and Lua-vai, 'Come now, you two, that the region of fresh-water may be peopled.'
(4) But he ordains Aoa-lālā and Ngao-ngao-le-tai to the sea, that they two may people the sea.
(5) And he ordains Le-Fatu and Le-‘Ele-‘ele, that they people this side; he points them to the left-hand side, opposite to Tua-langi.
(6) Then Tangaloa said to Tui-te‘e-langi, 'Come here now; that you may prop up the sky.' Then it was propped up; it reached up on high. But it fell down because he was not able for it. Then Tui-te‘e-langi went to Masoa and Teve; he brought them and used them as props; then he was able. (The masoa and the teve were the first plants that grew, and other plants came afterwards). Then the sky remained up above, but there was nothing for the sight to rest upon. There was only the far-receding sky, reaching to Immensity and Space.
THE PRODUCTION OF THE NINE HEAVENS.
Then Immensity and Space brought forth offspring; they brought forth Po and Ao, 'Night and Day,' and this couple was ordained by Tangaloa to produce the 'Eye of Sky,' [the Sun]. Again Immensity and Space brought forth Le-Langi; that is the Second Heavens; for Tui-te‘e-langi went forth to prop it up and the sky became double; and Immensity and Space remained there, and they peopled the sky. Then again Langi brought forth, and Tui-te‘e-langi went forth and propped it up; that was the Third Heavens; that was peopled by Immensity and Space. Then Langi bore again; that was the Fourth Heavens. Tui-te‘e-langi went forth to prop it up; that heaven also was peopled by Ilu and Mamao. Then Langi bore again; that was the Fifth Heavens. Then went forth Tui-te‘e-langi to prop it up; that heaven also was peopled by Ilu and Mamao. Langi brought forth again; that was the Sixth Heavens. And Tui-te‘e-langi went and propped it up; that heaven was peopled by Ilu and Mamao. Then Langi bore again; that was the Seventh Heavens. And Tui-te‘e-langi went forth and propped it up; that heaven was peopled by Ilu and Mamao. Then Langi again brought forth; that was called the Eighth Heavens. Tui-te‘e-langi went to prop up that heaven; and that heaven was peopled by Ilu and Mamao. Then again Langi brought forth; that was the Ninth Heavens; and it was propped up by Tui-te‘e-langi; and that heaven was peopled by Ilu and Mamao. Then ended the productiveness of Ilu and Mamao; it reached to the Ninth Heavens.
THE PRODUCTION OF OTHER GODS.
Then Tangaloa sat [still]; he is well known as Tangaloa-fa‘a-tutupu-nu‘u; then he created Tangaloa-lē-fuli, and Tangaloa-asiasi-nu‘u, and Tangaloa-tolo-nu‘u, and Tangaloa-sāváli, and Tuli also, and Longonoa.
Then said Tangaloa, the creator, to Tangaloa-lē-fuli, 'Come here; be thou chief in the heavens.' Then Tangaloa, 'the immoveable,' was chief in the heavens.
Then Tangaloa, the creator, said to Tangaloa-sāváli, 'the messenger,' 'Come here; be thou ambassador in all the heavens, beginning from the Eighth Heavens down to the First Heavens, to tell them all to gather together in the Ninth Heavens, where Tangaloa, the immoveable, is chief. Then proclamation was made that they should go up to the Ninth Heavens, and then visit below the children of Night and Day in the First Heavens.
Then Tangaloa, the messenger, went down to Night and Day in the First Heavens, and asked them thus:—'Have you two any children appointed to you? And they answered, 'Come here; these two are our children, appointed to us, Langi-‘uli and Langi-mā.'
All the stars also were their offspring, but we do not have the names of all the stars (the stars had each it own name), for they are forgotten now, because they dropped out of use. And surely the last injunction of Tangaloa, the creator, to Night and Day was that they should produce the Eye-of-the-Sky. That was the reason Tangaloa, the messenger, went down to ask Night and Day in the First Heavens [if they had any children].
Then answered Night and Day, 'Come now; there remain four boys that are not yet appointed,—Manu‘a, Sāmoa, the Sun, and the Moon.'
These are the boys that originated the names of Sāmoa and Manu‘a; these two were the children of Night and Day. The name of the one is Sā-tia-i-le-moa, 'obstructed by the chest'; the meaning of which is this:—the boy seemed as if he would not be born, because he was caught by the chest; therefore it was he was called Sā-tia-i-le-moa, that is, Sāmoa; the other was born with one side abraded ('manu‘a'); then said Day to Night 'Why is this child so greatly wounded?' therefore the child was called 'Manu‘a-tele.'
Then said Tangaloa, the messenger, 'It is good; come now; go up into the Ninth Heavens, you four; all are about to gather together there to form a Council; go up you two also.' Then they all gathered together in the Ninth Heavens,—the place where dwelt Tangaloa, the creator, and Tangaloa, the immoveable; the Council was held in the Ninth Heavens; the ground where they held the Council was Malaē-a-Toto‘a, 'the council ground of Tranquillity.'
Then various decrees were made in the Ninth Heavens; the children of Ilu and Mamoa were appointed all of them to be builders, and to come down from the Eighth Heavens to this [earth] below; perhaps they were ten thousand in all that were appointed to be builders; they had one name all were [called] Tangaloa. Then they built houses for the Tangaloa; but the builders did not reach to the Ninth Heavens—the home of Tangaloa-lē-fuli—which was called the 'Bright House' [fale-‘ula].
Then said Tangaloa, the creator, to Night and Day:—'Let those two boys go down below to be chiefs over the offsprings of Fatu and ‘Ele-‘ele.' But to the end of the names of the two boys was attached the name of Tangaloa-lē-fuli who is king ('tupu') of the Ninth Heavens; hence the [Samoan] kings ('tupu') were named 'Tui o Manu‘a-tele ma Samoa atoa.'
Then Tangaloa, the creator, said to Night and Day:—'Let those two boys, the Sun and the Moon, go and follow you two; when day comes, let the Sun follow; also when Night comes, the Moon too comes on.' These two are the shades of Tangaloa; they are well-known in all the world; the Moon is the shade of Tangaloa; but thus runs the decree of Tangaloa, the creator,—Let there be one portion of the heavens, in which they pass along; in like manner also shall the Stars pass along.'
Then Tangaloa, the messenger, went to and fro to visit the land; his visit began in the place where are (now) the Eastern groups; these groups were made to spring up; then he went off to cause the group of Fiji to grow up; but the space between seemed so far off that he could not walk it; then he stood there and turned his face to the Sky, [praying] to Tangaloa, the creator, and Tangaloa, the immoveable; Tangaloa looked down to Tangaloa, the messenger; and he made the Tongan group spring up; then that land sprang up.
Then he turns his face to this Manu‘a; and looks up to the heavens, for he is unable to move about; then Tangaloa, the creator and Tangaloa, the immovable, looked down, and caused Savai‘i to spring up; then that land grew up.
Then Tangaloa, the messenger, went back to the heavens, and said—'We have (now) got countries, the Eastern group and the Fiji group, and the Tongan group, and Savai‘i.' Then, as all these lands were grown up, Tangaloa, the creator, went down in a black cloud to look at the countries, and he delighted in them; and he said, 'It is good;' then he stood on the top of the mountains to tread them down, that the land might be prepared for people to dwell in. Then he returned [on high]. And Tangaloa, the creator, said [to Tangaloa, the messenger],—'Come now; go back by the road you came; take people to possess the Eastern groups; take Atu and Sasa‘e; that is a pair; they were called conjointly Atu-Sasae; these two people came from the heavens from among the children of Tangaloa.
Then Tangaloa, the messenger, went again to the Fiji group; he also again took two persons, a pair—their names were Atu and Fiji—from among all the children of Tangaloa; so that group of islands was called Atu-Fiji.
Then he turned his face towards Tonga; he took [with him] a couple; their names were Atu and Tonga; these two peopled that group of islands; their names were the Atu-Tonga; these two were the people of Tangaloa.
Then Tangaloa, the messenger, came back to this Manu‘a, to Le-Fatu and Le-‘Ele-‘ele and their children; because the command of Tangaloa, the creator, [had gone forth] from the heavens, that Le-Fatu and Le-‘Ele-‘ele should go there to people this side of the world. Then went out Valu‘a and Ti‘ăpă to people Savai‘i; these two are the children of Le-Fatu and Le-‘Ele-‘ele; these two people are from this Manu‘a; Savai‘i and this Manu‘a are one; these two were the parents of I‘i and Sava; I‘i was the girl, and Sava was the boy; that island was peopled by them, and was named Savai‘i.
And Tangaloa, the messenger, went again to this Manu‘a; then he stood and faced the sky, as if he were making a prayer; then Tangaloa, the creator looked down, and the land of Upólu sprang up. Then Tangaloa, the messenger, stood and again faced the heavens towards Tangaloa, the creator; and Tangaloa, the creator, looked down from the heavens, and the land of Tutuila sprang up.
Then Tangaloa, the messenger, turned to the heavens, and said, 'Two lands are now gotten for me to rest in. And Tangaloa, the creator, said, 'Come now, go you with the Peopling-vine; take it and place it outside in the sun; leave it there to bring forth; when you see it has brought forth, tell me.' Then he took it and placed it in Salēa-au-mua, a council-ground, which is now called the Malae-of-the-sun. Then Tangaloa, the messenger, was walking to and fro; and he visited the place where the Fue was; he went there and it had brought forth. Then he went back again to tell Tangaloa, the creator, that the Fue had brought forth. Then Tangaloa, the creator, first went down; he went to it; he looked, and it had brought forth something like worms; wonderful was the multitude of worms; then Tangaloa, the creator, shred them into stripes, and fashioned them into members, so that the head, and the face, and the hands, and the legs were distinguishable; the body was now complete, like a man's body; he gave them heart and spirit; four persons grew up; so this land was peopled; there grew up Tele and Upólu, which are the children of the Fue; Tutu and Ila, that is a pair; these are the children of Fue; four persons, Tele and Upólu, Tutu and Ila. Tele and Upólu were placed to people the land of Upolu-tele; but Tutu and Ila, they two were to people the land now called Tutuila.
Fue, the son of Tangaloa, that came down from heaven, had two names, Fue-tangata and Fue-sa; he peopled the two flat lands.
Then Tangaloa gave his parting command thus; 'Always show respect to Manu‘a; if any one do not, he will be overtaken by calamity; but let each one do as he likes with his own lands.'
[Here] the story of the creation of Sāmoa finishes with this parting command, which was given at Malae-lā.
NOTES TO THE STORY OF CREATION.
PAR. 1. Punjil; for an account of Punjil and his works, see R. Brough Smyth's "Aborigines of Victoria," Vol. I., and for Baiamai, see Ridley's "Kamilaroi."
Baiamai; in the text I have given this form of the name, for it is
Breathed very hard; cf. "He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life." The Polynesian here and in other respects agrees with the Egyptian and the Hebrew Cosmogonies, which commence with chaos, regard light as anterior to the sun, postulate the moulding hand of a deity in creation and a divine breath as the source of life. The Polynesian cosmogony has also, the idea of the unity of God; for the gods are all Tangaloa. It agrees with the Avesta in tracing creation to the will of a deity and in ascribing perfection—"it is good"—to the thing created; Ahuramazda is the sole creator who made heaven and earth and men. In India also, the Self-existing One by a thought made the waters. The Babylonian Cosmogony considers water as the primal element from which life came; the Polynesian does not.
2. Punjil's brother; cf. the relation of Zeus to Poseidon.
Cut into pieces; cf. the Hebrew verb bârâ, 'to create,' which properly means 'to fashion,' 'to shape.'
Worms; cf. a subsequent note on Fue-tagata.
3. The details thereof; for these, see Rev. Dr. Gill's "Myths and Songs" and Sir George Grey's "Polynesian Mythology."
4. Le atua Tagaloa; this expression shows that this myth is not modern; for the word atua, 'god,' was almost obsolete when the first missionaries went to Samoa.
Aether; some commentators on Gen., I., 1-2 assert that the Ancient Jews believed the sky to be a solid vault, but that in its original state (verse 1) it was a liquid expanse; the 'separation' of the material of heaven and earth took place on the second day of creation (verses 6-8).
Envelopes; the Polynesian conception of the Heavens does not seem to include a belief that they encompass the world all round like a circle—not spheres, but crescent-shaped vaults. This also is the Hebrew notion; cf. "He that sitteth upon the circle of the earth; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in" (Is. xl., 22). "He walketh in the circuit of heaven" (Job. xxii., 14).
Fale-ula; cf. the 'Solo o le Va.'
5. Papa; not a 'rock' in our sense of the word, but merely 'something flat and solid'; cf. Gen. I., 6-8. In the sense of 'foundation,' papa has numerous correspondences in the Hebrew Scriptures;cf. Isaiah xxxi., 17, "the earth's foundation quake"—the foundations which support the visible frame of the earth.
Separate fiats; this cosmogony is thus theistical, not pantheistical.
Prince Prop-up-sky; Tui-te‘e-langi; his place here, among the physioal creations of Tangaloa, shows that he is not a god—not a Tangaloa,—but a sort of physical Atlas.
The sky is lifted up; cf. the English word 'heaven' and the Scotch, 'lift.'
6. Dull, inert mass; it had the worm-life from the Fue-sā, but that was all.
7. Southern side; the limited knowledge which the ancients had of geography led them to regard the north as hyperborean; and thus the south was to them the habitable part of the globe.
8. Sun and stars; so also in Genesis I., the sun does not appear till the fourth day. In our myth, there is no mention of the moon till further on.
9. Ninth Heavens; 'three times three'; cf. the notes on this point in the 'Solo o le Va.' In the "Records of the past," we read of the 'nine gods, the masters of things,' and of a 'holy nine.' As the basis of their numeration, the Polynesians have—one, two, three; they have no knowledge of seven as a perfect number.
Tranquillity and peace; cf. the notes on this point in the 'Solo o le Va.'
For the occupation of man; it seems to me that whatever is essential to the Polynesian idea of creation is contained in this verse—"He that created (bârâ) the heavens" &c. (Is. xlii., 5) see below, note 13.
11. Outside in the sun; cf. the reverence given to the scarabæus, as a product of the Nile mud under the heat of the sun.
Fashioned into men; cf. Heb. bârâ, as above.
12. Into member'd forms; see the 'Solo o le Va.'
13. The god Tangaloa. He is the great god of the Polynesians; cf. the notes on 'Solo o le Va.'
The Expanse; 'va-nimo-nimo' is the word used here. Va means space between any two things; it may be as small a space as that between two laths on a partition wall or the planking of a ship's deck; but it may include as much as the east is distant from the west; nimo-nimo means 'far, far distant.' I therefore take va-nimo-nimo to mean 'vastly extended space'—so vast that the mind cannot compass it. In Samoan, nimo-nimo is said of anything that has quite passed from the memory; and a lark soaring aloft, and thus going out of sight, would be said to be nimo-nimo. The word mamao, which occurs further on, also means 'space,' but it seems to differ from va-nimo-nimo in that it is used of a measurable distance between objects; it may be translated 'extension.' The difference may thus be translated, 'extension.' The difference may thus be that va-nimo-nimo is 'unlimited extension,' whereas mamao is 'limited extension.' In Genesis I., 6, the 'firmament' is the Hebrew rakíā, that which is 'spread out,' and seems to correspond with the 'expanse' here. In Genesis I., 2, "the Spirit of God moved ('brooded') on the face of the waters;" here it is said that Tangaloa fe-alu-alu-mai, 'goes backwards and forwards;' alu means to 'go;' the prefix fe has a reciprocal force; alu-alu is a reduplication of intensity; the -mai is a formative termination. In the 'Solo o le Va,' Tuli, which is the ata or spirit-emblem of Tangaloa-savali, is tired of moving to and fro, and desires a place to rest on; forthwith up sprang Manua's Rock. So also in this myth; where Tangaloa halted from his wandering to and fro, on that spot a Rock sprang up. In line 32 of that same Solo, the footstool of Tangaloa is called taa-tuga, 'that on which he stands;' with this compare "Heaven is my throne, earth is my footstool, . . . what is the place of my rest?" Here comes in the ancient idea that the heavens were a solid vault; cf. Gr. 'stereoun,' 'stereoma;' Lat. 'firmamentum.'
He made all things, 'na faia mea uma;' with this compare, "And without him was not anything made that was made."
No earth; the word here is lau-‘ele‘ele, which means 'land spread out;' ‘ele‘ele elsewhere is merely 'earth, soil, dirt,' the lau here prefixed denotes 'breadth;' cf. the 'broad-bosomed earth' of Hesiod. With the meaning of lau-‘ele‘ele compare Isaiah xlii., 5, "Thus saith God the Lord, he that created (cf. Heb. bârâ) the heavens, and stretched them out (cf. Samoan va-nimo-nimo and Heb. rakía); he that spread forth the earth (cf. lau-‘ele‘ele) and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it (cf. 'Solo o le Va'), and spirit (cf. anga-anga) to them that walk therein." The Hebrew verb there, 'rākâ,' properly signifies to spread out by 'trampling' on with the feet, or 'beating' into thin plates. In Samoan, lau has a similar reference; for, of its compounds, lau-lelei means 'even, level,' lau-papa is a 'board, a plank,' lau-tele is 'wide,' and lāu itself, as a prefix to verbs, denotes 'uniformity' and 'universality' as if 'spread out.'
T.-fa‘a-tutupu-nu‘u; here fa‘a (dialects ba-ka, fa-ka, wha-ka) is a causative prefix to verbs, very abundantly used in Polynesian; tupu, as a verb, means 'to grow,' 'to spring up;' tutupu is its plural form; nu‘u, means 'a country,' 'a district.' The whole name thus means 'Tangaloa, the creator of lands.'
A rock grew up; 'tupu ai le papa'
14. Be thou split open; 'māvae ia,' said of parturition; māvae, 'to open as a crack;' hence māvava, 'to yawn.'
Brought forth; the word is fanau, which is also applied to the extrusion of gum from trees. The next acts of creation are in the text expressed in each case, by toe fanau, 'again it brought forth,' but, for brevity, our translation says only 'after that;' 'then.' With fanau compare: "Before the mountains were brought forth." (Heb. yullād)—Psalm xc., 2.
Papa, 'rock;' it also means 'plain, level, flat,' and that meaning is in harmony with the 'spread out' of the note above. To the Polynesian myth-makers, their mountains, being mostly volcanic, do not belong the earliest stages of creation. The various kinds of 'papa' are indicated by the epithets attached—viz., ta‘oto, 'to lie down;' sosolo, 'to run,' 'to spread like creeping-plants;' lau-a‘au, 'resembling a flat reef' (a‘au is a 'reef,' and to 'swim:' lau denotes uniformity); ‘ano-‘ano is 'honey-comb;' ‘ele is a sort of volcanic mud or shale, so soft that it can be cut with an axe; tu means 'to stand' (its derivative, tugā, means 'standing in the way,' as a rock in the middle of the road); ‘amu-‘amu is a kind of 'branching coral,' branching like fingers.
Children; the word here is pau, not fanau, 'offspring.'
15. Facing the west; in the ancient auguries and other ceremonials, the position of the celebrant was important.
Towards the right. Mr. Powell says here—"In the direction of tualagi, 'the back of the sky' the north," cf. Ovid Meta I. 2, 45. 'Right' and 'left' are equivalent to 'north' and 'south,' cf. Ps. lxxxix., 12; Is. liv., 8. To the Kelts of Sootland and Ireland, the 'right' hand is still the 'south' hand (deas for deaks, 'right;' cf. Gr. dex-ios, Lat. dex-ter, 'right'); because when the face is turned towards the east, the south is on the right. An old custom among them—said to have come down from the Druids—is called deas-iùil, 'a turn to the right;' because, in all their solemn processions, the company, in order to secure a blessing, turns to the right, and, keeping the object on the right, marches round it 'three times' in the same direction as the daily course of the sun. The motion in a contrary way is car-tual, and is considered unlucky; in Lowland Scotch this is called a widder-sins motion.
World; lalo-lagi, 'under-the-sky.'
Earth; ‘ele-‘ele; this is a reduplication of ‘ele, 'red-earth,' 'rust,' 'dirt,' 'blood;' see ‘ele-‘ele. It is interesting to remember here that the Hebrew word adâmâh (cf. Adam), 'the earth,' 'the tilled ground,' comes from a root meaning to be 'red,' and is applied also to the 'dust' which mourners use.
That is the parent, &c. With this compare, "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground."
The sea; sami, 'the salt water' (Lat. sal), not tai. In Genesis i., 10, as here also, 'the seas' (Heb. yâmim) are gathered together when the dry land (Heb. yâbésh, 'anything that is dried up or becomes dry') appears. The Samoan word tai means 'the sea, the tide;' the distinction between it and sami seems to be that tai is the sea where it flows upon the land, but sami is the big salt ocean.
Papa-nofo probably is 'the rock (or rocks) that remained' uncovered. The idea of the myth-maker here seems to be that the sami at first had not depth of water enough to cover anything but thepapa-sosolo; but that ere long the waters would rise and reach the other rocks also, and so make them happy (amuia, 'blessed,' used in congratulations).
16. Fresh-water, 'vai;' as in the 'Solo o le Va,' so here; the vai comes immediately after the tai.
Your sea. The word here is tai; cf. the note on sami.
Brought forth; produced; come forth; in the text these are always 'fanau.'
Sky; 'lagi;' pronounced langi (i = Italian i). Everywhere, the Samoan g = ng. A cognate word is the Melanesian laga, 'clear.'
Tui-te‘e-lagi; tui, 'a high chief, a prince, a king;' te‘e, 'to prop up;' lagi, 'the sky.' The Australian blacks also know that the sky is propped up; once the props broke, and the wizards (koráji) had the utmost difficulty in putting things right again.
Ilu, &c.; these three, Ilu, Mamao, and Niuao do not come into existence till after the sky is propped up: hence mamao, as I think, must mean 'limited extension' or 'space' from horizon to horizon, from sunrise to sunset; niuao is formed from niu, 'a cocoa-nut tree;' the Samoans say of a very tall man that he 'a walking cocoa-nut tree;' of smoke they say fa‘a-niu tu, 'it stands like a cocoa-nut tree;' and in the Samoan Bible the missionaries have applied the expression to the 'pillar of fire' in the wilderness; and so, I think, that niuao must mean 'height.' The Samoan word ilumeans 'innumerable,' 100,000, or any vast number; in its place in the text it cannot well refer to the stars in the sky; we may translate it 'immensity,' and apply it to distance from north to south.Ilu, Mamao, and Niuao would thus be the three dimensions formed by the bounding sky—viz., Length, Breadth, and Height, each of them, however, limited by the sky. Cf. the note on the Expanse.
17. Lua‘o and Luavai; lua-vai means 'two fresh-waters;' lua‘o should, I think, be luao, for luā-ao, 'two clouds.'
Sā-tua-lagi; the 'race' at the 'back' of the 'sky;' the north.
18. Ngao-ngao-le-tai. 'the desolate sea.'
'Came;' 'came forth;' the text has still the same toe fanau, 'again was brought forth.'
Man; 'tangata,' the human race. Last to be created was man, and the elements which are joined together to make up his composite being. These are--anga-nga, 'the spirit,' probably from the same root as nga‘e, 'to breathe hard;' hence the 'breath,' the 'spirit,' in the same sense as the Heb. ruāch, Gr. psuche, Lat. spiritus, animus, Sans. âtman; in Samoan anga-nga also means 'a disembodied spirit'--loto, the 'heart or affections,' not the physical heart--finagalo 'the will,' also the 'liver;' finagalo is a word used only to chiefs; finagaloa means, 'to be angry,' 'choleric.' The next name, masalo, properly means 'doubt,' but this appears to be a secondary meaning, for 'doubt' arises from that power which enables the mind to cast things to and fro in reflection, and hence to deliberate; masalo is therefore here taken to be 'thought,' 'the power of thought.' These four Tangaloa causes to go within man's physical frame, and combine there; and thus man becomes 'intelligent, wise,' See also Ovid, Meta i., 1.
In Is. xlii., 5—the verse already quoted—the breath and the spirit (neshâmâh and ruāch) are distinguished; the one is the animal spirit or life; the other is the spirit which gives consciousness. Similarly, the Melanesians and Polynesians believe that man has two spirits—the one may leave him for a time when he is dreaming or in a faint; the other finally leaves his body at death.
19. No fixture; ua leai se mea a mau ai, 'there was no thing to be fast to;' ope-opea, 'they floated about.' Cf. "The earth was without form and void;" cf. also Ovid, Meta, i., 1.
20. An ordinance; 'tofiga.' This word comes from the verb tofi, 'to divide an inheritance,' 'to apportion a father's property among children.' Tangaloa's tofiga is thus the exercise of his sovereign pleasure in allotting to his children their several stations and spheres of action, as indicated in the five paragraphs which follow.
Intelligent, 'atamai.' As a verb this word means 'to understand;' as an adjective, 'clever, intelligent, sensible;' as a noun, 'the mind.' The Samoan ata denotes the incorporeal shadow or spirit, as opposed to the substance of a thing; and atamai may be a derivative from it; so also the French esprit and spirituel are related. The Sanskrit âtman also means 'the breath, the soul, the undertanding,' p. 185 and its derivative âtmavant means 'sensible,' 'self-controlled;' âtman is supposed to be derived from a root ava, vâ; with which compare the Heb. hâvâ 'to breathe.'
Fatu-ma-le-‘ele‘ele; 'seed-stone and earth.' Fatu is a word which, in various forms, is found in all Malaysia, Melanesia, and Polynesia, in the sense of 'hard,' 'anything hard,' 'the hard kernel or seed-stone of fruit.' For the meaning of le-‘ele‘ele, see above; but Le-‘Ele‘ele is here regarded as a woman, who, by the ordinance (tofiga) of Tangaloa is united (fa‘a-tasi, 'joined,' lit. 'made-one') to Fatu, the completed man. Fatu is the seed-giving principle, and Le ‘Ele‘ele is the receptacle of the seed. With this compare the tales in classic authors about De-métér ('Mother-earth') and Zeus.
A void; 'va-nimo-nimo;' see note above. To rest upon; lit. 'to reach to.' All this corresponds with the Heb. 'tohu' (chaos) of creation—a waste in which nothing was defined.
Region; itu, 'a side,' 'a district;' itu i matū, 'the north;' cf. Heb. 'the sides of the north,' yârekâthaim tzâphôn (Isaiah xiv., 13) where tzâphôn is the region of 'darkness' (cf. Homer, pros zophon, Odys. ix., 25) 'the north quarter,' and yârekâthaim is a dual form to mean 'both sides,' hence 'the buttocks,' 'the back,' 'the remotest parts of a country.' This agrees with the idea conveyed by tua-lagi 'the back of the sky,' to which Lua‘o and Luavai were appointed, to be regents there. Fresh-water is 'vai.' In the 'Solo o le Va,' line 21, the creation of vai and tai is mentioned. The Polynesians believed that there were reservoirs of fresh-water up in the sky. In the Biblical account of the great Flood, it is said that 'the windows of heaven were opened.'
Le Fatu: see note above. Ordains; 'tofia;' cf. ordinance, 'tofiga.'
Points; tusi, 'to point out' with the index finger.
Masoa and Teve are both referred to in the 'Solo o le Va,' lines 73, 75. The Masoa (Tacca pinnatifida) is the arrow-root tree; growing on a succulent stem, with leaves only at the top, where they spread out like the surface of a round table. The Teve (Tacca amorphophallus) is another kind of arrow-root tree, very like the Masoa. From their shape they are well fitted for the purpose to which they are applied in these myths. See also Sir Geo. Grey's "Polynesian Mythology."
There was nothing, &c.; 'a na leai se mea e taunu‘u i ai le va‘ai.'
Far-receding sky; 'va-nimo-nimo.' See notes above.
21. They brought forth; the text has 'ua fanau Ao, toe fanau Po;' another reading is, 'ua fanau Po ma Ao, ua fa‘a-tagata-ina ai le lagi,' 'they brought forth Night and Day, who caused-to-be-peopled the sky.' The order Po ma Ao, 'Night and Day,' is more consonant with the ideas of the Polynesians who counted by nights. The word fa‘atagataina consists of fa‘a the causative prefix already noticed, and tagata, 'man,' 'mankind,' which in another dialect is kanaka, now commonly applied to the 'labour-men' who are brought from the islands of the South Seas to the northern parts of Australia.
The eye of the sky; 'le mata o le lagi.' The Malays call the Sun mata-ari, 'the eye of the day.' The Egyptian City, On, (Heb. ‘Ir-ha-Heres, Gr. Heliopolis) 'the city of the Sun,' got its name from Ain, Oin, 'the eye'—the emblem of the Sun.
The second heavens. Here the Polynesians believe, like other nations of old, that the sky originally lay flat on the earth, and covered it; by the aid of the Masoa and the Teve, Tui-te‘e-lagi props it up, and this gives room for Ilu and Mamao to work; this is the First Heavens; in it are placed the Sun, and Night, and Day. Ilu and Mamao then bear again, and the Sky ('le lagi'), according to myth, is produced; this probably means the region above the clouds, for the Polynesian myth-makers must have noticed the difference between cloud-land and higher sky; this Tui propped up, and it was the Second Heavens.
Remained there--i.e., in the Third Heavens, which they peopled. The heavens above the Third are, in the myth, produced (fanau) by Langi, the 'sky' personified, but they were all peopled by Ilu and Mamao. The notion that the stars in the heavens are gods, and men, and beasts, and trees, &c., is a very old one.
22. Tangaloa sat still. In the 'Solo o le Va,' he is represented as a quiet, contemplative god, who delights in tranquillity and peace—the Polynesian Brahmā, the origin and source of all things. In his active manifestations he is fa‘a-tutupu-nuu (see note on par. 13), 'the creator of lands;' but in his dealings with men he works by intermediary emanations from himself, which are all of them persons, and called Tangaloa; le fuli is the 'immoveable' (le 'not,' fuli, 'to turn over,' 'to capsize'); asi-asi-nu‘u, 'the omnipresent' (asi, 'to visit;' asi-asi, a frequentative; nu‘u, 'a district, a country, a people'); tolo-nu‘u, 'the extender of lands, or peoples' (tolo, 'to spread out;' it applies to reefs that run out into the sea, branches that spread out from the tree, or roots running along on the surface of the ground); sāváli, 'the ambassador or messenger' (sāváli means 'to walk').
Tuli and Longonoa both mean 'deaf' or 'deafness,' but that meaning cannot apply to these workers of Tangaloa. In the 'Solo o le Va,' Tuli is the bird 'ata' or emblem of Tangaloa; so also here, I believe. As to Longonoa, the simple verb logo, means 'to report;' hence I take Longonoa to be 'the reporter,' the one who carries tidings up to Tangaloa; logonoa means 'to hear,' and logo-logoāis 'famous, renowned.' Logonoa would thus be used as a verbal adjective; and in form it corresponds with such verbs as tala-noa from tala. The Longo-noa here may be the same as the Rongo of other islands.
24. They should go up. The context means that Savali, 'the messenger,' was sent down to summon a fono or council of the gods whose stations had been appointed in the various heavens below, and tell them that they should go up to the Ninth Heavens to deliberate there. This was a council of chiefs, for these gods are called ali‘i, 'chiefs.' The fono determined to send Savali down with a message to Night and Day.
25. Langi-uli, 'the dark, cloudy heavens;' Langi-mā, 'the bright clear heavens,' called also Langi-lelei (lelei, 'good, beautiful'). Uli means 'black,' 'dark blue.'
26. Last injunction; mavaega, 'a parting command.'
27. Manu‘a and Samoa. The pride of the race comes in here; Manu‘a is the child of Night and Day, and is the brother of the Sun and Moon. The ruler of the 'Celestial Empire' even cannot claim a more ancient lineage than that!
28. Sa-tia-le-moa. On this fabulous account of the origin of the names Samoa and Manu‘a, Mr. Powell's MSS. have this note:—This affair of the names is in a very confused state. A man, Taua-nu‘u, who is 'keeper of the traditions' for Taū, told me lately that Tangaloa fell from a precipice on to Malae-a-Vavāu, and was badly wonnded, and from that circumstance Tau was called Manu‘a tele, 'greatly wounded.' Several persons told Mr. Pratt and myself, in 1862, that the whole group is named Sāmoa, from Moa, the family name of the present King of Manu‘a—Sāmoa or Sā-moa-atoa. Fofo and Taua-nu‘u still maintain that the account given to Mr. Pratt and myself is perfectly correct, and that le atu o Moa ('the Moa group') includes Samoa, Tahiti, &c., &c.
You two also; i.e., the father and the mother with their four boys.
Malae-a-toto‘a. It is a peaceful region, a land of rest and tranquillity; it is the glassy empyrean, beyond the reach of storms.
30. Builders; 'tūfūga.' see the 'Solo o le Va.'
Bright house. This paragraph seems to mean that the palace in the Ninth Heavens was not their work, although they built in all the heavens below. p. 187 Fale-‘ula* is the 'bright house'; fale, 'a house,' ‘ula, 'red,' 'joyful,' 'bright'; hence the name means 'house of joy,' or 'the house beautiful.'
Offspring of Fatu and ‘Ele‘ele. All the children of Earth are placed under the command of these two chiefs, Manu‘a and Sāmoa.
Tail of the names. Chiefs often have the name Tangaloa as the last part of their own names.
Tui, &c., 'King of great Manu‘a and all Sāmoa.' Tui also means 'king,' 'high chief.'
32. Follow. The sun and the moon are not here the cause of day and night; they only follow them. The day breaks, then comes the sun; darkness falls, and ere long the moon rises.
Shades; ata, 'shade,' 'emblem.' The 'ata' or 'spirit' of Tangaloa resides in them, as in the Tuli; see note on par. 22.
Portion of the heavens; itu, 'side,' see notes on par. 20. The moon and the stars always pass along the sky in the same direction.
33. Went to and fro; 'fe-alu-alu-mai'; cf. notes on par. 13. To visit the lands; 'asi-asi i nu‘u.' Here Savali performs the functions Tangaloa asi-asi nu‘u, another manifestation of the supreme god; in visiting these lands he assumed the form of the Tuli; cf. the 'Solo o le Va.'
The Eastern groups; that is, Tahiti and the adjacent islands.
The space between; 'vasa,' that is, the ocean-space between two islands.
Walk it; 'savali,' in allusion to his name.
Turned his face; fa‘asaga, 'to direct to,' 'to face to.'
The Tongan group; which is placed as a steppings-stone between the Eastern group and Fiji. That land; 'lau-‘ele‘ele'; see note on par. 13.
34. This Manu‘a; the land of the poet's birth.
Move about; 'fe-alu-mai,'—not the frequentative form this time. The meaning is that Manu‘a was too small an island, and so the land ('lau-‘ele‘ele') of Savai‘i was created. Therefore in poetry, these two islands are regarded as proceeding from the same act of creation.
35. Got countries; nu‘u, 'lands.' Tangaloa, the supreme god, now goes down to examine the lands just created. Cf. "And behold every thing that he had made was very good." Delighted in them, 'fia-fia,' intensive; said, 'fetala‘i,' a chief's word.
Black cloud; 'ao-uli-uli'; this is not a rain-cloud; in the book of Isaiah (c. iv., 5), the day-cloud, which is a manifestation of Jehovah's presence, a cloud of smoke (’anân v’âshân); cf. also 1 Kings, viii., 10.
Trample upon;† 'soli-soli,' reduplication. As man is now about to come on the scene, the supreme god prepares the land for him to dwell in and to cultivate.
People to possess; lit., 'people to people,' tagata e fa‘a-tagata.
Atu-sasae; 'atu' means 'group,' and 'sasae' means 'eastern.' Atu, Sasae, Fiji, Tonga, are all personified here and become mythical personages. Here, as elsewhere, Fiji, although Melanesian, is included in the realms of Tangaloa, the Eastern God.
38. Valu‘a and Ti‘apa; these heroes are celebrated in another Solo.
I‘i and Sava; a myth to account for the name Savai‘i. Mr. Powell's notes add:—"Such is the account given me by Taua-nu‘u of Manu‘a, the legend-keeper p. 188 (Oct. 21, 1870). He also stated that Fatu and ‘Ele‘ele were the first pair who came from heaven; they came down at a place called Malae-a-Vavau, near the east end of the village of Taū; they gave birth to a boy and a girl named Ti‘apa and Valu‘a who went and peopled Savai‘i; for they became the parents of a girl named I‘i and a boy Sava; hence the name Savai‘i."
This side of the world; 'lenei itu lalolagi.'
39. As if he were making a prayer; 'peiseai se talo-talo ua fai'; talo-talo is an intensive reduplication of the verb tatalo, 'to pray'; talo-saga is 'a prayer'; talo means 'to make signs to,' 'to beckon'; hence 'to stretch out the hands in prayer.'
Land of Upolu; Tutuila; 'land' here is lau-‘ele‘ele, not n‘u.
To rest; malolo, 'to be quiescent,' 'to rest,' not 'to rest from work'; lands, nu‘u.
40. The Peopling Vine; le Fue-tagata; cf. the 'Solo o le Va,' (note 16). Evidently this vine has some connection with the Sun.
A council ground; that is, a malae.
Was walking; eva-eva, not fe-alu-alu-mai; eva means 'to walk by moonlight,' 'to walk or go about leisurely.' His work was done, and so he could now take a stroll for recreation.
Shred them; 'totosi;' tosi means 'to tear in strips,' though not so as to separate; 'to draw out,' 'to form.'
Four persons; a myth to account for the names Upolu tele and Tutuila
Fue-sā, 'the sacred climbing-vine.' Here called also Fue-tagata—an additional particular, not mentioned in the 'Solo o le Va.'
Flat lands; lau-‘ele‘ele. Parting command; 'mavaega.'
42. Show respect to; 'le sopoia;' lit. 'do not pass over.'
Do as he likes; pule, 'have authority and full control.'
43. As is usual, the poet, at the close of his tale, enforces the claim of Manua, to have glory and honour.
The Mexican story of Creation may be compared with the Polynesian 'tala;' I therefore quote a few points of resemblance from a French translation of the "Codex Ramirez," which was written in Spanish soon after the conquest of Mexico: "The first god and the first goddess were self-created, and dwelt in the Third Heavens; of their four sons, one was born red, another was born black.* Two of these sons, by appointment, proceeded to create first fire, then a half-sun, then a man and a woman, then the days, then a great fish* like a cayman, out of which they made the earth. As yet there was no division of time into years; so the creating gods now made a full sun to shine on the earth. Then great giants were made, who lived only on acorns, and could carry trees in their hands. Soon after it rained* so much that the sky fell down upon the earth. The gods then created four men to help them to raise the sky again, and two of the gods changed themselves into trees* for the same end. The Sun now resumed his place in the sky, and, in order that he might have hearts to feed on,* and blood to drink, men were compelled to engage in perpetual war. One year after this one of the four gods took a rod, p. 189 and with it struck a rock, from which sprang the 'mountaineers,' who occupied the country before the Mexicans came there."
In the introduction to this 'tala,' I have offered a new derivation of the name Tangaloa. I wish now to add that that derivation has some support from what we know as the Vedic god Varuna—the same word as the Greek ouranos, 'heaven.' The name Varuna is derived from the Sanskrit verb veri, 'to cover,' 'to surround;' and, in its compounds, 'to enclose,' 'to overspread;' a participial noun from it means 'a wrapper,' 'a cloak;' with these compare the Polynesian words already cited. In the Veda Varuna is one of the most ancient of deities; he is sprung from 'Space,' and is the god of the heavens; in some of the later hymns he is regarded as controlling the waters, both in heaven and on earth; hence in the later mythologgy his name is synonymous with 'the waters,' 'the ocean.' For, just as the Vedic Varuna covers and encompasses the terrestrial sphere, so the Homeric mighty river Okeanos surrounds the whole of the terrestrial lands. With all this compare the functions of Tangaloa, who, in some localities in Polynesia, is also lord of the sea.
In the Greek mythology, Ouranos is the grandfather of Zeus, and Varuna is thus more venerable and ancient than Dyaus, the lower sky.
* Compare with this the story of Kahu's discovery of the Chatham Islands: "On the arrival of the Kahu at this island (Chatham Island) he found it floating about; it was Kahu who closed (fixed) all this island, including Pitt Island." There are other Polynesian myths of the same character.—EDITORS.
† NOTE.—Mr. Powell's manuscript, under date March 21, 1871, has this note:—"To-day Taua-nu‘u has explained to me the reason of his reluctance to disclose his traditions; he is afraid lest contention arise, when it is found that they place Savai‘i and Upólu in a position inferior to his own islands of Manu‘a. When I promised due care, he opened his treasures more fully. He states that (1) ‘Ele-‘ele is distinct from Fatu-ma-le-‘Ele-‘ele; that was the name given to the first man, who was only at first floating about on the waters with ‘Ele-‘ele. Fatu-ma-le-‘Ele-‘ele was formed by the union of Spirit, Heart, Will, and Thought, and was appointed to people the lands in conjunction with ‘Ele-‘ele 'Earth,' but Le-‘Ele-‘ele was different, and Fatu was different from ‘Ele-‘ele.
* Fale-‘ula, is the Whare-kura of Maori tradition, which is described as a temple, or use set apart and strictly tapu, where the priests taught the ancient histories and traditions of the people; it is sometimes called Whare-maire.—EDITORS.
† Compare with this, the preparations made by Maui, who in most of the myths referring to his "fishing up" of lands is described as trampling on the hills to prepare the earth the habitation of man. Had he not been overtaken by daylight this would have been accomplished and the earth have presented a level surface.—EDITORS.
O le mafuaga lenei o le igoa o le i'e toga a Malietoa:
Ina ua toe foi le malaga a Malietoa i Upolu sa i Manu'a, ona toe manatua lea e Tuimanu'a e le'i faia se la ava faamavae ona faanoanoa ai lea o Tuimanu'a ma ua tuliloa mai le malaga. Sa maua atu ona faamaualalo lea o Tuimanu'a e tusa ai male leai o se la ava faamavae. Ona pati ai lea o le alofisa i luga o le moana loloto, ua tapa nei e Malietoa lana ava ma faapea lana tuleiga. "Tuimanu'a ua malie lau teu ma lau faaaloalo, ua malie lau talo sa tu i le fusiloa, malie lau manu sa olo i le toa, ua malie lau i'asa sa taa i le vasaloloa, malie lau tuamafa sa olo i le vaomaoa. O le a ou foi male vaa ua goto male mama ua lomi i lau teu faatupu ma lau faatamalii. Ona vaai atu lea o le tupu o tafeafea ane le lau taamu sa afiafi atu ai le ava ona faapea lea o lana saunoaga. Tuimanu'a ua maua le igoa o la'u toga, o le a faaigoa i le Lautaamutafea e faamanatu ai pea lou agalelei ia te a'u. O le ala lea ua faaigoa ai le measina or i'e-toga a le tupu o le Lautaamutafea.
Tala Anamua i le Mafua'aga o Samoa
O le tala faaanamua a Samoa e faapea, o Samoa lava ona pau lea o le lalolagi. Fai mai o le foafoaga na amata i le leai, ona sosoo ai lea ma le faasologa o nanamu efuefu, iloa, eleele, papatu, maataanoa ona maua ai lea o mauga.
E i ai le gafa e faapea na feusua’i mea o le lalolagi ma le vanimonimo na amata i le fefaaipoipoai o papa ona maua ai lea o le eleele ona sosoo ai lea ma feusuaiga i le vanimonimo. O le faaipoipoga a lagi aunoa ma lagi fofola na fanau mai ai Tagaloa, o ia lea na faia tagata.
Na tupuga mai Savea ia Leatiogie ma Tauaiupolu. O ia le uluai Malietoa, ona sosoo ai lea ma tupulaga e 20 o le auga Malietoa, seia tau mai ia Malietoa Tanumafili, na faauu e fai ma tupu i le 1899.
Na toe fai e Tagaloa le lagi, ona fai ai lea ma le lalolagi. Na fai Savaii ma Upolu i maa e lua na faataavavale mai i le lagi, ae fai mai foi le isi tala, na sisi a’e nei motu mai le moana i le matau fagota. Ona faia lea e Tagaloa o le fe’e, ma fai i ai e alu i lalo ifo o le lalolagi, o le mea lea ua ta’u ai lalo o le sami po o le laueleele o Salefee. O le fe’e lena na ia aumaia i luga ituaiga eseese o papa, ona maua ai lea o lenei papa tele ua tatou mau ai.
O lo o i ai faamatalaga eseese e fa pe sili atu foi i uiga i le mafuaaga o le igoa “Samoa”. E lua tala nei mai ia Turner: E toalua le fanau a Tagaloa, o le tama e igoa ia Moa ma le teine o Lu. na faaipoipo Lu ma le uso o Tagaloa, ona maua ai lea o le tama ua faaigoa ia Lu. O le tasi po a o taotooto Tagaloa o le a moe, na ia faalogo atu o pesepese le tama a lona fuafafine faapea: “Moa Lu, Moa Lu”, ona toe sui lea faapea: “Lu Moa, Lu Moa”. Ua mafaufau Tagaloa, ua fia tuu muamua e Lu o ia ia sili i luga o Moa le ulumatua, ona sasa ai lea e Tagaloa le tama i le au o lona fue. Ona sola ifo ai lea o Lu i le lalolagi, ua na faaigoa ai le lalolagi o Samoa.
O le tasi tala e faapea: O Papa na usu ia Eleele ona to ai lea o Eleele. Na vaavaai atu Salevao le atua o Papa o gaoioi a’e le “moa” o Eleele, ona fanau mai lea o le tamaitiiti ua faaigoa o Moa e faatatau i le mea na vaaia o gaoioi. Na faatonu e Salevao le uso (pute) o le tamaitiiti ia tuu i luga o le uatogi ae tipi i se maa, ma ua faia pea lava lena tu pe a fanau se tama tane (ina ia toa o ia i taua). Afai o se teine, ia faaaoga le i’e mo lea mea. O le i’e o le samala laau lea e sasa ai u’a ma siapo.
Ona avane lea e Salevao o le vai e fufulu ai le tamaitiiti. O lena vai ua ia faasa ai po o le “faapa’ia” ia Moa. Na tagi Papa ma Eleele ia Salevao ona o le fia maua o sina vai ina ua la lagona le fia inu. Ona fai mai lea o Salevao, afai la te maua ane ni ofe, o le a faatafe mai ai vai i pu o ofe (pei ni paipa). O le faatoa maua lena o vaipuna. Mulimuli ane ua faasa e Salevao mea uma e tutupu i le eleele, ia “sa ia Moa” po o le “paia ia Moa”, seia oo ina ua sele lona lauulu. Ua mavae nisi aso, ona sele ai lea o le lauulu o le tama, ma ua taga ai le “sa”, a o Papa ma Eleele na “sa ia Moa”, ua faapuupuu ma maua ai lo igoa “Samoa”.
O le tala faaanamua i le mafuaaga o Manu’a e faapea, o Manu’a na muai faia e Tagaloa Faatupunuu. Na ia avea Manu’a e fai mona afioaga i le lalolagi.
Na uma ona faia Manu’a e Tagaloa, ona ia faia lea o Savaii, ua i ai lona nofoaga i Samata. Ona sosoo ai lea ma lona faia o Fiti ma Toga, ae mulimuli ona fai o Upolu ma Tutuila. O motu ia e lua na fai i maa laiti ma iliili e fai ma tulaga o Tagaloa pe a alu i Savaii.
E faapenei le tala faaanamua a Manu’a, fai mai o Manua lava le amataga o mea uma, ma o Tuimanu’a o le suli moni o Tagaloa. O le isi tala e ta’u ai Moa o le atalii ulumatua o Tagaloa, ma ua avea ai Moa ma igoa faale aiga o Tuimanu’a.
O le tasi o Tuimanu’a anamua o Fitiaumua, o ia lea na iloga lona mamalu, e le gata ina sa pule o ia i Samoa atoa, ae sa oo atu foi i Toga, Fiti, RArotoga ma Tahiti. O na nuu uma sa auina mai pea ia te ia a latou taulaga (umiti) i tausaga taitasi, o i’a ma isi mea taumafa. Na uma lena pule po o le tausaga e 900 ina ua faamaopoopo le malo i Upolu e Pili ma ona atalii e toa’fa, o Tua, Ana, Tuamasaga ma Tolufale.
Mulimuli ane i nisi tausaga, ua tu le malo i Savaii ona o Alali, o le isi foi lea suli o Pili. O le fanau a le atalii o Alali e i ai Fune, ma Lafai. E oo mai i aso nei e faaaoga pea e failauga le igoa “Sa Lafai” e fai ma faalupega o Savaii atoa. Ao Fune na pogai mai ai fale Safune e fa (Falefa o Safune): O Safune i Taoa, Safune Vaiafai (Iva), Safune Vaisala (tuaoi ma Asau) ma Safune Sili (e lata i Tufu Gautavai). O fale Safune na e fa e i ai le pule atoa i le filifiliga ma le alagaina o le ao o le Tagaloa. O Lafai le uso o Fune, na avea ma tupuga o Salemuliaga, ma le Tonumaipe’a. O Tagaloa, Tonumaipe’a ma Lilomaiava (e filifili ma alaga e Palauli ma Safotu), o ao pito maualuluga ia o Savaii. E oo mai i le tausaga e 1830 sa taua le itu i Matu o Savaii o le “Itu Taoa”, a o le itu i Saute o le “Itu Aea”. Ao lenei ua tau o le ITUOTANE ma le ITUOFAFINE.
O le mafutaga mafaga a Tuimanu'a ma Folasa
E faapea le taofi o Folasa o se tagata tautaua o Savaii i aso anamua i le mea tau lauga, o se tagata e lava le tofa ma le utaga. E faapea foi le taofi o se tagata vavalo ma o le Saualii. O Folasa sa mafaga le la mafautaga ma Tuimanu'a. E faapea la le taofi o Tuimanu'a e iai lona atalii e igoa ia Umatagata, o se alii aulelei ae sa fanau mai e leai ni ona vae. Ua matua nei le tama ma ua alofa i ai Tuimanu'a ona e leai ni ona vae. Ua oso nei le manatu ia Tuimanu'a o le'a ave lona atalii i Savaii e fai i ai se togafiti a lana uo lelei o Folasa, aua ua iloa e Tuimanu'a o Folasa o se tagata mamana e pei o se faataulaitu.
Sa ave loa le tama i Savaii ma sa faatoga atu Tuimanu'a ia Folasa e tusa ma le la malaga. Sa mafaufau loa Folasa i se auala e maua ai vae o le tama o Umatagata. Ua tele aso ua mavae o moe manatunatu lava Folasa i se auala, ona faapea mai loa le o Tuimanu'a ua lelei ae o le a toe foi le malaga, ae faamagalo mai ua faigata tele le mea ua ou tagi atu ai. Sa aami loa e Folasa lona atalii o Tapuna ma ua tago atu loa Folasa ua tipi ese vae o lona atalii ae faapipii i le tino o Umatagata. O le mana faataulaitu sa i a Folasa sa mafai ai ona faataunuu lea mea. Ua tagi auau'e le toalua o Folasa o Maileia i le alofa i lana tama ae ua togiola lava le ola o Tapuna ona o le alofa o Folasa ia Tuimanu'a.
Ona maua ai lea o le faaumi'ina o le igoa o Folasa ia Folasa'aitu or Folasai'ite. E faapea foi la le taofi e le'i matai lenei tagata ae o le mamana ma le poto e lauga sa le manaomia ai se matai 'aua ua sili atu lona mana ma lona iloa i seisi lava matai. O ia o se Aumaga paia.
Faalupega la nei o Folasa;
Falelima - Maliu mai le fofoga o papa i lau fetalaiga Folasa
Fitiuta - Mamalu mai le Folasa ma le aumaga paia.
Taisamasama o le Tuimanu'a: There is a legend about a taupou named Sina who was bathing at night and was using sweet fragrances called 'lega' made from 'lagaali, moli, mosooi moemoe's etc.' To 'sama' you rub the 'lega' all over the body, and when you sama, your body shines a glowing golden yellow. That is why the ancient Samoan marriges where called 'Tausamaaga'- the boy and girl both sama with the lega. Sina was bathing at night and sama herself, and then the moon came out and she was shame because she was naked and she dove into the sea and the sea became yellow because of the sama. It is called the Taisamasama of the TUIMANU'A. And that is why the moon is called Ma-sina.
However Samoa has many versions of their stories and so we present another version.
E mua ona ou asu vai malu i tou finagalo ae se'i ou toe faaopopo teisi i le taisamasama, e tumau pea lo'u talitonu i le mau ua ou folasia ia Sina na mafua mai ai le Taisamasama ma maua mai ai le igoa o le masina (moon). Ae iai se tasi taofi. E faapea...ae le'i taunuu Malietoa i Manua ua uma ona faatonuina e Tuimanua ana ilamutu or tulafale a pati le alofi o ia e muamua inu ae mulimuli Malietoa, ae sa faatonuina foi e Malietoa ana tulafale a alaga le tufa ava ona faaali lea o latou koi. Sa faapea ona iloa atu e le Ilamutu a Tuimanua koi i le taimi na alaga ai le ava ma ua oso ai lona fefe ona ava mua lea o Malietoa ae mulimuli Tuimanua, ona le malie ai le o Tuimanua ma sasaa lana ipu i le sami ma liu samasama ai le sami.
Polynesian Alias are built to modern specifications
View into the cargo area
Rangi will sail to Tahiti by the end of the month and will probably stay there until spring 2014. Then she will continue west through the islands as a demonstration vessel. This week coming we will start the proper sea trials before getting her ready for the real ocean voyaging.
All pictures © Pacific Voyagers
- See more at: http://pacificvoyagers.org/blessing-and-naming-ceremony-for-new-vaka-motu-rangi?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=blessing-and-naming-ceremony-for-new-vaka-motu-rangi#sthash.28Yj41xP.dpuf
into the deckhouse with its new and great read-out system length is 15 meters (50 feet), it has a 5.9 meters (20 feet) beam and is powered by two 10 kW electric engines with eight 230W solar panels and two 15 kWh 48V Lithium Polymer batteries. Its sail area is 615 sqft. (58m2). Rangi is the current peak of all our experiences with the canoes, in regard to sailing as well as solar electrification. It doesn’t use any fossil energy, fosters cultural revival and provides educational opportunities and community empowerment. Paulmann,
New Zealand Navigator Te Aturangi Nepia-Clamp, traditional navigator and ship (waka) builder Hector Busby (a.o. Vaka Te Aurere) and Hoturoa Kerr (Vaka Haunui) (from left)
The Vaka Motu “Rangi” – as our first Vaka Motu “Okeanos” – is designed for inter-island cargo and passenger transportation as well as fishery operations. However, it has an updated solar drive system with inboard motors. The cargo holds have new big loading hatches and the rig is improved to a modern synthetic easy maintenance rig. The boat has capacity for 4 crew members and 8 passengers as well as 3 tons of cargo. was initially named the Navigators Islands by Europeans who were amazed at their ability to sail out into the Ocean miles from land and seemingly find their way back without modern instruments. When Captain Cook first sailed into the Pacific he and other European explorers were in awe of the Polynesian Ocean Canoes or Alias and their ability to maneuver with greater precision, ease and speed than their lumbering European Ocean vessels.
One of the casualties of the intrusion of European influence was the loss of our Seafaring technology and skills. For some reason we decided to adopt the Europeans ocean traveling vessels and forsake our own. It was a sad time when we lost most of our ancient Samoan knowledge of how to navigate using the ancient techniques of using the stars and the waves to locate land in less than a hundred years
Recently there has been a resurgence in the Polynesian Seafaring societies. The fleet of Vakas that sailed from New Zealand to California in 2012 was a reconfirmation of the Polynesian spirit and ability to make such extensive voyages using our Polynesian vessels. However there was a slight modification to the designs of these newer Vakas or Alias as we knew them. The modern versions have modern technology and equipment making these vessels self powered and connected to the internet. The new Alias are a thing of beauty.
On November 6, 2013 Pacific Voyagers’ second Vaka Motu was blessed and named in a ceremony at “Salthouse Boatbuilders” in Greenhithe, New Zealand. The ceremony took place on a clear day and in a small circle of friends and people involved in Pacific Voyagers’ Vaka Motu project. The boat’s name “Rangi” means “sky” or “the heavens” as well as “carrying inner wealth” and being noble.
Le Malae to go to germany to cover the Alex leapai fight
Le Malae has been approved to be media for Samoa at the World Heavyweight Title Fight between Alex "Lionheart" Leapai and Wladimir Klitschko. Our Brisbane team of Helen Lauaki and Uo Alaalatoa Brown are representing Le Malae and will provide coverage from Germany. We anticipate they will be providing all the photos and live reports on the various events surrounding and leading up to the fight as it develops.
We will be providing written reports, photos, radio and TV reports from the fight, the weigh-in and other events at the fight. We will also provide a report on the country of Germany. This is the country that was once a colonial power over Samoa and there are many part German descendants in Samoa.
There are sponsorship packages available for any companies interested in being promoted during this historic event. Contact us and we will provide you with the information.
We congratulate the Brisbane team for being aggressive in pursuing this story of this historic event for Samoans. We all give our best wishes to Alex and his team as they pursue this amazing chance to become the world heavyweight champion of the world. Ia tafe toto ou ala Alex.
Samoa dengue scare prompts advisory in American Samoa
The American Samoa Department of Health has issued an advisory for travellers heading to Samoa following a confirmed case of dengue fever reported there.
The Samoa Ministry of Health reported on the weekend that one case has been found there - a man who believes he was infected while in Fiji.
Samoa's Chief Executive Officer of Health, Leausa Dr Take Naseri, says health personnel must be vigilant, because there have been several outbreaks in Pacific Island countries recently.
Our correspondent, Monica Miller, says there is a concern dengue fever could spread through the eight flights a day between the two Samoas.
"Because one man in Samoa was found to have dengue, and this person believes he contracted the disease in Fiji, the health authorities in American Samoa have issued an alert, warning travellers to Samoa to be aware that there's dengue in Samoa, and they need to protect themselves."
Monica Miller says health inspectors at the airport and port are also on high alert and will report any traveler coming from Samoa who may exhibit symptoms of dengue, to be tested.
American Samoa's private sector unhappy with minimum wage hikes
The private sector in American Samoa has maintained its opposition to future mandated minimum wage hikes, but some in the business community say the government has also failed to foster new economic development for the territory.
This is according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) "draft" report on the impact on minimum wage on American Samoa and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
The final report will be released in April this year to the U.S. Congress.
The report says that 20 business representatives who met with GAO officials last November were opposed to additional minimum wage increases.
They also stated that previous wage hikes had been harmful to the local economy.
The report also says business representatives expressed frustration with American Samoa's lack of success in attracting alternative businesses to the territory.
Business representatives complained that the government had not fostered economic development and that its tax policies had created a poor business environment.
Meanwhile, the report cited cannery workers saying that they opposed further wage hikes which would result in lost jobs or a complete closure of StarKist Samoa cannery.
Alarming increase in new clients facing felony charges
Over zealous criminal lawyers at AG's office may offer clue
By Fili Sagapolutele
There has been an “alarming increase” in the number of new clients facing felony crimes in the last two years represented by the Office of the Public Defender and therefore an additional Assistant Public Defender will be needed to handle the case load heading into the new fiscal year 2015.
This is according to the PD’s Office fiscal year 2014 first quarter performance report, which also states that the office is conducting legal research on sentencing alternatives for military veterans who find themselves in trouble with the law.
The PD’s Office provides legal representation to indigent adults and juveniles who have been arrested for, or charged with committing crimes, be they felonies, misdemeanors, and includes crimes involving immigration law, traffic violations, or civil commitment hearings for the ill and disabled as well as other matters as appointed by the High Court and District Court.
According to the first quarter report — Oct. 1 - Dec. 31, 2013 — submitted by Public Defender Douglas Fiaui, there has been a “sharp uptick” in the number of felony cases filed by the Attorney General’s Office and thus the PD’s Office has “seen an alarming increase in the number of new clients facing charges.”
For example, in calendar year 2012, there were 156 defendants charged in felony cases filed in the High Court, but in calendar year 2013, there were 228 cases — which represents a 46% increase in the number of clients represented by the PD’s Office charged with felonies.
“This increase seems not to indicate a 46% spike in felonious crime for calendar year 2013, as a number of the felony cases filed are from incidents which occurred in the past years, many having already been peaceably resolved between the victims and offenders,” the report states.
“...but it appears, perhaps, to be attributed to either the over zealousness of staff attorneys in the criminal divisions of the Attorney General’s Office or simply an increase in the number of attorneys handling felony cases,” it says.
The report went on to explain that generally, felony cases are more complicated than misdemeanor cases and require more time and resources to investigate and defend and that each felony attorney in the PD’s Office carries 65-75 cases per year.
Further, the additional 72 cases for 2013 have been “very burdensome” and have pushed assistant public defenders felony case loads up to over 100 cases per attorney. Therefore, an additional assistant public defender position may be necessary to shoulder the increased case load in fiscal year 2015 — which begins Oct. 1, 2014.
The report also says that coordination with other departments and agencies of government for services to their clients "is also a standing problem.”
In the FY 2014 first quarter, the PD’s Office took on 449 criminal cases — which included all adult felons, misdemeanors and immigration law violations; 192 traffic cases; 174 juvenile cases; and 19 civil commitment cases.
The report revealed that the PD’s office has contracted with two recent university graduates locally, to do legal research on the topic of special state courts and sentencing alternatives for military veterans, who return from service and find themselves in trouble with the law.
The research resulted in the first draft of a bill based on the Minnesota Model for veterans court and sentencing, it says.
While consultation with the AG’s Office and further revision will be necessary before this bill is submitted for the governor’s review and submission to the Fono, “a solid research-based groundwork has been laid and it is hoped that a final bill will be ready for submission in July” when the Fono convenes for the 4th regular session, the report says.
The Minnesota Veterans Court was implemented in 2010, with the mission to promote public safety and assist and support veterans and their families by creating a coordinated response through collaboration with the veteran’s service delivery system, community-based services, and the criminal justice system, according to the state’s court website.
Eligible offenses committed by veterans that can be heard in Veterans Court include misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor and felony offenses, except mandatory and presumptive prison commitments, it says.
REVIEW OF CASE FILES
The PD’s office has also hired a new paralegal under the Governor’s Apprenticeship Program, to compile data from client files to identify the ages, nationalities, charges and subsequent convictions of office clients.
Once the work is completed, it is anticipated that this data will ultimately assist in tailoring useful legislation which will propose alternative sentencing methods for youthful and first time offenders and foreign nationals.
“The data will also definitively identify what kinds of crimes have been most prevalent over the last five years,” the report says, and noted that this may also lead to the PD’s Office to target certain legal issues and areas of criminal law for training and capacity building.
It may also assist in proposing legislative changes or policy changes to how and when prosecutions are initiated by the AG’s Office.
Contraceptive availability made universal to women in Samoa.
APIA, Samoa ---- The government must ensure in Samoa that people have unfettered access to contraceptives as this is one of their intrinsic rights.
That’s the opinion of the Representative and Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Pacific Sub-Regional Office, Dr. Laurent Zessler.
During an exclusive interview with the Weekend Observer in Apia last week, he said it is one of his organisation’s goals to ensure that contraceptives are available to women everywhere.
“What I would like to emphasise, and please understand us, is that it is a right for a woman to have access to contraceptives,” he said.
“It is an intrinsic right that she, that a woman can decide when she wants to be pregnant and to be able to decide that with her partner or husband.
“For their maternal rights the state has a responsibility to ensure that this right is secure.”
Dr. Zessler made these comments in relation to one of the core issues the UNFPA was addressing at present – Reproductive Health Commodity Security (RHCS).
According to the Fund’s website, Global Program for RHCS is a agenda launched by the UNFPA in 2007 to address the urgent and ongoing need for a reliable supply of contraceptives, condoms, medicines and equipment.
“The Global Programme is already yielding measurable results through a framework for assisting countries in planning for their own needs, with a focus on commodities as well as capacity development to strengthen health systems,” the UNFPA reads.
“In 2010, funding for the Global Program for RHCS reached nearly $100 million.” Dr. Zessler said this is incredibly important for women in the Pacific. “What we are saying and are promoting is that women in the Pacific should be pregnant by choice not by chance,” he said.
“Commodities should be available throughout the Pacific Island Countries for women to decide when they want to be pregnant, for the couple to decide when they want to have a child.
“That the chance factor is not what happens.”
He said this is why the UNFPA has to ensure there are enough contraceptives available for the population. “(That) they are distributed adequately through the health system – through the public system and through the private system as well,” he said.
“So under RHCS we want to make sure that the proper number, the proper quantity, the proper stocks are present in the country to answer to the need of the women.
“So this is why we use the word security, we want to make sure that all of them are present in the country.”
In regards to supplying the contraceptives to the countries, Dr. Zessler said his fund has the unique advantage of having a central purchasing system based in Copenhagen, Denmark.
“So we contact all the manufacturers, the pharmaceutical companies and we negotiate the price,” he said.
“We have the lowest price according to an established list of contraceptives that are safe and authorised according to the World Health Organisation, we purchase them (as a) bulk purchase in a very large quantity.
“After that we deliver them to the countries that we are working with.
“The advantage of the central purchasing is to have the better price, safe products and quality control.
“Of course countries can venture in buying on their own from the international market, but it is not as safe as we think our system is.”
He said the UNFPA’s distribution of contraceptives to the participating nations was free.
“It is part of our financial support and financial contribution yes,” he said. “It is free of charge, yes.
“And this is a very important aspect for women in Pacific Island Countries to have the access to good quality products that are secure and answer to their need.”
Samoa is one of the participating nations of the GPRHCS, and Dr Zessler said this was one of the reasons for his visit.
“What I came to see and to verify and to make sure that the Ministry of Health give us on a routine basis is the quantities (of contraceptives) that you have and the monthly usage so that we can adequately reorder the next batch,” he said. “It is a technical issue but it is associated with political will, because we need to receive the update in the order to have the proper quantity available in the country.
“What we don’t want is a shortage that is what we fear – that is why we are working very hard on that.” Dr. Zessler said that another goal of the UNFPA is to inform women, the health services and the communities at large that if a woman can select and choose the moment she wants to become pregnant, when the couple wants to become pregnant, this is a better approach than an approach, which is based on chance.
“So basically we work with different communities, the official sector and we also work with some religious groups and churches,” he said.
“But as you know access to contraception is sometimes an issue for certain groups.
“Now of course that there is religious beliefs that people have the right to consider but that is the decision of the couple, that is the decision of the individual that is what we feel.”
He said overall the UNFPA had seen a lot of positive development related to family planning globally in many countries.
American Samoa governor recovering at hospital
By Associated Press
PAGO PAGO, American Samoa » American Samoa's governor is recovering at a Washington, D.C. hospital after being admitted last week for an unknown illness.
Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga is visiting the nation's capital for a National Governors Association conference and other meetings.
But Lt. Gov. Lemanu Peleti Mauga told reporters in Pago Pago Tuesday the governor felt body pain last Friday and was admitted to George Washington University Hospital for observation.
Mauga says Moliga is "recovering very well" and talking to senior aides. Mauga declined to provide any specifics about Moliga's illness.
Mauga says that the governor plans to return to the territory on Monday. But he says Moliga will stay in Washington longer if more tests are needed.
The 64-year-old was elected to his first four-year-term as governor in 2012.
Apia Export Fish Packers Managing Director John Luff is calling on government to take action at a regional level to stop foreign vessels “plundering” Pacific fish stocks.
Like the rest of the region, Samoa fish stocks are collapsing because of the introduction of “hundreds” of new fishing vessels to the region, said Mr. Luff.
The increase in vessel numbers is huge and a “grave concern.” So many new vessels are fishing across the Pacific that prices are actually dropping from oversupply at the same time as foreign companies are overfishing, he said.
This is killing domestic fishing fleets. That in turn hurts local economies, with Mr. Luff stating that his company alone contributes some $6 million tala, including $2.1 million in staff pay. He was responding to questions from Samoa Observer about the background reasons for shutting his company down “temporarily”.
“Our company would normally weather this storm and continue operating through this period, albeit unprofitably, this year due to much lower than normal catch rates we are forced like many others to discontinue.”
Domestic catch rates have dropped because so much tuna and other migratory species are being caught outside Exclusive Economic Zones (E.E.Z.) in international waters, he said.
“Without doubt, the greatest player in the decline of domestic catch rates both in Samoa and around the region is the introduction of many hundreds of Foreign Licensed Fishing Vessels into the central South Pacific. And, he adds, “many hundreds is not an exaggeration.”
Mr. Luff again accused China of being a leading threat to the security of fish stocks in the Pacific Ocean.
He referred to “the long term negative impact foreign license fishing vessels (F.L.F.V.) will and are having to the region’s domestic fisheries.
“These vessels are mostly heavily subsidized Chinese.” State subsidies of their own fishing fleet meant that Chinese fishing boats were paying half the fuel prices of boats in Samoa.
“The impact of a large and increasing number of F.L.F.V. in and around our region is of grave concern.
“Because of the highly migratory nature off all tuna particularly Albacore, large concentrated numbers of vessels engaged in fishing, what is essentially the same stock, although they may be several hundred miles away, have the same long term effect as if they were fishing, for instance, in Samoa’s E.E.Z. “Over the past several months all of Samoa’s domestic fishing vessels and those from around our region have experience a continual decline in catch rates and vessel profitability.
“This has now reached a level whereby it is uneconomic to continue fishing. Our company along with many others have taken the unprecedented step of temporarily tying up all of our local vessels.”
In pointing at China, Mr. Luff drew back from public statements last year accusing the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries of negotiating access to Samoa waters for Chinese fishing vessels.
“After past meetings with our Fisheries Division we can be well satisfied that they had no knowledge nor would [they] support any such introduction of any foreign license vessel into Samoa’s E.E.Z. “I must add, we are most fortunate that Samoa’s Fisheries Division has well thought out and effective polices in place to ensure the long term viability of our extremely valuable fish stocks. “It is a sad indictment that many of our neighbours do not have this same resolve.”
Across the region, news reports show that some fishing agreements have been decided at the ministerial level, against ministry and other expert advice. Mr. Luff warned against anything similar happening here, at the same time calling for Samoa to take action at the regional level. “Several months ago I made a public comment relating to the possible introduction of Chinese fishing vessels into Samoa’s EEZ, at the time this comment was made there were very good grounds for such a conclusion to be drawn.
“I note you have used extracts from these comments and from those extracts readers might imply our Fisheries Division was involved with such discussions. “I can advise with certainty that this was not the case.” Like others around the region, Mr. Luff is now focused on the impacts from foreign vessels fishing in international borders.
His concerns echoes those expressed in ongoing media reports about Chinese, Spanish, Taiwanese and Korean fishing boats clustering at the very edges of Exclusive Economic Zones and hauling in huge catches. Former Samoa-based reporter Michael Field headlined one story “Satellites spot Pacific fishing horror”, reporting “shock” at the scale of fishing going on outside New Zealand and other Pacific waters.
One “super” factory ship featuring in recent news is a former oil tanker converted in 2008 at the cost of US$100 million that can take on 1,500 tons of fish each day, with a total capacity of 49,367 gross tons – the world’s largest.
In 2012, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists released a major report – ahead of its more recent offshore expose – uncovering what it said was a 90 per cent drop in one fish species, Jack mackerel, from what scientists estimate was a 30 million ton stock to just 3 million tons.
The South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation is one group attempting to gain agreement on fishing limits. So far, however, only two Pacific Island countries – the Cook Islands and Vanuatu – have signed on with regional and international partners, Australia, Belize, Chile, China, Cuba, the European Union, Denmark, Korea, New Zealand, Russia, and Taipei.
Only six countries have ratified the agreement. Other fishing agreements have similarly mixed success, with some island states breaking treaties to sign deals with foreign fishers. Meantime, large fleets with huge ships are stripping fish stocks faster than is sustainable, critics allege. Mr. Luff is one of those critics, saying the foreign ships are having an impact on Samoa and other fisheries.
“The last 12 months have seen a substantial drop in the cannery price for Albacore.
“Albacore represents a very large volume of Samoa’s total fish exports.
“This drop has been largely brought about by the oversupply to the canneries from distant water fleets operating in and around the region’s economic zones,” he said.
“This influx is continuing at an accelerated rate.” As well as killing fishery stocks, the subsidised fleets are killing domestic fishing companies.
“It is most difficult for local domestic fleets to compete under these conditions,” said Mr. Luff.
“The operators of these vessels are showing no consideration for the long term health of South Pacific tuna stocks nor that of local domestic fisheries. At a recent high level meeting, Mr. Luff claimed that the Chinese delegation stated they would begin talks on conservation measures when they have another 200 vessels in the fishery. “It has been stated they intend to achieve this by 2015. It is the belief of all involved in the catching sector of the industries from around the region that if this expansion is not halted and reversed domestic fleets will over time become uneconomic and ultimately cease to exist.”
Mr. Luff said that regional governments need to follow Samoa’s example and restrict access to local companies, banning foreign fishers, known in the industry as Distant Water Fishing Vessels (D.W.F.V.). “There are domestic fleets from all around the region tied up not operating due to economics, yet we are surrounded by hundreds of D.W.F.V. who are continuing to fish.
“There is something very seriously wrong with this picture,” he said. “Our fish stocks are not an infinite resource, if we allow them to be “sold off” or stand back and watch with arms folded while they are plundered, when they are gone, at worst, they are gone forever, at best , will require generations to recover. “I find it very difficult to understand why the threat to our fish stocks has not commanded much greater attention from those that have the ability to intervene, aggressively if necessary.
“If they are to survive in anything like a healthy state it will take considerable and collective political will from all governments and industry leaders to quickly find a solution to this very real threat to both South Pacific fish stocks and local domestic fisheries.”
Action taken now could still avert the collapse of fish stocks, and the domestic fishing fleets. “In short, if all F.L.F.V. were removed from the South Pacific there is little doubt domestic fisheries would recover almost overnight.”
Mr. Luff acknowledges that there are seasonal cycles, as well as decadal cycles to fish stocks. There is a well documented but not fully understood several year cyclic pattern to the South Pacific Albacore Tuna stock, the last being a low experienced in 2004 – 2005, said Mr. Luff. “It is probable we are now in a similar low but fortunately, if we follow past statistics, about to come out the other side.”
“There is also a very seasonal cycle that effects our fisheries.” During the months of January through to April, often referred to as the “low season”, catch rates are traditionally very low, particularly in February, he said. However these cycles are being disrupted by overfishing. Allowing this to continue will hurt the economy, he said.
“It is not generally realized the economic benefits that the regions (including Samoa) domestic fleets have on local economies, our company alone and we are small compared to many, injects on average over $6 m Tala into the local economy per year, $2.1 m of this being local wages and salaries.”
Rosie Tago Lancaster announces Candidacy for U.S, congressional delegate race
Today, Rosie Fuala’au Tago Lancaster announces her candidacy to become the next Congressional delegate from American Samoa. She previously appeared on the 2008 and 2012 ballots.
Lancaster, who has served at the American Samoa Community College for the past seventeen years as Registrar, Faculty member, and Veterans Affairs/Student Employment Coordinator, and is herself, a retired military veteran with twenty-three years of active duty service in the US Army. Lancaster strongly believes that the territory’s Congressional delegate must possess a vision for the future.
“We need leaders with vision,” said Lancaster, “and I would like to offer my vision to the people of American Samoa.” “First, my vision starts with the belief that while we must honor the past, we must also build for the future. As we journey into that future, it is clear that our greatest asset is our people, and we must take better care of our people, especially our children, to ensure that we reach our full potential. I envision all children in American Samoa receiving a high quality education.
I envision everyone in American Samoa that wants a job being able to get a job, one that pays them a fair wage and enables them to maintain a decent standard of living.
l envision a healthy people who have access to affordable, quality medical care.
I envision our veterans receiving the full benefits that they earned through their service to, and sacrifice for our country.
I envision that immigrants who come to our shores to work are treated with respect and dignity, as it is their hard work that allows our economy to prosper.
Lancaster believes that despite its geographical isolation, American Samoa has great potential, and that the key to the future of the territory is to develop that potential to the greatest extent possible.
Lancaster’s campaign platform addresses five key issues, all of which are interconnected:
1. Healthcare – build a new hospital, establish district and village clinics, fight Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs).
2. Education – hold ASDOE fully accountable for meeting the educational needs of the territory and its students.
3. Economy – continue to develop traditional economic sectors (e.g., fisheries, tuna canneries, agriculture, and tourism) and at the same time, explore, search for new development possibilities; develop the local workforce to better meet modern needs; address issues such as minimum wage, tax system, etc., that will lead to greater economic growth.
4. Immigration – improve the immigration system of American Samoa to ensure that the immigration system is administered fairly and impartially.
5. Veterans – improve healthcare services that veterans receive, add or build a VA wing to the new hospital.
“While we need to honor our past and maintain our cultural heritage,” says Lancaster, “at the same time we need to move forward. And in order to move forward we need to address local issues and problems with an eye towards the future. We need a fresh approach to solving our problems, an approach that is proactive and embraces change, rather than a reactionary one that merely attempts to keep the current status quo in place.”
Lancaster believes that while American Samoa can and must address these issues on its own, the territory can also benefit greatly from federal assistance in these areas. “I not only understand the issues and what is at stake for our own future and that of our children,” says Lancaster, “drawing from my professional background, I can also get the federal help that will allow us to solve our own problems without outside interference.”
“And that is why I am running for Congress.”Lancaster’s campaign slogan is: “For a rosier future, vote for Rosie F. Tago Lancaster for U.S. Congress in 2014”.
Lancaster can be contacted at 684-258-0909. She invites anyone who is interested in talking with her about the issues and/or helping her campaign to call her at that number and/or stop by her campaign headquarters, which are located in Asofitu, Nu’uuli.
Source: campaign media release
New investment needed in Samoa: Chamber OF COmmerce
The Chamber of Commerce believes that Samoa needs large foreign investments and job creation right now in order to sustain private sector growth and development.
However, the Chamber’s Chief Executive Officer (C.E.O), Ane Moananu, recognizes that the government has an important role in facilitating these new investment opportunities, both local and in conjunction with overseas, ensuring that they are consistent with Samoa’s development priorities and laws. This is in light of recent comments made in Samoa Observer’s editions on Tuesday 11 and Friday 14 on issues relating to Samoa’s foreign investment regime.
In 2011, the Chamber had raised similar concerns, particularly on the gradual increase of foreign retail businesses, a sector where typically Samoans would be investing in.
Last Tuesday, the C.E.O of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labour (M.C.I.L), Auelua Samuelu Enari, confirmed that the Ministry had taken action to address the growing number of complaints against foreign-owned retail businesses breaking the law.
While the Ministry’s monitoring and enforcement role seems to be at an all-time high, the Chamber’s C.E.O believes there is still a bit of work that needs to be done to enforce Samoa’s foreign investment regime. “We applaud the Government and their efforts in facilitating and monitoring new investments,” says Mrs. Moananu.
“However I believe there is a need to clarify and promote the role of the Foreign Investment Advisory Committee, to try and improve the quality of screening of new foreign investment proposals.”
The Chamber as a member of the Advisory Committee supports a transparent regime and policy that include minimum requirements for bringing foreign capital to Samoa, employing Samoan workers and demonstrating how the investment meets Samoa’s development priorities.
“We recognize the need for the Government to review the relationship between the foreign investment and immigration regimes and ensure that thorough character and background checks are undertaken before foreign investment approval and immigration clearance is granted.”
The Chamber C.E.O added that the private sector would welcome an investigation of why Samoa outranks other Pacific nations such as Vanuatu, Fiji and P.N.G in the World Bank’s Doing Business indicators, but those countries still seem to be able to attract more foreign investment and tourism development.
The outcome of such a study would help inform Samoa’s foreign investment policy.
hearing begins For Samoa's MPs caught Driving Drunk
The hearing into justice and traffic charges against Deputy Prime Minister Fonotoe Nuafesili Pierre Lauofo and Associate Minister Muagututagata Peter Ah Him started in the District Court yesterday morning.
The charges are in relation to an incident that allegedly occurred on 4 October 2013 across the road from NPF Plaza, Savalalo. Presiding over the matter is District Court Judge Vaepule Alo Vaemoa Va’ai.
Defence counsels are; Patrick Fepuleai for Muagututagata Peter Ah Him, 57, of Leifiifi and Donald Kerslake for Fonotoe, 50, of Vaoala. Prosecution were Rexona Titi and Brigitta Lo Tam-Fa’afiti.
The Deputy Prime Minister pleaded not guilty to the charge of inciting or encouraging the obstruction of a Police officer from executing his/her duties. Muagututagata also pleaded not guilty to two charges; making an illegal U-turn and the other for wilfully obstructing a Police officer from executing his/her duty.
Senior Constable Maanaima Patu who has served for 16 years as a Police officer for the Ministry of Police and Prisons gave evidence in relation to the charges.
The court heard that his matai title is Leuluaiali’i and that he currently resides at Sapunaoa, Falealili. He told the court he currently works in the Traffic Division of Police, and that his connection in relation to the matter is that he was one of the five officers on patrol of the night of the incident.
Prior to the incident involving the two Members of Parliament he was part of a Police road block at Vaimoso. However, after heavy rain they were called back to the office by Inspector Keti Toleafoa.
On arrival the rest of the officers that were on duty that evening were sent home due to Inspector Toleafoa’s concerns for their safety. Five were selected to continue the evening patrol with Constable Patu.
The other four were Corporal Mose Lotomau, Constable Michael Vala, Constable Ioapo Isitolo and Constable Tevita Vii. Around 10pm that night they started their evening patrol driving from their office to Mulinu’u and back. That was when the alleged incident involving Fonotoe and Muagututagata occurred. Driving past the flea market at Savalalo, around 10:30 pm they noticed a green Toyota Hilux license plate MCIL 07 making a U-turn in front of the NPF Plaza.
They sounded their siren and flickered their lights and the driver stopped his car in front of the Development Bank of Samoa (D.B.S.) – facing the Returned Services Association bar. Constable Patu said prior to sounding their siren he was aware that the vehicle was driven by Muagututataga.
Constables Ioapo and Tevita then approached the vehicle. From where he sat inside the Police vehicle, just behind Muagututagata’s car, he could see Constable Ioapo administering the breathalyzer. Senior Constable Patu was sitting in the front seat of the Police vehicle. He saw the constable administer the breathalyser three times on the Associate minister.
This was disputed by defence lawyer Mr. Kerslake. He told the constable that this was not possible since Muagututagata’s vehicle was about a whole car’s length away. But the Senior constable was sure that he clearly saw what was happening, that the officers were conducting the breathalyser test from the side of the driver’s door.
And it was clear how many times the test was given because he could see the device being moved in and out of the vehicle. Mr. Kerslake questioned how it was possible for the senior constable to see how the other constable was administering the breathalyser when there was a whole car space in front of the Police vehicle and that it was dark that night.
In response, the senior constable said “the street lights were on”. He also told the court he could clearly see the breathalyser being administered.
“Can you see through the window?”, Mr .Kerslake asked the senior constable. “No, I can’t see through but I can clearly see the Police officer standing outside the front door of the vehicle administering the test.”
Mr. Kerslake continued to throw questions at the senior constable. At one time Judge Va’ai had to interrupt since Fonotoe kept telling his lawyer what to do, leaning close to the witness box, located right next to the lawyer’s bench.
“Kerslake, if he wants to defend himself, then he can do that, but that is what instructions are for,” Judge Vaai told Mr. Kerslake.
Continuing his evidence, Patu said he then noticed a vehicle with the license plate SSS01 pass by. Not long after, it turned back and stopped next to the vehicle of Muagututagata.
“When that happened I knew what would happen,” the senior constable told the court. Senior constable Patu said he jumped out of the Police vehicle and approached the group outside. “Just when I arrived there, Fonotoe asked the officers ‘what they were doing’.”
He formally informed Fonotoe that they were checking on the Associate Minster’s alcohol volume. To which Fonotoe said “if it is justice you are after go and get the Associate Commissioner from Leon’s, we were drinking together”. But the senior constable told Fonotoe that this was not possible since “Talaimanu didn’t come in his vehicle, he was at the bar drinking”.
The events that followed included evidence from the senior constable stating that Fonotoe told them to stop what they were doing. At the same time calling out to the Associate Minister three times to drive off. Muagututatagata’s vehicle then drove off, soon followed by the Deputy Prime Minister’s. “He looked angry and unhappy regarding the duties we were carrying out,” said senior constable Patu. “These were indicated by his facial expressions.”
The senior constable also identified Muagututagata and Fonotoe in court yesterday. Defence lawyer for Muagututagata, Mr. Fepulea’i questioned the senior constable’s evidence. He asked whether the senior constable remembered that, in a statement by one of the constables that night, they were parking in front of the Agriculture store when his client allegedly made the U-turn. But senior constable Patu defended his statements saying if that is Tevita’s statement, then, that is his.
“I cannot answer for someone else’s statement - what I am saying is what I know.” Mr. Fepulea’i also questioned whether the senior constable remembered that they had stopped to tell a taxi driver not to make an illegal U-turn before the incident involving Muagutuatagata. But Patu did not answer the question.
“That is Tevita’s evidence,” he said. Mr. Fepulea’i also questioned the constable why constables Tevita and Ioapu had gone to administer the breathalyser test on his client and not anyone else. Senior constable Patu told the court that, in regards to this particular test, any of them could do it. Mr. Kerslake also questioned the Senior constable regarding how true his evidence in court was.
“What would you say if I said you didn’t hear this question by Fonotoe?” asked Mr. Kerslake.
“I heard it clearly – I just arrived there and that is when he questioned what they were doing,” said the senior constable. Mr. Kerslake continued to insist that the officer had not been present. He was asked what he would say to claims from Fonotoe that he didn’t ask any question. “Perhaps - but that is my evidence – I heard him ask this question.” Patu said he was not the only one answering a question from Fonotoe.
“I also answered to him as well – if Ioapo answered to it so did I,” he said. “Leave Ioapo’s statement but discuss mine – I can’t answer another officer’s statements. I am answering from my statement,” he said.
The senior constable told the court that he was between Muagututagata and Fontoe’s cars. Mr. Kerslake also claimed that the senior constable had gone around the vehicle saying out loudly – “let justice be done”. But senior constable Patu disputed this claim as well.
“I don’t know why he said what he did but I feel that it was so that we would stop conducting our duties as Police. “He thought that by saying the name of the Assistant Police commissioner we would stop doing Police duties out of fear.” He was asked by Mr. Kerslake if he was indeed made afraid by this alleged statement from Fonotoe.
“No,” said the senior constable. Mr. Kerslake also questioned him regarding whether he remembered that he had made an oath on the Bible. The senior constable responded that he knew that he had made an oath on the bible, that what he was doing was just.
The defence counsel also disputed the officer’s claims that Fonotoe was not there at the time the first, second or third breathalyser tests were administered.
“That’s the truth, he was not there,” said the officer.
“Do you often do what’s right? said Mr. Kerslake.
“Yes,” said the senior constable. A recent investigation involving the constable was brought up in court. He was questioned what this was for
. The senior constable told the court the investigation was in relation to his leaking confidential Police information to the media, even though the Ministry has policies in place that disallows Police officers from giving any information to the media. Mr. Kerslake asked him why he did it if there were Police policies in place that disallowed such actions.
“I thought it should be done so that justice is done,” Patu told the court. He told the court that obstruction of justice has happened too often. But wasn’t an investigation underway then? asked Mr. Kerslake. Patu did not respond. Under prosecution re-examination, Patu confirmed that this was not the last time they saw the minister’s cars that night.
Later on, the cars were seen parked down at the Marina at Matautu-tai. Several other prosecution witnesses also gave evidence; Constable Ioapo Isitolo, Inspector Keti Toleafoa and forensics officer Toa Tafunai. The hearing continues in the District Court.
PAGO PAGO, Commercial fishery businesses in American Samoa affected by the 2009 tsunami are set to receive assistance through United States Congress funding.
The US Fisheries Services has announced 75 million US dollars will be allocated to six fisheries across the United States that were declared fishery disasters by the Department of Commerce.
The executive assistant to the American Samoa Governor, Iulogologo Joseph Pereira, says US$1 million is being allocated to the territory, mostly for those affected by the 2009 tsunami.
He says the territory's Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources will be the most likely agency to administer and distribute the funds, in consultation with the Western Central Pacific Fisheries Management Council.
Samoa opposition calls on ruling party to solve rift
The oppposition Tautua Samoa party has called for the ruling HRPP to overcome the rifts within its ranks.
The dissent stems from a group within the HRPP which has demanded the sacking or resignation of the finance minister, Faumuina Tiatia Liuga.
The opposition leader, Palusalue Faapo II, has told reporters the division is neither good for the government nor the country as it prepares to host the Small Island Developing States Conference in September.
He says the prime minister, Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, left last week to attend the launch of the year of the SIDS at the UN headquarters in New York.
The opposition leader says they want a stable government and not party politics.
The prime minister is due to return at the weekend.
Tafuna Industrial Park controversy is growing.
By Fili Sagapolutele
Tenants at the Daniel Inouye Industrial Park, better known as the Tafuna Industrial Park, have raised with the Commerce Department the issue of the government owing them money. These tenants say that they have been unable to collect these funds, according to DOC’s FY 2014 first quarter performance report covering Oct. 1- Dec. 31, 2013.
Over the years park tenants, as well as other businesses, have complained to lawmakers the government has come after them for rent while ASG has yet to pay their outstanding debts. Tenants and non-tenants alike have tried to offset what ASG owes them by foregoing payments due to the government, but that has not come to any successful conclusion.
In the first quarter report, DOC says it brings to “light problems and issues” tenants have experienced in the past with payments owed to them by ASG, with most of these payments still unpaid.
“Several tenants have provided documentation verifying ASG owing them huge sums of money and these same tenants have obligated their companies to sign over these monies towards payment for their arrears and it’s an option that has proven to be suitable for both ASG and our industrial park tenants with this particular circumstance,” the report says.
Additionally, a coordinated effort has provided the means to discuss outstanding arrears with tenants and to come to a mutual understanding and agreement as to how they will address their financial obligations.
With regard to new leases, the report says that toward the end of 2013, new leases with GHC Reid Inc., were finalized for their water plant manufacturing and distribution center.
A new recycling plant for plastics and aluminum for the company will also be operated out of three lots, the report says, adding that it will also be used for vehicle and container storage both of which will be monitored by the Project Notification & Review System (PNRS) and other agencies.
“This undertaking will allow GHC Reid to occupy lots that have been unoccupied for many years,” it says.
DOC went on to say it anticipates drafting several other leases for new tenants once approved by the governor and proposed activities vary from auto services to heavy duty recycling, an important service to the community.
“The importance of the increase in new tenants moves the American Samoa Government towards one of its important goals for the industrial park, and that is full occupancy which in turn generates more revenue for our local government,” DOC said.
The report further reveals that the lack of security, especially over the weekend, has been a longstanding problem, and the park land has been used as a dumping ground for solid waste and other debris.
To alleviate this problem, DOC “proposes and recommends” the need for full scale monitoring by a local security agency after hours and especially on weekends. In addition, it recommends allowing industrial park staff a 24-hour pass for its truck to be able to patrol after hours and on weekends.
“The immediate response to the security issue, until DOC is able to hire a security company, is to provide this service and we will be able to secure the industrial park after working hours and on weekends,” it says.
Many tenants of the industrial park have also complained about the lack of security of the park after hours and have voiced these same concerns over the years with the government. The lack of security has resulted in many tenants hiring their own security officers.
The report also revealed that DOC recently completed the construction of a security chain-link fence about 100 feet long to secure its own office at the industrial park as a preventive measure from several attempted break-ins that have occurred in the past, one of which was successful.
DOC has an office building at the industrial park and the report says the director plans to use this facility as a ‘satellite’ office that will provide all the services now offered at the A.P. Lutali Executive Office Building in Utulei to residents living in the Western District.
Samoa's opposition to work with break away HRPP MPs
The opposition Tautua Party in Samoa says it has been in touch with MPs breaking away from the ruling Human Rights Protection Party to discuss ways they can work together.
It's understood three MPs have so far broken away from HRPP to form a new political party.
This follows calls from within the HRPP for the resignation of the Finance Minister, Faumuina Tiatia Liuga, over allegations of abuse of power and mismanagement.
The leader of the Tautua party, Palusalue Faapo II, says the HRPP has been in power for a long time and it's difficult for any opposition to win against them.
He says Tautua has been in touch with the break away MPs to discuss how they can support each other in the future.
"If a new party is being formed it will be a great assistance with our role and the opposition in trying to win government in the next general election. We will be focussing on working together with them to have a stronger opposition and preparing ourselves to be the next government."
Palusalue Faapo II says they won't join together as one party, but could look at working together as coalition parties.
American Samoa passes step towards greater independence
The American Samoa Senate has approved a measure giving the Fono the authority to override the Governor's veto.
The Attorney General Talauega Eleasalo Ale says the Lolo Administration supports the proposal, which gives the territory more self-governance.
The measure will require a change to the local Constitution, and so voters as well as the United States Congress will have to approve it.
The measure will now go to the local House for consideration.
Talauega told senators it's an important piece of legislation, which gives American Samoa a level of independence.
Currently, the US Interior Secretary has the authority to over-ride the governor's vote.
Talauega says that it's the governor's belief that any differences between the legislature and the governor should be resolved locally and not by bureaucrats in Washington DC.
Samoa’s fish quantity at lowest in five years
Monitoring from Samoa’s Fisheries Division has confirmed that the volume of fish caught in its waters during this time of the year has dropped tremendously, the lowest experienced in five years.
It could explain the impact it’s now having on several local fishing companies.
Apia Fisheries Export is closed down for a month. No concrete information had been given as to the reason behind its closure but many larger shipping vessels have reportedly experienced slow catches this time of the year.
It is the norm some fishing boat operators say but this year’s volume saw a 59% decrease compared to January 2013. This should be a major concern to bigger boat owners.
There was even speculation that Chinese vessels could be fishing the country’s ocean and this has much to do with the drop in volume. However, the fisheries division says there are no Chinese fishing vessels fishing in Samoa’s EEZ. The fisheries division had not licensed any Chinese fishing vessel or any other foreign fishing vessel to fish in Samoa’s EEZ.
The fisheries division went onto say that it is normal to experience a drop in the number of fish found in Samoa’s ocean this time of the year when the country’s in the ‘wet season’.
It is also the season of low tuna catches due to the change in weather patterns and circulations in the Pacific. Over the years, the division says, there had been an obvious pattern of tuna catches in Samoa’s waters, the first and fourth quarters of the lunar year, that’s from January to March and October and December, these are months where tuna catches are low.
However the second and third quarters, from April to June then from July to September, those are times for high catches with June the peak month experiencing the highest catches of tuna.
For the smaller fishing boats, they tend to experience much better luck than the bigger vessels, because when it’s low season, they can switch from long line fishing which catches tuna to bottom fishing and trolling – methods targeting deep water fishing and skipjacks to make up for the loss of tuna and when it’s high season they return to long line methods.
Some of the bigger boat operators say they would probably spend this time of the year just fixing the vessels to wait out the low season.
Biogas generation systems for rural Samoa
The Samoan government says it is developing bio-gas generation systems which will use green waste to provide power in rural areas around the country.
It has received 300,000 US dollars from the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environmental Programme, or SPREP, to do so.
The assistant CEO for energy at the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Sala Sagato Tuifiso, says biogas generation systems are more cost effective than other renewable energy sources.
"The cost of producing one kilowatt of bio-gas is as low as US$3, but for solar and wind, US$10 a kilowatt. The plan is to look at using green waste available - grass, banana leaves, taro leaves."
Sala Sagato Tuifiso says biogas generation systems will also eventually be set up in non-agricultural areas.
He says Samoa aims to reduce its import of fossil fuels by 10 percent by 2016.
US$1m for renewable energy in Samoa, Cook Islands and Kiribati
The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environmental Programme, or SPREP, has allocated one million US dollars to Samoa, the Cook Islands and Kiribati to help fund renewable energy activities.
Its PIGGAREP, or Pacific Islands Greenhouse Gas Abatement through Renewable Energy Project, promotes energy efficiency.
The project manager, Sili'a Kilepoa Ualesi, says almost half of the allocation will go towards a solar power generation system on the remote island of Palmerston in the Cook Islands.
She says 250,000 US dollars will be used to install a biofuel mill on Abemama Island in Kiribati, and another 300,000 US dollars will go towards a biogas generation system in agricultural areas in Samoa.
"All of these countries, they have renewable energy targets and they want to pursue on whatever priority renewable energy source that they have confirmed to be visible for their countries."
Sili'a Kilepoa Ualesi says other countries that have received funding in the past include Tonga, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Palau.
Nominated bank president rejected by American Samoa senate
The nomination of Ruth Matagi-Fa'atili to the post of president of the government-owned Development Bank of American Samoa has been rejected.
Nine senators voted in her favour and five against, but she required at least ten votes in the secret ballot for her position to be approved.
Under local law, only the Senate can review and vote on the nomination of the bank's president.
The governor now has the choice of renominating Ms Matagi-Fa'atili to the post in the next Fono sitting in July or make a new appointment for submission to the current session.
The post has been vacant since Lolo Moliga stepped down in early 2012 before his successful election as Governor of American Samoa.
Jail sentence for producing fake American Samoa ID cards
An American Samoan immigration officer, Polone Savea, has been sentenced to one year in jail and fined 3,000 US dollars for creating fake Immigration ID cards for several Chinese women.
The 50-year-old employee created the fake ID cards using old ID numbers from closed immigration files.
The ID cards appeared genuine as they bore the ASG seal and the signature of the attorney general at the time.
Savea was sentenced to 28 months in jail as a condition of his seven-year probation, but consistent with similar cases in the past, the court ordered that all but 12 months will be stayed.
Samoa donates $50,000 pa’anga, Nauru donates $25,000 for Tonga cyclone relief
APIA, Samoa ----- Samoan Cabinet endorsed financial assistance of $50,000.00 Pa’anga for the Kingdom of Tonga to help with relief and recovery efforts after Cyclone Ian hit the Tongan group earlier this month.
This amount equates to over $60,000.00 Samoan Tala.
One person died and many casualties were reported as a result of the cyclone. Many homes and farms were damaged, and water supplies were affected, especially in the island of Ha’apai.
A Cabinet release said the he assistance highlights close relations between the Governments of Samoa and Tonga. Samoa also received assistance from the Kingdom of Tonga after Cyclone Evan in 2012....PACNEWS
Meanwhile, Nauru has donated AUD$25,000 toward recovery efforts in Ha‘apai following the devastation caused by Tropical Cyclone Ian on 11 January.
The Government of Nauru has transmitted the donation directly to the Relief Account of the Government of Tonga administered by the Ministry of Finance and National Planning.
Tonga’s High Commissioner to Australia Princess Latufuipeka Tuku‘aho on 24 January accepted a diplomatic note from the President of the Republic of Nauru Hon Baron Divavesi Waqa MP, formalising the donation from the Government and people of Nauru towards the recovery efforts. President Waqa conveyed his sympathy and support to the king and country.
Princess Latufuipeka received two Government Ministers from the Republic of Nauru David Adeang (MP) the Minister for Finance and Charmaine Scotty (MP) Minister for Education at the Tonga High Commission office in Canberra, and thanked Nauru for their assistance and friendship.
Theft charges in Samoa Airport Authority case
A former accounts officer for the Samoa Airport Authority is standing trial on 70 charges of theft as a public servant involving 26,000 US dollars of airport taxes and car park fees.
Lee Apineru had left the country for New Zealand two years ago after an audit investigation found misappropriation of funds in the Authority's operation.
An internal audit investigation found money from landing fees, airport taxes, vehicle parking fees and the use of the airport's facilities were misappropriated.
The auditor who conducted the investigation told the court Mr Apineru left Samoa after he was questioned over the missing funds.
The defendant is charged as a co-defendant after the court in 2012 had found another former employee - the Financial Controller, Muli'agatele Rapi Tevaga - guilty of thirty counts of theft involving 15,000 US dollars of the Authority's money.
Election law changes proposed for American Samoa
PAGOPAGO, American Samoa --- The Election Office in American Samoa is drafting a new law which would give the governor the power to call off an election in a natural disaster.
No such laws exist at the moment on the territory's statute books.
The proposal gives the power of postponement and the adoption of a contingency plan in case of a natural disaster.
It is among three proposed legislative changes in the Election Office's quarterly report.
The office also proposes amending the law to decide a tied vote by lot under the supervision of the Chief Electoral Officer.
Another amendment proposed allows for a two week preparation period for a run-off race after the seven day contested period post election.
Current law calls for the run-off race to be held 14 days after the general election, and does not take into consideration the 7 day contested period.
American Samoa community policing program to help fill gaps
A community policing program being introduced in American Samoa, may also help fill the gaps in areas where the traditional village system does not exist.
The American Samoa Department of Public Safety is starting the program to help prevent and solve crimes in the territory, which will be first rolled out in Tuala-uta and Nu'uuli.
For every one police officer in American Samoa, there are 1,440 citizens
Our correspondent, Monica Miller, says there aren't enough police officers to carry out the work of policing for the entire territory.
She says the idea is that by involving community members, they will have a sense of ownership to help each other out, similar to the way traditional policing is done in the villages.
"Tuala-uta area is an area where it's not a traditional village, it's made up of individually owned land so you have a cross-section of people living in this area and they don't have the type of village structure or hierarchy that you would in the more traditional villages, and this is the area according to the police records where most of the crimes are committed."
Our American Samoa correspondent, Monica Miller.
Samoa to assess waste management systems before SIDS conference
The Samoan government is looking at ways to handle the waste expected from a major United Nations conference in Apia this year.
More than three thousand 3000 delegates are expected to attend the Small Island Developing States Conference in September which will focus on challenges being faced in the three SIDS regions, including the Pacific.
The assistant chief executive for environment at the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Faleafaga Toni Tipamaa, says it needs to work out how it can deal with all the waste that will be generated.
He told Mary Baines that, to do so, the ministry will do a waste management audit of 45 accommodation providers and conference centres over two days this week.
FALEAFAGA TONI TIPAMAA: What we are looking at is to gauge the amount of waste generated within the hotels and all the other areas including the venues, and that should give us some indication of how much we should be preparing for, and at the same is to be able to come up with the best way of dealing with this issue.
MARY BAINES: So what will this audit involve? You'll look at the waste management systems that these conference centres and hotels already have in place and you'll tell them how to implement better ones?
FTT: Yeah, yeah. We feel that it's important that also the hotels could give us an indication, and assist with this. It's important that we should all understand what waste's generated and also know where it's being taken to. And for us to know by the time SIDS happening we should really understand how much is going to be generated. We have a landfill, we also are looking at other facilities that would be able to provide good management of this issue.
MB: It seems like a really big job, to do this in two days. Do you think you'll be able to get it done?
FTT: Well yeah, we are hoping with eight teams that we've put together we should be able to do the work in two days. It's not an easy work to do, especially when you've got to travel around the island visiting all the hotels and accommodation premises. But we've got a plan set up. The Ministry of Natural Resources is specifically allocated, looking after the waste for the conference. So we have been closely also working with the Samoa Ports Authority, because there will be a cruise ship at port. So all that is being taken care of.
MB: And do you think waste management is an issue usually in Samoa, or do you feel that it's well looked after, and just now that so many people will be coming in it becomes an issue?
FTT: You know, the government has actually been looking at all the different areas that can provide integration of different programmes. We have been very focussed on the "three R" programme - re-use, reduce and recycle. We are now taking it further, to look at segregation of waste and source. Because at the moment everything is being collected and taken up to the landfill and it's being segregated out there. It is very important that island communities should be able to take good care of managing waste. I think Samoa is moving ahead with its programme, we hope to be seen as a pilot island country.
Central Bank of Samoa tightens controls on foreign payments
APIA, Samoa --- Dividends, land sale income, insurance payments, management fees and airline ticket payments over $1 million tala (US$425,800) are all to come under new exchange controls from next month.
On Friday, the Central Bank of Samoa released a statement signed by Governor Maiava Atalina Ainu’u-Enari, covering the different areas.
“After consultations with commercial banks and money transfer operators, the Central Bank of Samoa wishes to inform the public that, effective from 3rd March 2014, the prevailing exchange control requirements have been revised as follows; “Insurance Payments - All Insurance Payments to be referred to Central Bank of Samoa for prior approval; “Management Fees - All payments relating to Management fees are to be referred to Central Bank of Samoa for prior approval; “Airline Ticket Sales - Payments for Airline Ticket Sales in excess of SAT1.0million is to be referred to C.B.S. for approval.”
But the new controls are not just in those three highlighted areas. All capital payments must also be referred to CBS for prior approval, said the bank. These foreign exchange payments include “dividends, funds for investments overseas, proceeds from sale of property, overseas borrowings, overseas loan repayments, etc.”
The statement did not explain the reasons for the changes. In a separate “Exchange Control Booklet”, the bank said that, “The Central Bank of Samoa has progressively relaxed its exchange control policy over the years since the liberalization of the financial system in January 1998.
“However, the Central Bank regularly reviews its exchange control policy guidelines from time to time, based on the prevailing financial and liquidity conditions in the domestic economy.”
These “liquidity” concerns may refer to a tightening money supply situation although this could not be confirmed, with the latest available statistics dating back to February 2012.
On another website page relating to changes in exchange control, the bank refers to “economic stability.”
“In administering the Exchange Control Regulations 1999, the Central Bank ensures that the country’s foreign exchange reserves are maintained at a sustainable level which is conducive to the country’s financial and economic stability.”
Latest available figures, for March 2013, show that commercial bank loans to the private sector were at their highest ever levels, at $722 million tala (US$307 million). This compares with the earliest figures under the same document, of $488 million tala (US$208 million) in loans in 2006.
The documents do not disclose public debts. But overseas financial institutions like the World Bank have recently expressed concerns about high levels of national debt.
This background may explain the tightening exchange control requirements. Special exemptions to these requirements may be granted by the Central Bank on a case by case basis, C.B.S. said on Friday.
Applications submitted to the Central Bank of Samoa with relevant documentations generally take up to 3 days to process.
“This processing time can be shortened when verification and supporting documents are intact.”
Authorised banks and money transfer operators have been delegated authority to make payments for all other overseas commitments, following relaxation of Exchange Control policy requirements since 2000.
“The general public is reminded to cooperate and ensure that proper supporting documentations are made available to the commercial banks and money transfer operators when processing overseas payments.
“Approval of overseas payments may not be granted unless appropriate requested documents are sighted.”
As well, “all exporters are also reminded to provide relevant documentations and complete your export forms (Form E) at the Central Bank, before proceeding to Customs department.”
Customers are advised to contact the bank for further clarification and assistance on any foreign exchange control matters.
Samoa Government gets $40m for water From Japan
Japan has granted the government of Samoa US$18 million (T$40million) for a “safe and stable water supply for residents of urban villages.”
The money was granted during a signing ceremony between the two governments in Apia, yesterday.
The Minister of Wor k s , Transport and Infrastructure, Manu’alesagalala Enokati Posala, represented Samoa while the Ambassador of Japan to Samoa, Kazumasa Shibuta, signed on behalf of Japan.
At the heart of the signing are two Japan-funded projects that will be implemented by Samoa Water Authority (S.W.A.) and Japan’s International Cooperation Agency (J.I.C.A.) this year.
One is funded under Japan’s Grant Assistance scheme, the other under Japan’s Technical Cooperation scheme.
The aim of both projects is to enhance the technical capacities of local engineers and improve the quality of water supplied from newly constructed water treatment plants in urban Apia and the existing Alaoa Treatment Plant.
Called the Urban Untreated Water Supply From front page Possible cyclone to be named Kofi Schemes Rehabilitation Project, the project has a five-year timeframe.
Ambassador Shibuta says Japan is committed to assisting Samoa in various areas as far as development is concerned.
Samoa identified “safe water supply” as a priority target in its national development plan, the Samoa Development Strategy (S.D.S) 2012 – 2016.
“The Government of Japan is pleased to support the implementation of these projects because they will provide improved water quality to a large number of people living around the Central Business District of Apia,” said Ambassador Shibuta.
“Water is essential to life so it is important that projects like this are implemented to provide necessary measures to ensure that limited water resources are properly managed and maintained.”
In addition, this project will provide upgrades for water intake facilities, transmission pipelines, distribution pipelines and the installation of water meters.
Biological water purification systems which have proven to be a huge success in Japan for supplying safe and stable water will also be applied to selected local water treatment plants.
This cost saving system is a disaster resilient structure which utilizes gravity to purify water without using electricity.
The record of discussion for the second project funded under Japan’s Technical Cooperation was also signed by Acting General Manager of S.W.A, Tauiliili Ekiumeni Fauolo, and Chief Representative of the J.I.C.A Fiji Office, Shumon Yoshiara.
The technical cooperation project will also be implemented over the next five years and will greatly improve water supply sourced from the Alaoa supply zone which caters to about 45,000 people living in and around Apia.
Currently, a significant amount of water leakages occur at Alaoa mainly due to old pipelines and inappropriate water pressure. J.I.C.A experts will provide technical training for local engineers to enhance their capacity to detect and repair leakages and to improve water distribution management.
Both projects will be administered by the Samoa Water Authority with assistance from J.I.C.A.
US could welcome a move to make American Samoa more independent
A journalist in American Samoa says the United States government wants the territory to be more independent.
The US Congress may get to vote on a bill which would give the Fono the authority to override the governor's veto.
Since it would require changing the territory's constitution, there would also need to be a public vote.
A Radio New Zealand International correspondent, Fili Sagapolutele, says the public may be leery about such a change, but the US could welcome it.
"It's something that the US Department of Interior has raised over the years, that they'd like to see the territories be able to maintain a lot of control within their borders. I'm sure they're going to be able to approve whatever comes out of American Samoa if the voters approve it."
Fili Sagapolutele says voters may not want to give new powers to the unelected Senate.
American Samoa Senators concerned there are too many "governors" making decisions
By Fili Sagapolutele
Some senators have called on the Attorney General’s Office to assist government offices and departments in providing legal advice and opinion to ensure laws of the territory are followed, instead of department heads doing their own interpretation, which — according to some senators — means there are too many governors in the government giving orders.
The verbal request was made directly to Attorney General Talauega Eleasalo Ale when he appeared last Friday before the Senate Rules Committee on a hearing pertaining to a Senate measure.
During the hearing, Sen. Galeai Tu’ufuli requested the new attorney general to spend additional time with senators as there were some issues he wanted Talauega to be aware of due to Senate concerns over recent developments.
Galeai said the newspaper — referring to Samoa News — reported last Thursday about the Treasury Department’s Customs Office imposing a hike in the excise tax on vehicles, and the following day, the newspaper reported the increase had been rescinded.
The senator said the word used was “misunderstanding”, but the AG’s office should have been consulted first for a legal opinion. He asked Talauega to provide assistance to ASG departments in order to ensure that everyone follows the law. He says this will prevent public confusion and problems that don’t need to happen in the first place.
Sen. Soliai Tuipine Fuimaono agreed, saying that what’s been appearing in the newspaper lately with comments from heads of departments, is conflicting at times. He said these comments and directives show there are “too many governors” giving orders, yet there is only one governor.
Soliai recommend that Talauega not shy away from giving a legal interpretation of the law to government entities, adding that _the Attorney General is responsible for the entire government and if the government is affected, it’s the AG who protects the government and the people.
He says if the AG doesn’t do his legal duty, the Senate will summon him to be questioned.
Sen. Magalei Logovi’i requested the AG look at a new issue that has surfaced recently in the Senate where farmers are now required to have business licenses. He believes farmers are exempt from paying taxes and therefore are not required to have business licenses.
He said this issue has surfaced from the Agriculture Department.
At last Wednesday’s Senate session, Sen. Faletagoai I. Tuiolemotu noted that he was very concerned with the latest requirement by government for farmers to have business licenses. He noted farmers depend on their plantations to help their families and some of them are low income families — and now the government wants to take away money by requiring a business license and permits.
Agriculture Department director Lealao M. Purcell told Samoa News last Friday that the requirement for a business license is only for farmers who well their produce to the Department of Education’s federally funded school lunch program, as this is a federal regulation.
During the Senate committee hearing, Magalei said he agreed with Soliai’s statements that there are now too many governors in the government.
Sen. Alo Fa’auuga said he counted at least five governors based on what’s been reported by the newspaper recently; and said everyone must follow the law or there won’t be a good government for the territory.
Magalei added that any legal opinion issued by the Attorney General is considered the only valid and important one. However, he says that a legal opinion last year issued by then Attorney General Afoa L.S. Lutu, who is now senator, was not honored and this is not the right thing to do for any ASG department or agency.
“When the Attorney General issues a legal opinion, that is the law, unless it’s changed by an executive order, or the law is changed by the Fono,” Magalei said, but didn’t provide details of which legal opinion he was referencing.
(Afoa issued a legal opinion that waives the excise tax on fish caught by local longliners in American Samoa’ Exclusive Economic Zone, but it was ignored at the time by the Treasury Department.)
At the end of the hearing, Talauega thanked senators for relaying their concerns and their recommendations. He said it’s important for the government to work together for the benefit of the entire territory and urged the Senate to call on him if assistance is needed in any matter that will help the government.
American Samoa assures China on human rights issues
The American Samoa governor Lolo Moliga has given assurances to China's consul general in Los Angeles, Liu Jian, that the human rights of Chinese citizens in American Samoa will be protected.
At a meeting the governor addressed a variety of matters, including recent social issues involving Chinese citizens in American Samoa.
Recently the immigration office has found several Chinese working on farms or in stores were overstayers and some have been sent home.
Earlier this week he launched an amnesty initiative and says this provides the opportunity for all foreigners living in American Samoa without proper immigration documents to register and become legal so they can remain in the territory.
Confusion reigns over alleged ASTCA CEO firing
Chairman of the American Samoa TeleCommunications Authority board, Roy JD Hall Jr. says Moefauo William (Bill) Emmsley is still the ASTCA CEO and he has not been terminated, and he explained a meeting held by the ASTCA board last Friday was not an official meeting, as there was no notice for that meeting, in which the vote to terminate the CEO was carried.
Samoa News reported on Saturday that two board members told Samoa News late Friday that it was during a “special meeting” held last Friday at the Governor’s Office conference room, a motion to terminate the CEO was carried with a vote of four “yeas” and three “nays”.
The ASTCA board chair said that “no written notice for the meeting on Friday was sent out to the Board Members” —meaning the vote is not official according to ASCTA board By-laws.
“My statement for the press is that CEO Bill Emmsley was the CEO on Friday and is [still] the CEO for ASTCA. Any special meeting for board action under ASTCA By-Laws requires that a 4-day written notice be provided to every board member for a special meeting, and an agenda must be prepared and attached to the notice.”
Hall pointed out, “There was no notice for the special board meeting held on Friday, Feb. 14, but a meeting was held by the board to discuss recommendations made by the governor concerning extending the CEO’s contract and to work harmoniously together to establish policies to further the interests of ASTCA for the people of American Samoa.”
Regarding board members who spoke to Samoa News, he stated that “any board member that is prepared to share information should be responsible and be accountable for their statements to the press.” He further stated it’s the policy of ASTCA's board that any board member can make a statement to the press as long as they exercise discernment, good judgment and take responsibility for the statement.
Samoa News also reported in its Saturday story that the board was then asked by Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga to give Moefauo another chance, given that all Cabinet members are given two years to prove themselves in their post, and the governor’s request came after the board meeting, according to board members.
However, Hall stated the Governor's recommendation to extend the ASTCA CEO's contract for two years, was to make it consistent with all other government directors who serve two-year contracts. Further, he stated that this recommendation was made at a meeting with the governor before the reported board meeting and not afterward, as Samoa News reported.
Samoa News met up with Moefauo on Friday evening, and when asked about the termination vote, he told Samoa News that he heard he had been terminated, but he was not informed officially of any decision by the ASTCA Board. He further stated that he is puzzled as to why the board members voted to terminate him, as they have not once cited or reproached him in any way.
Samoa News was informed a “letter of termination” to Moefauo, as a result of Friday’s special meeting— which the ASTCA board chairman says is not legal according to ASTCA by laws— will be delivered, today. Samoa News understands the letter will be signed by three of ASTCA’s board members.
Meanwhile Hall informed Samoa News Sunday evening that there is strong opposition to his application of the by-laws from three board members and a duly noticed meeting is set for this coming Wednesday to address the differences.
American Samoa students to pay damages of stoned school bus
Nineteen of the 21 high school students who played a role in the stoning of a school bus last year in American Samoa have been ordered to pay the costs of the repairs to the damage.
The bus was transporting Tafuna High School students after a volleyball game at Fagaitua when it was stoned with rocks in front of an automotive shop in Aua.
The students, from Aua, Utusia and Fagaitua High Schools, pleaded guilty to crimes that if they were adults would constitute unlawful assembly and public peace disturbance.
The stoning of the school bus last year resulted in the cancelation of school sports competitions, the changing of future sporting games, and a community meeting with school, government and traditional officials on ways to end violence in school sports.
As a condition of their 24 months probation, the students are to between them pay restitution to the Department Of Education to repair the damage caused to the bus, which is estimated at close to $7,000.
Two remaining students are due to to appear for sentencing later this month.
Samoa labour ministry allays fears of foreigners taking local jobs
The Samoa ministry of labour has allayed fears about foreigners taking jobs from locals, saying the sector is monitored closely.
The CEO of the ministry, Auelua Samuelu Enari, says foreigners are not allowed to enter into work on the reserve list, which includes retail, public transport, car rental and Samoan artwork markets.
Auelua says the ministry shut down a supermarket last year that was operated by non-citizens.
He also says naturalised citizens should not be employing non-citizens in their shops, and he will continue to monitor them.
"We continue to monitor that, and with the assistance of the immigration and the ministry for revenue also, we can manage the trade style, because when work permits are issued it's a specific sector that work permits are issued to."
The CEO of the Samoa Ministry of Labour Auelua Samuelu Enari.
Family of Kiwi killed in Samoa plans to sue. Wednesday February 05, 2014 Source: ONE News / Fairfax
The family of a New Zealander killed in a Samoan prison is preparing to sue, after a judge ruled the man accused of the murder was not guilty.
Aucklander Hans Dalton, 28, was found upside down in a water barrel in his cell in Samoa's Tafaigata Prison. His death was initially ruled as a suicide, but police later charged another prisoner with his murder.
Jonathan Patrick Crichton, who is serving a life sentence for a murder committed in 2012, was yesterday was found not guilty of Mr Dalton's murder by Justice Lesa Rapi Va'ai.
The judge overruled a guilty verdict by four assessors.
Mr Dalton's family say they never believed Crichton had killed Mr Dalton.
"After listening and being in court the last one to two weeks, and hearing the chain of evidence, we feel [the judge] has made the right decision for Hans' sake and Jonathan's sake," Mr Dalton's sister Natasha says.
After the verdict Crichton hugged Mr Dalton's mother Christine Wilson and his brother and nephew from Auckland.
"Thank God it has ended and I feel strengthened by the court's decision," Crichton said.
'We want justice'
But the family says they won't rest until someone is held responsible for Mr Dalton's murder.
"We really just want those people responsible for it to pay for it and we want justice to be brought to our family," says Tayla-Dawn Dalton, Mr Dalton's cousin.
Mr Dalton, who was mentally ill, had not committed a crime, but was put in prison on Christmas Day 2012 after losing his medication and becoming violent.
Police and other authorities failed in their duty of care, the family says, and they're preparing to sue.
"People need to be held accountable for actions that took place during those few days," says Natasha.
The family's lawyer, Olinda Woodroff says the case is in the millions.
"But the fact of the matter is no figure can bring a person back."
At the trial the prosecution said Crichton became angry at Dalton's swearing, calling out, punching the door and wall all night.
Crichton entered Dalton's room by unlocking a padlock and drowned him in a 44-gallon drum half-filled with water inside the room, it was claimed. The water was used to flush the toilet.
Crichton allegedly admitted his action in a statement to police, but that was later contested during the trial.
Police Inspector Samuelu Afamasaga read out part of Crichton's police statement: "I pushed Hans to the wall, grabbed his feet and pushed him head first into the gallon of water."
He then went back to his cell.
"I got scared by what I did so I went back, looked at his legs then called out to the people on duty that a man had killed himself," the statement said.
Crichton said Afamasaga had threatened him over the statement, saying: "I believed Hans had committed suicide."
The Attorney General's office says it can't say whether there will be an appeal until that happens.
Justice Lesa will give formal reasons on Friday for why he overruled the assessors' verdict.
Air service for American Samoa's Ofu faces another delay
The commercial air service for Ofu in American Samoa is not set to start for another month at the earliest.
Manu'a Air, which is to provide flights using the government aircraft Segaula must first get the aircraft certified for commercial service.
Barney Sene, the vice President of Inter Island Airways which will operate the new airline says a team from the US Federal Aviation Administration team is to inspect the aircraft in the first week of March.
He says its been difficult trying to schedule the FAA inspection team to come to the territory.
Initially, the airline was to inaugurate service in December and the airline later announced that the start up date would be February lst, 20l4.
The airline is planned to provide daily flights between Tutuila and Ofu and Ofu and Ta'u.
Samoa's PM will not sack Finance Minister Faumuina
Samoa's Prime Minister, Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, has dismissed suggestions by some of his party MPs to remove the minister of finance following the latest revelations in the chief auditor's report.
The report revealed in parliament mismanagement and abuse of power in the administration of the Samoa Land Corporation.
The Finance Minister, Faumuina Tiatia Liuga, was closely involved with the corporation during a previous HRPP government.
But Tuila'epa says it's not a new issue because the caucus already decided through a vote that Faumuina would continue as Minister of Finance.
He also pointed out that only three MPs had voted against Faumuina as the Finance Minister.
The caucus vote, carried out last year, was done following allegations of overspending by Faumuina in the construction of his new ministerial office.
Tuilaepa says it's not appropriate running of a government by sacking ministers who make mistakes, adding he is aware of others who have also made mistakes.
Push for American Samoa to be the tuna 'hub' of the Pacific
Tri Marine International says it wants American Samoa to be the tuna hub of the Pacific.
The company, which is building a new cannery in Pago Pago, believes that smaller island countries should be delivering their catches to the local canneries rather than trying to build their own fish processing facilities.
The Chief Operating Officer, Joe Hamby, says the local canneries need security of fish supplies and neighbouring island countries can provide that.
He says beacuse American Samoa's exclusive economic zone is small, there's a lot of tuna caught around the country and bringing it to Pago Pago will help small island countries and give markets confidence the tuna is packed well.
"So there has to be a cooperation, a common goal, of bringing the fish to American Samoa from the surrounding areas. Places where they don't have infrastructure, they don't have the population or the water to support a large-scale tuna processing facility like the one we're operating here."
Velega tells governor Moliga he is resigning from LBJ board
Outspoken Hospital Board member Velega Savali has resigned as a member of the Hospital Board as of last Friday in a meeting with Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga.
Velega confirmed with Samoa News he has stepped down, because it is his passion to overturn the problems at the hospital, but that is not being met. He says his current position as a board member does not allow him to make decisions which he feels would better the hospital.
Samoa News yesterday received phone calls from members of the public appealing to Velega to remain on the hospital board, as they believe he can solve the numerous issues at the hospital, given his expertise and his leadership skills.
“In order for problems to be fixed at the hospital, we must go to the core of the problem and from there is where we start to remedy the ongoing predicaments at the hospital,” he told Samoa News, but he did not elaborate.
Velega said he asked the question to board members as to why, to date, there have been five CEO’s at the hospital, compared to other Semi Autonomy agencies like ASPA and ASTCA, where there have only been a couple. “This tells us there is something wrong, and something must be done about it,” he stated.
Velega did echo concerns raised by the Governor about the current hospital CEO, Joseph Davis Fleming, who is reportedly always traveling off island and hiring employees with high salaries.
“Also, mandates by the Governor have not been met, mandates which would benefit our people, like the off island referral program, the reduction of the current $20 fee to $10 to see a physician, and the recommendation to establish one fee structure for all residents of American Samoa, regardless of immigration status,” he added.
“Unless management is changed, then the new deliverables won’t be implemented,” said Velega.
Another issue which Velega pointed out is that when the CEO is off island, the Chief Medical Officer is in charge. “Key word is Medical Officer — how can the Chief Medical Officer run the hospital? They were hired to treat patients, yet they are doing something totally out of their field.”
Velega told Samoa News that unless they change how things operate in the hospital there will be no “real changes, which would benefit our people, who are suffering the most.”
Last month Velega told Samoa News that he was moving to have the hospital CEO, Joseph Davis Fleming, removed from his position, because he ‘failed to do his job’ as CEO. Emails to the Administration and chairman of the hospital board seeking comment were not returned as of press time.
Samoa News understands members of the public have been seeking assistance directly from the Governor and Lt Governor to help them with airfare and referral to a hospital off-island.
Last week, the Governor’s Executive Assistant Iulogologo Joseph Pereira told Samoa News that a 75-year-old woman visited the Governor and Lt. Governor, seeking such assistance, due to her heart condition. He said the hospital did not give any kind of assistance to the elderly woman.
“No assistance was given to her with regards to setting up an appointment with one of the medical institutions in Hawai’i … she was expected to do this on her own.”
Iulogologo noted, “It is rather sad that this elderly lady is further placed under unnecessary stress given her heart problems, because we lacked the basic human compassion to provide basic services to our people given that fact that the off-island referral program has been suspended for years.”
ASDOE recruiting for teachers in Samoa
Representatives of the American Samoa government are in the country for a recruitment drive.
They are looking for up to thirty teachers from Samoa to take back to the territory to improve their dwindling stock of teachers.
Fa’aui fono Vai tautolu, the Deputy Director for the Department of Education in American Samoa, told the Samoa Observer yesterday that the drive is not new.
“Recruiting teachers from Samoa is not a new thing,” she said. “Every year there is a shortage of teachers in American Samoa because they would either resign, retire or transfer to other countries.”
According to Fa’auifono, American Samoa lacks qualified teachers for basic subjects such as English, Maths and Science.
The territory also needs teachers for vocational subjects such as Carpentry, Plumbing, Electricial and Mechanical engineering.
“These are the areas we are seeking teachers for and we’re hoping to find them here in Samoa,” Fa’auifono said.
Assistant Director of Secondary Schools in the Department of Education, American Samoa, Samasoni Asaele said the recruitment drive offers good opportunities for teachers in Samoa.
While the officials would not discuss the incentives being offered by the American Samoa government to lure teachers from Samoa across the water, Mr. Asalele said the opportunity is wonderful for teachers who feel that they have something to contribute to the development of American Samoa.
“It’s important that we also find teachers with the Samoan language,” said Mr. Asalele.
Samoa joins United Nations heritage body
APIA, Samoa ---- Samoa has joined the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH).
“Samoa is known for its rich heritage and strong culture built upon the traditional community-based governance,” director of UNESCO Office for the Pacific States Etienne Clement said.
“Samoan culture has provided a foundation for the identity and development of Samoa,” Clement said.
Government has preserved and enhanced Samoa’s treasured heritage, he said.
“Samoa’s culture is living and thriving despite some challenges, including globalisation, commercialistation and natural disasters.”
Clement said he firmly believes culture and development are closely linked. He strongly believes development policies must integrate the cultural dimension.
“It is when integrating this dimension in development policies, (that they) have the best chance to be implemented and owned by the populations of the countries concerned.”
“I hope that some of … Samoa’s unique ICH – whether siva traditional performing arts or ie toga fine mats – will be nominated for inclusion in the ICH Lists of the ICH Convention.”
Samoa became a member through the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture (MESC). One of the core tasks of the Ministry is research, collect and compile all the Samoan legends, Chief Executive Officer Matafeo Falanaipupu Tanielu Aiafi.
MESC has published seven volumes on legends collected from around the country.
“This is important to the development of our country especially the knowledge passed down to the next generation,” said Matafeo.
Samoa companies invest $2 billion tala into China
Chinese companies registered under Samoa’s tax haven status are among those pouring billions back into China.
Roughly US$1 billion in foreign direct investment from Samoa to China is shown on a graph published by an overseas newspaper last week.
This represents around $2 billion tala of funds sent through companies registered here as offshore companies in Samoa.
Overall, “The sums involved are huge,” said Tom Holland, an analyst for the South China Morning Post.
Out of US$118 billion in foreign direct investment in China last year, Holland estimates that some US$50 billion actually came from mainland China companies, hiding money overseas then bringing it back disguised as ‘investment’.
“Taking the money out is just the first step; it's all about sending it back under the guise of foreign investment and enjoying the taxman’s largesse,” he wrote.
One study into tax payments in China showed that local companies paid an average 8 per cent on income while foreign owned companies paid just 3 per cent – less than half as much.
He headlined his piece, “The US$50b a year reason China’s elite love tax havens”, quoting investment figures from CEIC, a Singaporebased data company.
Publication of investment figures by the South China Morning Post came a day after the release of 37,000 new records showing that Samoa is the second biggest tax haven destination for three of Asia’s largest economies.
Release of the leaked records the International Consortium of Investigative Journalism marks a second wave of revelations started by ICIJ in April last year.
Where last year’s exposes focused on relatively minor players, mainly in the west but also the east, last week’s revelations highlighted billions in hidden wealth among top Chinese officials, including the brotherin-law of President Xi Jinping.
Although officially waging a campaign against corruption, officials in China rushed to block websites carrying stories quoting ICIJ, and attacked release of the records as having a “hidden agenda.”
This is despite President Xi promising to target the “tigers” as well as the “flies” of corruption.
“With the heads of many powerful state owned enterprises, titans of private industry — and the president's own brother-inlaw — now revealed to be hiding massive wealth abroad, Xi's anti graft drive faces a make-or-break challenge to its credibility,” commented the Vaughan Winterbottom, writing at the Interpreter column for the Lowy Institute, in Australia.
The importance of Samoa to Asian businesses is shown by the fact that, while British Virgin Islands is the leading offshore finance centre for China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, Samoa is the second largest, all other centres are lumped together under the category of "others".
Unexpectedly, given the close links between Samoa and China, it was Taiwan that emerged with the biggest number of companies registered here – 43% of all registrations in Samoa, from Taiwan, in the database of 2.5 million records.
Taiwan had nearly 13,000 companies registered here, according to ICIJ database figures compiled by the Global Mail, an Australian news site.
Hong Kong was the largest holder of offshore companies, with more than 14,000 companies registered in tax havens – 7 per cent of them here in Samoa.
The same percentage applied to China holdings in tax havens, with 7 per cent of 7,000 companies registered in Samoa.
ICIJ stated that, by some estimates, between $1 trillion and $4 trillion in untraced assets have left the country since 2000.
The growing onshore and offshore wealth of China’s elites “may not be strictly illegal,” but it is often tied to “conflict of interest and covert use of government power,” said Minxin Pei, a political scientist at Claremont McKenna College in California.
“If there is real transparency, then the Chinese people will have a much better idea of how corrupt the system is [and] how much wealth has been amassed by government officials through illegal means.”
Eastern use of offshore finance centres and tax havens is dwarfed by the amounts held in mostly Western countries.
However China has been identified by industry analysts as the biggest source of future growth in the offshore finance industry.
“PricewaterhouseCoopers, UBS and other Western banks and accounting firms play a key role as middlemen in helping Chinese clients set up trusts and companies in the British Virgin Islands, Samoa and other offshore centres usually associated with hidden wealth, the records show,” reported ICIJ.
There was data on 122,000 shell companies and trusts, in connection with which 130,000 names came to light.
“From those names, more than 35,000 were Chinese,” said Christoph Giesen from the German newspaper, Südddeutsche Zeitung, one of the media outlets examining ICIJ China data since last July.
The consortium held back details of the Asian companies until journalists from Beijing, Taipei, New York, Madrid, Washington, Berkeley and Munich had examined documents on 37,000 company office holders.
As well as writing stories, the consortium has also uploaded raw data to its online database for public review.
Stories from ICIJ and its media partners were carried by some 20,000 news outlets globally, according to a story count in Google News.
These latest revelations come as members of the Samoa offshore industry attended a workshop last week in Apia.
The workshop, held by the Samoa International Finance Authority, the country’s official tax haven regulator, was not publicly announced.
In fact, SIFA has not announced anything on its website, ever, with the page for press releases still completely blank.
Since the ICIJ exposes began last year, SIFA has refused to take any public steps in response to the controversy, other than adding a news feed from the BBC to its website.
However the news is general and does not focus specifically on offshore finance.
Minimum wage hikes burdensome on American Samoa
The chair of the American Samoa Chamber of Commerce says mandated wage hikes are turning off potential foreign investors and are a huge burden on the economy.
The governor has asked the Commerce Department to come up with a living wage for local workers and prepare a justification package requesting Congress permanently remove it from the automatic minimum wage hikes.
Lewis Wolman says it's difficult to attract foreign investors because minimum wages are high compared to elsewhere in the region and it creates uncertainty.
Mr Wolman says imposed wage hikes were a major reason that the territory lost one of its two tuna canneries in 2009, and with it 2,000 jobs.
"We have thousands of people working at today's minimum wage and they are not leaving the island which they could, either to return to their homeland if they're from outside of American Samoa, or to emigrate to the United States. So clearly for thousands of workers, working for the minimum wage in American Samoa is better than the alternative."
American Samoa's next minimum wage hike is scheduled for September next year.
American Samoa starts immigration amnesty program
By FILI SAGAPOLUTELE,
January 20, 2014
PAGO PAGO, American Samoa — American Samoa will be granting amnesty to immigrants living in the US territory illegally.
The immigration amnesty program is intended to help provide a more accurate count of the island's population, which showed a 3.1 percent drop during the 2010 U.S. Census, said Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga.
According to census data, the territory's 2010 population was 55,519, a drop of 1,772 from 2000.
The decline will reduce federal funding that the territory is entitled to, Moliga said.
“Strong suspicion exists that our population was undercounted because undocumented immigrants did not register for fear of deportation,” he said. “I believe the potential loss of federal funds attributed to population decline poses a greater risk to the territory than the risk of legalizing the status of those persons who are already here in any event.”
The territory controls its own immigration and customs, instead of the US government. The amnesty will be possible after the territory makes changes to its immigration law that outlines quotas for the number of immigrants who may enter.
Most people living in American Samoa without legal permission are from neighboring Samoa, an independent country with language, cultural and family ties. Others include immigrants from Fiji, Tonga, the Philippines and Korea. Most overstay an entry permit.
After a registration period from Feb. 18 to March 14, those living in American Samoa without legal permission will be given an opportunity to legalize their residency status. Only those who have been in the territory illegally before June 30, 2013, are allowed to register, said Deputy Attorney General Mitzie Jessop. They will need documents including a valid passport, photo ID, a birth certificate and any immigration travel documents.
Felons are not eligible.
Moliga announced the program's launch Thursday night on state-run television. -- Associated Press
Netherlands hands Samoa monetary gift for Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States
APIA, Samoa --- The Ambassador of Netherlands, Arie Cornells Van Der Wiel announced that a gift of €50,000 ($170,000 tala) from the Dutch Government would be given to the Government of Samoa to assist the Government of Samoa in the preparation for the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States that will be held from 1-4 September 2014 in Apia, Samoa.
Van Der Wiel said, “This financial contribution is on top of an amount of €300,000 already made available by my government last year to the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs to help participating SIDS members with their travel and accommodation costs for the conference.”
The Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi met with the Ambassador and expressed his sincere gratitude for the Dutch Government’s continuous generosity and support. He said, “Our two countries share bilateral ties that go back almost 300 years through Jacob Roggeveen, the first Westerner that sighted Samoa”.
The Ambassador stated the financial donation was a reaffirmation of the Dutch Government’s strong commitment to the challenges of the Small Island Developing States. Moreover, it is to show the Dutch Government’s strong solidarity with Samoa’s conference agenda.
“The Netherlands and Samoa will continue to work side by side both at the bilateral as well as the multilateral level in promoting issues that are of equal importance to our two nations, such as renewable energy, human rights, international peace and security and sustainable development”.
Van Der Wiel has been in Samoa for the past three days meeting government officials, parliamentarians and the diplomatic corp.
No Fishy odor expected from new American Samoa cannery
Radio NZ International
The new Samoa Tuna Processors plant at Atu'u in American Samoa will be equipped with filters that should get rid of the fish odour that is synonymous with canneries.
A biofilter is to be installed in the reclaimed area where a dock extension is being built as part of the new development by Tri Marine International.
Its new cannery should be up an running at the beginning of next year.
Tri Marine's chief operating officer, Joe Hamby, says the local plant may be one of the first in the world to have this bio filter.
"All of the fumes from the fish meal plant are going to be going through pipes under the ground in that new area that's been reclaimed, to the biofilter. The fumes will then filter through coconut husks, removing all the odour and then go to the atmosphere from there. So you will not have any smell - there will be no smell from this fish meal plant."
Coral nurseries to help restoration of reefs in American Samoa
Updated at 2:09 pm on 10 February 2014
Dr Shari Shafir, a professor with Israel's Oranim Academic College of Education, developed a special nursery that can float.
And in Leone Dr Shafir is applying an advance method of his invention by changing the depth of the nursery so that villagers do not need to dive to care for the corals.
He hopes the villagers in Leone will take what they have learned to other parts of the territory.
"The people of the village are so engaged in it. I give them lectures about coral biology and how to make nurseries and how to make new coral, but not just talking. More important they are doing it themselves and hopefully there are other places in American Samoa that need this restoration - those people here from the village will be the teachers."
Dr Shari Shafir.
American Samoa is about to Get Fibre Optic cable laid island wide for free.
By Fili Sagapolutele
TeleCommunications Authority’s BLAST project will not only provide faster local internet speed but it will also feature new internet television programming through IPTV, and residents are being encouraged to sign up now as the cable line is being laid underground, beginning in the Bay Area, says ASTCA chief executive officer Moefa’auo Bill Emmsley.
The $91 million BLAST project — Broadband Linking the American Samoa Territory — is funded with $81 million in grant money and $10 million in loans through stimulus funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service.
ASTCA said in 2012 the project “will deliver ultra-high-speed data, next-generation voice services, and new internet protocol television (IPTV) services across the islands.”
At last Friday’s joint news conference to announce the official launching of NBC television network programs airing on KVZK Ch: 5, Moefa’auo shared with reporters that the ASTCA fiber optic network — the BLAST project — is currently being put in place and ASTCA will also implement and institute its own TV programs. (See separate story on NBC launch).
Asked by the media if this means ASTCA will have its own television service, Moefa’auo explained ASTCA “will have its own IPTV — which is essentially its own TV programs, and this is where were are looking at working closely with KVZK in the future.”
Moefa’auo said current cable lines being laid underground — starting in the Bay Area — will extend to every business, home and institution in the territory and “that is part of the business plan that ASTCA has put forward.”
He said, “The cable line that we’re pulling to the home, will basically bring three functions: telephone, internet and IPTV, or TV programing.” He explained further that installation of the line to the home “will be free, the first time around.”
“So we would like to take this opportunity, to ask the public — if you don’t have a telephone [land] line, please do so now, and if you once had a [land] line, and owe ASTCA some money, clear your balance and reinstall your line, so that when the verification process comes in, they will install that fiber to your home for free,” he stated.
“But if the verification and installation team passes that serving area, and they have to come back and reinstall your line, then there will be a cost. It behooves everyone at this point in time to take advantage of that [free installation],” he pointed out.
He also said the project “in its totality” will not be completed until September next year; but the plan is that as soon as a “certain serving area” has completed installation and everything else in place, that area will be put into service.
“We don’t have to wait until the entire project is actually completed before it comes on line. So currently, we’re beginning in the Bay Area — certain sections of the Bay Area — and working our way towards Tafuna and the rest of the island including the Manu’a [Island group],” Moefa’auo said.
Asked why ASTCA started in the Bay Area, instead of Tafuna where there are many more businesses and residents — and the Tualauta county, the most populous county in the territory (which includes Tafuna) — Moefa’auo explained the original thought behind it was “because our main switching station is in Fagatogo, we wanted to test run that area first.”
“Obviously, the population is much greater in the Tualauta side... but we’re cautious in approaching this, because we want to make sure, that if something happens — technically — only very few people are effected,” the ASTCA CEO said. “If we choose to start with a larger population, and some... glitches occur, then obviously, masses of people will be out of service for an extended period of time. So that’s the rationale behind it.”
Responding to other media questions, he confirmed this project as well as ASTCA contractor Michels Corporation, which is laying the cable line, means more jobs for local residents.
Additionally, “our internet speed will be considerably faster and the capacity for that will also increase as well” through the BLAST Project.
However, he quickly issued a cautionary note, saying there are “two parts to this whole thing: the inter frame work, or the network, is separate from going out of the country and we’re working right now with with several other cable companies to hook up an additional cable just for redundancy purposes.”
Asked about ASTCA looking at linking up with the new undersea fiber optic cable projects being planned in the region, Moefa’auo said, there are actually “several cables being entertained at this point and time, but ASTCA is taking the lead in looking at all those alternatives. And if the price is right, we’ll certainly engage [in discussions].”
In January last year, ASTCA signed an agreement with O3b Networks to provide up to 1.2Gbps of future broadband connectivity for Internet and other services for American Samoa. O3b took over control and operation of the satellites from their manufacturer, Thales Alenia Space, in August last year.
Asked for an update on this project during last Friday’s press conference, Moefa’auo said the project is going well and “we’re looking at putting a section of [the 03b] in service in March this year.”
“We were supposed to be online already but as a result of the delay in launching four more satellites, we also have to push back our schedule,” he pointed out and noted the O3b satellite will also be the backup for the BLAST cable lines.
“It’s a new satellite constellation that’s being marketed as ‘fiber like speed’. The current rate right now is 20 milliseconds — both upload and download — so that will serve as a back up in case our fiber has any difficulties,” he said.
Aua has a new shoreline.
Aua villagers are enjoying the new rock revampment that was carried out by local contractor Happy Trucking and Construction, based in Futiga. The revampment features flat rocks, not cement, lined up on the shoreline facing the harbor area. The work features a set of stairs down the middle where Aua villagers can be seen taking in the breathtaking view of the bay area at sunset. [photo: B. Chen]
Pigeon feared extinct found in Samoa. The manumea is alive and well in Savaii's dense jungle.
A bird cousin of the long lost dodo has been found in Samoa a decade after it was feared they were extinct.
Samoan scientists re-discovered the manumea or tooth-billed pigeon by accident last month.
"One of the team …went outside to hang his wet clothes on the line and heard a noise that attracted his attention,” Samoa Division of Environment and Conservation team leader Moeumu Uili said.
“He looked up to the tree and saw a bird sitting up high on one of the tree branches.”
The research, funded by Britain Birdwatch organisation, was trying to establish whether manumea was extinct.
The last time the bird was seen was briefly in 2006 when researchers saw it in the forst of Salelologa in Savai’i.
Uili said when the team member named as Fialelei saw the bird, everybody got their binoculars and cameras.
“I started taking as many pictures as I could before the bird flew off. A closer look using binoculars and we knew we had found it, the rare manumea. Everyone had questioned whether the bird still existed. Now we know it is still alive."
Manumea (Didunculus strigirostris) is also known as the “little dodo” but its relationship to the real dodo (Raphus cucullatus) is considered very distant,
The dodo was an flightless bird on Mauritius, first seen by Europeans in 1598 by Dutch sailors. It was quickly wiped out by sailors for food and was last seen in 1662.
UsA SEvens in Las Vegas a huge success for team and Le Malae Team
January 28, 2014
Story and Photos by Albert Ainuu
Another USA Rugby Sevens Tournament has come and gone but this was one of the first for Le Malae. We were fortunate to be there with members of our team from around the world. More on that in the Le Malae News on the front page, but for the rest who were there for the Rugby games it was a very exciting and entertaining Sevens.
The Manu Samoa were an excellent team who competed at the top of the competition for most of the tournament. Although they fell to South Africa the eventual winner of the tournament, it was theirs for the taking and we congratulate them for the valiant effort which was well appreciated by the many Manu Samoa fans present. As was explained by their coach Viliamu Punivalu who held several interviews with Le Malae during the course of the tournament and which we will be posting here (Sports) and on our facebook pages, the team is new and needs experience. But they definitely have the speed and the skills to win this year.
The event has become one of the most anticipated events for our Samoan community in the USA. Each year thousands come to Las Vegas to support their favorite team, the Manu. This year was no exception and the fans were there for the team during and after the games. The celebration held for the team at the Circus Circus Casino after the games was attended by at least 500 fans who donated money through Siva Samoa's and many who gave their favorite player or official money directly. The celebration was sponsored by the Samoa Affairs of Las Vegas Association led by Mr. Tapeni. At the end of the night the cash of over $US5000 was delivered to the Team Captain.
Le Malae also held its first News convention for Le Malae Editors and it was a success. More on that in the Le Malae news. Here are some photos from the past weekend from fans to players and coaches and even some rowdy ones getting escorted from the stadium it was all about having a good time and enjoying the unity and developing community pride. Enjoy. Click on photos to see enlarged.
Samoa's head of state to meet Pope
Radio New Zealand International
Samoa's head of state, Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi, will meet the Pope in Rome next month.
An audience with Pope Francis follows his state visit to Germany this week with his wife afioga ile masiofo Filifilia Tamasese.
There they will meet the President of Germany Joachim Gauck yo-ah-kim gowk (as in cow) and attend the opening of a museum exhibit in Munich.
OSHA Cites Company in job-site American Samoa fatality
HONOLULU (AP) — The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited a company in connection with a job-site fatality in American Samoa.
OSHA officials say McConnell Dowell Constructors in Pago Pago faces $42,300 in proposed fines for nine workplace safety-standards violations.
OSHA launched an inspection after the death last July during a crane operation in Leone Village.
According to OSHA, a signalman motioned for the crane operator to stop. OSHA says the crane hook was near a high-voltage power line, and the worker was electrocuted when he approached the crane and touched the crane.
Violations include failure to determine safe working distances when workers were operating a crane close to high-voltage lines.
The company has declined to comment on the proposed fines and violations. OSHA says the company can contest the findings.
Gov makes official statement about amnesty program
By Fili Sagapolutele
As promised during Wednesday’s cabinet meeting, Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga, along with Lt. Gov. Lemanu Peleti Mauga appeared Thursday night on state-run KVZK-TV to officially inform the community about the launch of the Immigration Amnesty Program, which will make it legal for undocumented foreigners who qualify for the program to reside in the territory.
Lolo, who delivered the speech in Samoan, explained the program, as well as the registration period which begins Feb. 18-Mar. 14. He urged all undocumented residents to take up this opportunity to correct their legal status.
He said it’s never good to live in fear of being deported due to the status of a person’s immigration papers.
Lemanu delivered the English address, saying that it’s been a year since the new administration took office, and since last January, the administration have been assessing many areas of government “that we feel need improvement, so we can best serve you, the people of American Samoa.”
“While we have made tremendous progress in many areas of our government, there are some we still need to continue working on, and one of those is immigration,” he said. “The immigration problems, are without any doubt, very serious.”
He said the administration is aware that many foreigners are in the territory without proper immigration papers. “I’m sure many are outstanding, contributing members of the community,” he said, adding that many came into the territory legally.
“...but for whatever reason, their immigration papers have expired and they have since been living in fear of the law,” he said and noted that an immigration amnesty program has been created with the registration to begin next month at specific locations.
“We want you to make it right for your children, your family and yourself,” he said.
Both Lolo and Lemanu stated that the government will publish more information on the registration sites, times and other data in the newspaper (see yesterday’s Samoa News edition) and broadcast information on radio and television. (See Samoa News edition of Jan. 15 for more information)
Feds allow briefs in citizenship lawsuit appeal
By Fili Sagapolutele
The federal appeal’s court in Washington D.C. has “granted” a request by U.S. House delegates Madeleine Z. Bordallo and Donna Christensen to participate as ‘amici curiae’, or “friend of the court”, in support of the five American Samoans and one California based Samoan organization who filed a lawsuit against the federal government arguing that they are entitled to being U.S. citizens under a provision of the U.S. Constitution.
Another request for ‘amici curiae’ granted by the court is that from Samuel Erman, an Assistant Professor of Law at University of Southern California’s Gould School of Law.
The trio will now file detailed briefs on the issues that they wish to argue in support of the plaintiffs.
Bordallo of Guam and Christensen of the U.S. Virgin Islands noted that resolution of this case may impact not only American Samoa but also other United States territories and federal governance of those territories.
Erman’s proposed brief will assist the Court in deciding the “ultimate legal issue in this case — whether persons born in American Samoa are United States citizens — by explaining the historical conception of jus soli citizenship in the United States, including how courts have traditionally viewed birthright citizenship, and how citizenship and nationality were conceptualized in the early days of the United States.”
(According to Princeton University website, ‘jus soli’ — is Latin ‘for right of the soil’ — and is commonly known as birthright citizenship.)
Drug bust in Samoa found 57 marijuana plants
Radio New Zealand
The police in Samoa have started the New Year with a drug raid on family land at Safaato'a village in which two suspects have been arrested, including a woman.
However, one man had escaped at the time of the police raid on Friday afternoon.
Police say fifty seven cannabis, or marijuana plants, from six to seven feet high, were found growing on the family land.
Hundreds of dried leaves were also found along with live ammunition, and the police suspect guns were also part of the illegal drug operation.
No street value of the found cannabis was given, but the police have thanked the people of Safaato'a village for their support and they urge other villages to follow suit in reporting illegal drugs.
Kiwi Travel Firm Gets chanel College Connected with new computers
Press Release – House of Travel
Kiwi company House of Travel is helping to connect Samoa to the modern world by donating computer equipment and skilled labour to a college in Apia.By Fleur Revell
21 January 2014
Kiwi company House of Travel is helping to connect Samoa to the modern world by donating computer equipment and skilled labour to a college in Apia.
House of Travel Holdings donated 85 second-hand computers, monitors and servers, plus a week of IT technician Adrian Miller’s time to Chanel College, a struggling Catholic school which now has the capacity to get its students online.
For Adrian, who had never travelled to the Pacific Islands before, it proved to be a life-changing experience.
“It felt amazing to do something selfless, altruistic, knowing that I was part of something that was beneficial to so many people. I’m sincerely grateful for that experience. I’ve always wanted to do something like that and my company gave me that opportunity.”
Formerly Christchurch-based but now in Wellington, Adrian jumped at the opportunity when his employer sought volunteers for the work, part of a larger, ongoing project being led by Kiwi John Ryan. He and his wife are former volunteer teachers at the school.
Adrian and John had just five days to set in place the infrastructure to enable the college to get connected and Adrian has been following up with school staff in Samoa since his return to New Zealand to test the system and guide teachers there to getting it up and running.
“When I volunteered to go to Samoa I didn’t really think about how the work I would be doing would impact on the college and its staff, students and the community. It started to sink in as the work over there progressed,” Adrian says.
“I realised that donating my skills and expertise were a lot more valuable than donating $20 would have been – it will make a huge difference to the people there and it’s great to be part of helping to upskill the Samoan people to bring them into the technical age.
“Many people there have no computer skills at all. Being able to get on the internet is basically a human right these days and has the potential to make a huge difference to the likes of students at Chanel College. It will open up many opportunities for them in the future.”
The hospitality and kindness of the Samoan people made the experience all the more meaningful for Adrian who says being immersed in the local culture was a real eye-opener and something he will never forget.
Chanel College in Moamoa, Samoa, was founded in 1962 by Marist Fathers and Adrian and John were hosted by local priests during their five-day stay. They put in some long hours to get the work completed.
“We did what we could in the timeframe we had. I’d love to go back some time and see how it’s all going.”
House of Travel Holdings CEO Mark O’Donnell said the company was very pleased to be able to help John and contribute to his work at Chanel College.
House of Travel also does charitable work in New Zealand through a partnership with Hospice New Zealand. All branches have adopted their local hospice and assist in raising funds and educating people about the organisation’s great work.
“It’s important to us to contribute to the communities in which we live and those with which we have a connection through the business we do,” Mark says.
Content Sourced from scoop.co.nz
Earthquake rattles New Zealand's capital Wellington
A STRONG 6.3-magnitude earthquake has rattled New Zealand's North Island, halting train services and knocking merchandise off shelves, but there were no immediate reports of major damage or injuries.
The quake struck at 3.52pm local time and was centred in the North Island about 115 kilometres northeast of the capital city Wellington, the US Geological Survey said.
The tremor hit at a depth of 27 kilometres and was widely felt throughout the North and South islands. It was followed by a series of smaller aftershocks.
"I've seen the neighbours and they're a bit shaken up but apart from that no damage,'' Brian Smith of Eketahuna, near the centre of the quake, told Radio New Zealand, describing the tremor as as a sharp jolt.
"My wife was outside in the garden and she said she couldn't stand up and had to sit down.''
Some houses in the small township of Eketahuna suffered broken windows and structural damage but police said there had been no reports of injuries.
Pam Lochore, wife of All Blacks great Brian Lochore, said photographs had fallen off shelves and ``a rugby ball went flying across the room'' in their home at Masterton in the North Island's south.
One casualty of the quake was a giant model eagle which fell to the ground from the roof of Wellington airport where it was being used to promote the "Hobbit'' movie trilogy.
All train services in the Wellington region were suspended due to the quake.
New Zealand is on the boundary of the Australian and Pacific tectonic plates, forming part of the so-called ``Ring of Fire'', and experiences up to 15,000 tremors a year.
A devastating 6.3-magnitude temblor in the South Island city of Christchurch in 2011 killed 185 people -- one of the nation's deadliest disasters of the modern era.
Wellington was the scene of the country's most powerful earthquake in 1855.
That devastating 8.2-magnitude quake caused four deaths and changed the city's entire geography, pushing the shoreline out 200 metres as it thrust the harbour floor upwards.
American Samoa AG finds amendments to Child Abuse law acceptable
By Fili Sagapolutele
The Attorney General’s Office is not opposed to two major amendments made by the House to its version of an administration bill—which further criminalizes and expands the definition of child abuse— and the Senate has approved in final reading the House version, which now goes back to the faipule.
The Senate approved last September its version of the same bill without any changes and sent it to the House, where Representatives made two major amendments to ensure clarification of certain provisions of the measure.
When the House version arrived in the Senate in the later part of September last year, the Fono was prepared to end the 2nd Regular Session and senators opted to wait until this month to hold any necessary hearings on the bill.
As previously reported by Samoa News, the House’s two major amendments clarify what is considered “a dangerous instrument” that may be used to threaten a child. The amendment states that a dangerous instrument is any instrument, article, or substance, which under the circumstance in which it is used, is readily capable of causing death or serious physical injury.
The second amendment deleted the words “mentally retarded” from the bill and replaced it with a “person whose mental capacity has been determined by a health professional to be that of someone under the age of 18.”
House members were disturbed about using the term “mentally retarded” in the bill and believe it is no longer appropriate in this day and age.
On Thursday this week, the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Sen. Soliai Tuipine Fuimaono, heard testimony from Deputy Attorney General Mitzie Jessop, who was accompanied by Attorney General-nominee Talauega Eleasalo Ale, in his first Fono appearance since being appointed to the post more than a week ago.
At the outset of the hearing, Soliai reminded committee members that the Senate has already approved its version of this “very important bill” without any amendments and is now pending in a House committee.
However, he said, the Senate now needs to hear directly from the AG’s Office on their opinion of the House amendments, for clarification.
Talauega told the committee that Jessop had worked on the draft of this proposal from the beginning and can provide sufficient input, or further explain in detail any information that is needed by senators. He also pointed out that Sen. Afoa L.S. Lutu, the former attorney general, could also provide additional input on the measure. (Afoa attended the hearing and spoke briefly about the bill).
Jessop explained that after reading the House amendments, the AG’s Office could only identify two major changes and the first change was to delete “mentally retarded” and expand the definition of a person with a mental disability.
She said there are some individuals in the community who are the age of adults, but who have this disability, and therefore have the mentality of a child. “These members of the community must be protected,” she said.
“In our opinion, this amendment does not change the substance of the bill” ... it “just further improves and strengthens the bill,” Jessop said.
As for the second amendment, expanding the definition of “dangerous instrument,” Jessop said this change further defines this provision, which is the same definition in the local Criminal Code.
In other words, this amendment “just redefines it again,” she said and noted that the AG’s Office does not oppose this change, either.
There were no specific questions from senators pertaining to the amendments, but Soliai did remind his colleagues that there were concerns last year from some senators who don't want the bill to conflict with the rights of a parent to discipline a child.
He said this was also the same concern raised by some members of the public; however, current law does allow parents to discipline their children, as long as it does not result in the abuse of a child. Additionally, this issue was made clear by the AG’s Office during last year’s committee hearing.
Jessop told the same committee last year that Samoans do discipline their children, “This is how we [Samoans] teach our children right and wrong, and it’s important, it’s part of our culture.”
She then pointed out the bill does not prevent a parent from disciplining their children, noting the bill targets cases — such as those that have reached the AG’s office — where parents have abused their children by tying them up and beating them with a 2x4 piece of lumber.
This type of action is “more than just disciplining our children and that is what this bill seeks to stop – that type of behavior,” the deputy AG said. “We also have situations where children are not only tied up and beaten by their parents, but they (the children) are not fed, or given water.”
Normal parental discipline — cited in provision of current law ASCA 45.0103 — means “all actions by parents, such as administration of blows by hand, strap, or light switch upon buttocks or any firm handling, scolding or light taps, insufficient to seriously bruise or produce medical injury or disability.”
MP fears Fiji might steal new Samoan taro varieties
APIA, Samoa ----“Protect our new taro varieties – Fiji might take them.” Such was the call by Faleata West MP Aveau Nikotemo Palamo in Samoan Parliament Tuesday.
Fiji has profited from cultivating the taro Niue, a variety from Samoa, which they sell overseas – to Samoans there.
Fiji has controlled the overseas market when the Samoan variety was wiped by the taro leaf blight in 1993 and since then, vigorous research have produced several local varieties similar to what was ‘taro Niue’ and are not susceptible to the blight.
“Protection was needed in case our new varieties, bred from local taro, are grown in Fiji,” the Opposition MP said.
But Agriculture Minister Le Mamea Ropati said our many varieties came from taro from other countries.
Former Agriculture Minister Tuisugaletaua Sofara Aveau supported this saying one variety the ‘talo fili’ was created from taro from the Philippines.
“Exchange was not a bad thing,” Le Mamea said.
It needed only a piece of leaf to reproduce a taro plant, he said.
Aveau also urged Government to appeal to Samoans in Australia and New Zealand to buy taro from home to benefit relatives here and our country.
Well-known is the preference for Samoans in New Zealand for taro Niue from Fiji.
A favourite food it was amongst the local varieties wiped out by the taro leaf blight in 1993.
Vigorous research saw local and overseas taro combined to breed multiple new varieties both resistant to the blight – and containing some of the taste of the old varieties.
Continuous research has led to gradual improvement and hybrid varieties have become good enough for export.
But overseas Samoans prefer taro Niue from Fiji.
Aveau also called on Agriculture to look at the restrictions imposed on taro exports by Australia.
They exist exactly because of the leaf blight which Australia wants kept away from the taro they grow in the north, Le Mamea said.
Australia accepts frozen taro but there are no facilities for it here though the ministry is looking at establishing them, he said.
An Australian company return next month for further talks about making chips from taro here for export to their country.
Le Mamea said to pray for success.
Taro is so plentiful in Samoa now and prices have plummeted from $20 a patch to as little as $5.
Samoa Electoral Office gears up for 2016 Election
From Samoa Observer/PacNews
APIA, Samoa --- The Office of the Samoa Electoral Commission has started preparations for the upcoming General Election in 2016.
As part of this, the Commission is training staff members about election laws, especially so they understand the Electoral Act 1963.
The Act provides for the election of members of the Legislative Assembly.
On Thursday and Friday, a training programme was held at the Commission’s Office at Mulinu’u for staff members of the Commission. It was provided by the Electoral Commissioner, Papali’i Malietau Malietoa and Assistant Electoral Commissioner for Legal and Policy Division, Mathew Lemisio.
The training is a development and capacity building programme, designed to broaden the knowledge of participants in relation to the Electoral Act 1963 and associated laws such as the Electoral Regulations, Electoral Amendments, The constitution of Samoa and the PSC Act.
Speaking to the Weekend Observer, Lemisio said the training was important.
“The election is not that far away,” he said. “We are doing a refresher training for the staff because it’s important for them to understand the Act.”
The training is a good opportunity to examine the effectiveness of the Act, the Assistant Electoral Commissioner said.
“You can write a good act but you can only find the issues at the time you practice it. And that is the case because this is the Office that puts this Act into practise.”
Lemisio said the goal of the Electoral Office is simple.
“Our goal is to achieve a corrupt free election in 2016,” he said. “That has been a challenge for this office for many years.”
Organisation Profile The Office of the Electoral Commissioner (O.E.C) was established as a distinct organisation in 2005 following passage of The Electoral Amendment Act 2005.
Prior to that the administration of the Electoral Act was split between the Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration (until 2003 called the Justice Department) and the Legislative Department.
Since the inception of what used to be called the Electoral Office set up under the Electoral Act 1963, the function of ‘Returning Service’ had always remained under the administration of the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly.
The ‘Registration Services’ function, on the other hand, was administered by the Justice Department until 1990, when universal suffrage supplanted the Matai suffrage as a result of a Plebiscite (national referendum) conducted that year. From 1990 ‘Registration Services’ moved under the charge of the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly; and in 2000 it went back to the Justice Department.
The O.E.C in its administrative role has a responsibility to the community to ensure that a qualified electors and voters are registered and aware of their rights and responsibilities under the Act. The Office of the Electoral Commissioner is funded through the Annual Budget Estimates. The responsible Minister is the Minister of Justice. The relationship between the O.E.C and the Minister of Justice is governed under the Electoral Act 1963 and the 2005 Amendment.
The Commissioner, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of the Office, is appointed under the terms of Section 3 of the Electoral Amendment Act 2005.
American Samoa DOE proposes one combined high school graduation
Venue: Veterans Stadium
By Fili Sagapolutele
In a proposal to the governor, the Department of Education is looking at holding one combined graduation in June for all Tutuila public high schools at the Veterans Memorial Stadium, and this move, according to DOE director Vaitinasa Dr. Salu Hunkin-Finau, will save time and unite the community.
When Vaitinasa took over the helm of DOE last year she set a new graduation policy, which initially didn’t sit well with many parents, but was supported by parent/teacher associations (PTAs). The major change implemented was limiting the graduation ceremony to 90 minutes, and recognizing the valedictorians and salutatorians— along with their parents— during the ceremony, but no speeches were heard from the top students.
One of the issues — and concerns from previous years — was that some high schools have more than one valedictorian and all of them usually give speeches.
DOE is proposing another change this year.
“Last year's ‘short and sweet’ high school graduations were a great success because of the support from the principals, teachers, students and parents,” Vaitinasa said Wednesday night responding to media inquiries. “We extend our appreciation for our community's willingness to support the changes I required of the unnecessarily long graduation ceremonies conducted for decades.”
For the upcoming graduation schedule, Vaitinasa says she has shared with Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga a tentative plan that calls for the Manu’a High School graduation ceremony to be held on June 9 at the MHS campus, while a “one-day combined graduation ceremony” would be on June 11 at the Veterans Memorial Stadium for all public high schools on Tutuila.
(Manu’a's graduation ceremony has always been held first — usually towards the end of a week, and then the following week, graduation ceremonies on Tutuila would begin.)
Additionally, all public high schools would hold their respective awards assemblies, and their baccalaureate services before the graduation days, she said.
“We concur that the one-day combined graduation ceremony for all the high schools on Tutuila will not only save time for the leaders and the community, but will unite the entire community, parents and students, by sharing this special event together in one day,” Vaitinasa explained.
“Further, this combined one-day graduation will give the families ample time during the week to celebrate this accomplishment with relatives and friends,” she said, adding this decision was announced last week during her meeting with principals and earlier with the governor.
It’s expected the proposed combined graduation ceremony on Tutuila will also include the introduction of valedictorians and salutatorians from each high school.
'I'm in heaven!': Aussie media star Sonia Kruger exclaims as she unwinds with a relaxing massage in Samoa after her fashion label shuts down
By MAIL ONLINE SHOWBIZ REPORTER
Her fashion label was discontinued last week as a result poor sales, but it looks like the Channel Nine presenter Sonia Kruger is bouncing back from disappointment in style.
The Mornings host posted a shot of herself getting a much needed massage in Samoa.
The 48-year-old, who also hosts Big Brother Australia, looked thoroughly relaxed as she lay face down on the massage table, covered only in a blue towel from the hips down.
She captioned the picture: 'If anyone's looking for me I'll be here for the next few years. #samoa #hotrocks #massage #heaven.'
The former dancer posted a second picture from the beautiful Pacific island where she captured the first light of an early morning sun.
While the Queensland native is hugely popular in her role as host of Big Brother Australia and co-host of Mornings, she has struggled to make it as a designer despite her love of fashion.
The star’s label, SK By Sonia Kruger, was shut down last week after it failed to make decent sales.
She launched the line last year but it has been doing poorly.
Her manager Mark Klemens, said that while busy with her television commitments, Kruger just wasn’t able to dedicate as much time to the label as she wished.
‘From Sonia's perspective the range is embryonic, it just started and to give the time to it that it needs is just not possible, so it's been a mutual decision from both parties to stop production,’ Klemens told the Daily Telegraph.
‘She loves fashion and she knows you need to put a lot of time into something like this which she just doesn't unfortunately have at the moment given her media commitments.’
Department store David Jones will continue to sell the items over the coming weeks until stock runs out.
The bubbly TV star had previously launched her Sonia Kruger Collections line with Myer in 2011 that was also discontinued.
Kruger caused controversy in that same year when she took to her Twitter page to write; ‘I think it's nice you get on so well with your dad,’ of Brynne Edelsten and her then husband Geoffrey Edelsten.
Brynne announced her split from Geoffrey, who is 49 years her senior on Tuesday.
Kruger admitted last year that she had been trying to start a family with her partner of almost five years, Craig McPherson, but the couple have yet to be successful.
Samoa to meet Fiji for Rugby League Four Nations spot
Radio New Zealand
Samoa play Fiji on the 5th of May for the vacant fourth spot in the Rugby League Four Nations.
The two countries last met at the World Cup quarter finals last year where Fiji or Bati sailed to a 22-4 victory. Neither of the teams has played in the Four Nations tournament before.
They play in Australia but the venue has yet to be finalised.
The fourth spot is reserved on alternative years for a country from the southern hemisphere or northern hemisphere.
Papua New Guinea is the only South Pacific country so far to have won the fourth spot - in 2010, after winning the 2009 Pacific Cup.
Samoa or Toa Samoa and Fiji won the right to hold a play-off to play in the Four Nations because of their performances in the 2013 World Cup. After that tournament Fiji rose in world rank to 5th while Samoa holds 8th place.
Peyton High Scorer with Detroit Piston Farm team against iowa.
FORT WAYNE, IN – The Fort Wayne Mad Ants presented by the Lutheran Health Network defeated the Iowa Energy at home tonight, 130-116. The Ants were led by Ron Howard’s career-high 36 points (14-15 from the free throw line) and Peyton Siva who is on assignment from the Detroit Pistons. Siva led the Mad Ants from the point guard position and racked up 27 points, 10 assists and eight steals for the night. Iowa was led in scoring by Othyus Jeffers who had 26 points and eight rebounds.
The Mad Ants controlled the first quarter and jumped out to an early 18-4 but the Energy responded to end the quarter 37-26, in favor of the Mad Ants. For the home team, Howard and Hill had 16 and 13 points in the first quarter, respectively. The second quarter saw the Energy outscore the Mad Ants 32-31, thanks to a buzzer beating 3-pointer by Iowa to end the half. The Energy was led by Othyus Jeffers’ 12 points during the first half. Howard and Hill put up 18 and 15 points for the Ants in the first half and Trey McKinney-Jones contributed 14 points.
Iowa outscored Fort Wayne 33-26 in the third quarter and were able to gain a five point lead over the Ants thanks to Patrick Christopher’s nine third-quarter points. The fourth quarter was a close game until the Mad Ants were finally able to pull away from the Energy around the five-minute mark to hold on for the win, 130-116.
The Mad Ants will head to Reno, Nevada for the NBA D-League Showcase and will face the Santa Cruz Warriors on Monday at 4:00pm PST.
In The end Abe Markowitz wins Outperformer Award of Las Vegas Bowl. 6 years of frustration end with success.
By Bob Hogue, Hawaii Midweek
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. The photo here is probably worth about 10,000. It’s a saga of loyalty and perseverance and perhaps a bit of blind stubbornness. It might even be a Hawaii/Southern California version of the popular movie Rudy.
You remember Rudy. He’s the kid with the obsession for Notre Dame football who banged his head against the wall until he finally earned a Fighting Irish game jersey in his final year, and then had his greatest – and only – moment on the field in his final game.
A similar tale might be told of former Punahou standout Abe Markowitz at the University of Southern California.
The first part I’ve written about before: how a late bloomer from Laie and Hawaii Kai, standing about 6 feet tall and weighing about 280 pounds, might have been considered too small to play offensive line-man in major college football. But Markowitz was still growing during his senior season at Punahou and beyond. When he walked on at USC, he eventually grew to a rock-solid 6-foot-3 and 320 pounds.
He chose No. 50 to honor his home state, impressed his coaches with his work ethic and eventually earned a scholarship. But he also earned a lot of hard luck. Two seasons in a row, just when it looked like he might make the starting lineup, he suffered foot injuries that ended those seasons. By the time he entered his fifth year, he finally got to start a couple of games at guard. He excelled, but circumstances out of his control reduced his playing time, and he failed to make the bowl roster in what looked like his final game. Because of sanctions against the athletic program, he was told his scholarship had run out.
He came home a year ago and re-assessed his situation. He had earned a degree and was studying for his master’s, but he had not succeeded as he wanted to on the field. He had a few choices: He could move on from football, or he could apply for a rare sixth-year of eligibility from the two years he missed because of injuries. If that worked out, he could transfer to another school and play there one final season, or he could stick it out at USC and walk on for one final try.
After the NCAA agreed to the sixth year, Markowitz decided to stick it out in Los Angeles. He got a loan to pay for his tuition and made his way onto the field again in a Trojan uniform. But as the team went through coaching transitions, he hardly played. Number 50 was mostly seen standing on the sidelines cheering his team on. Fate stepped in during the final game of the regular season. An injury to the starting center sent Markowitz onto the field, where he played well. The new interim coach saw his performance, his work ethic and his loyalty, and eventually named him starting center for USC’s appearance in the Las Vegas Bowl against nationally ranked Fresno State.
For one final game, all the frustrations, all the challenges, all the injuries, all the broken promises were forgotten. Markowitz just played his heart out. As the stabilizing force along the offensive line, he opened holes that his teammates took full advantage of. He protected his quarterback, who would go on to win MVP honors. When the game ended, he celebrated with his team as they earned their impressive 10th win of the season.
And then, in an incredible ending to all his trials and tribulations, Markowitz was named the winner of the game’s prestigious Outperformer Award. He was stunned as he humbly accepted the trophy. His team-mates wildly cheered him on and Markowitz thanked them. But he had one other person to thank: his dad, Barry, who was on the field, too, as a photographer.
Bradford releases Samoa Forward Frank Winterstein from contract.
Bradford have agreed to release Frank Winterstein before the forward has made his debut for the Super League team.
The Samoa international agreed a 12-month deal with the Bulls in October but returned home to Australia before the year was out after suffering a pectoral injury in a World Cup game with New Zealand.
The 27-year-old had treatment for the injury in Australia and has opted to stay Down Under following his recent wedding, with Bradford giving their consent.
Winterstein is now expected to take up a deal in rugby union and Bradford coach Francis Cummins insists he understands the player's decision given the ongoing off-the-field uncertainties at Odsal.
Cummins said: "Him and his wife have just got married and I guess, for a player who has in the past witnessed financial difficulties at other clubs, the uncertainty wasn't great for him.
"If an opportunity has arose elsewhere for him then we cannot really stand in his way, given the fact we are attempting to make cuts to our playing budget."
Summary of News from Bowl season in U.S. College Football
Washington quarterbacks coach Marques Tuiasosopo has accepted an offer to become USC’s tight ends coach, the Seattle Times reported on Sunday.
Tuiasosopo, who served as UW’s interim coach in its Fight Hunger Bowl win over BYU on Friday night, will reunite with Steve Sarkisian, who was hired away from Washington to became USC’s head coach in early December. Sarkisian hired Tuiasosopo at Washington last January.
New Washington coach Chris Petersen wanted Tuiasosopo to stay on his staff, but is now expected to pick former Boise State quarterbacks coach Jonathan Smith to fill that slot.
USC’s staff is quickly starting to look like Washington South. Along with Tuiasosopo, the Trojans have also added Justin Wilcox, Johnny Nansen, Keith Heyward and Peter Sirmons to their staff.
NAVY COACHED TO ANOTHER BOWL WIN BY SAMOAN HEAD COACH KEN NIUMATALOLO,
It was a quick, painless victory for Navy, as the Midshipmen won their first bowl game since 2009. They stuck to the game plan throughout, rushing for 365 yards and scoring two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to put the game away. Quarterback Keenan Reynolds led the way with 86 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
The win is Navy's ninth victory of the season, which is the most in three years. Meanwhile, Middle Tennessee will finish the season 8-5 and is still searching for its first bowl win in four years.
Navy simply proved that it is a much more talented team than Middle Tennessee. The triple-option offense wore down the Blue Raiders, which allowed for 365 rushing yards and two touchdowns in the fourth quarter that put the game away. Middle Tennessee had very little answer on either side of the ball and wasn't able to execute offensively when it mattered most. It's tough to beat teams kicking field goals.
You could also tell that Navy's style of play bothered Middle Tennessee due to the amount of unsportsmanlike conduct penalties the team received.
Overall, Navy is a pretty solid team that has a game-changer at quarterback in Keenan Reynolds. If the Midshipmen could find a way to win double-digit games next season, he may have what it takes to earn some Heisman consideration.
Even with the loss, Middle Tennessee still had a successful season, as it clinched a bowl appearance in its first year in the C-USA. However, head coach Ken Niumatalolo continues to move Navy in the right direction at a fast pace.
MARCUS MARIOTA SHOWS OFF HEISMAN SKILLS AT LIBERY BOWL IN VICTORY OVER TEXAS
There were reasons -- not necessarily good reasons, but reasons -- that Marcus Mariota didn't earn an invite to New York as a 2013 Heisman finalist.
He was OK at best in the Ducks' season-defining loss at Stanford. He was worse than that in the blowout loss to Arizona that knocked Oregon out of the Pac-12 and national title races for good. And in general, Mariota's nagging left leg injuries kept him from being the same electrifying force late in the season he was earlier in the year -- and fair or not, how you look then is more important than how you looked before.
But Monday night in San Antonio, Mariota made those reasons look silly ... and made an argument that no reasons are going to be convincing to keep him home come December of 2014. Looking more healthy than he had since before the Stanford game, Mariota -- still ninth in the FBS in total offense, third in yards-per-play, and sixth in passing efficiency entering the game -- was more-or-less unstoppable, slicing and dicing Texas to the tune of 253 yards passing, 133 yards rushing, one touchdown and no turnovers. Mariota averaged 8.9 yards per rushing attempt, 9.7 yards per passing attempt, and 2.7 jaws dropped per-play.
Oh, right. This guy can do this.
Or at least, he can do "this" -- throw lasers, dash through seams, and generally look like a player capable of doing Jordan Lynch things to a league much stronger than Jordan Lynch's (no offense to the MAC star) -- when he's healthy. As the second half progressed, Mariota noticeably slowed down, pulling up noticeably on one late third-quarter play and restricting himself to handoffs and pocket throws after that.
"I'm just out of shape," he said in his postgame interview.
By that point, though, the message was sent. Assuming Mariota sticks to his announcement of a 2014 return, he will return as one of the best players in college football, and assuming his leg and the rest of his health cooperates, he stands an excellent chance of earning that trip to New York that eluded him in 2013.
Oh, and more importantly? Oregon stands an excellent chance of finding the trips -- to the Pac-12 title game, and a spot in the national title game -- that eluded them in 2013, too.
Alex Leapai will be singing up a storm at his Logan church this Sunday, as he does each Sabbath, leading the choir in thanking God for all his good gifts.
But the Cinderella man of Australian sport’s enthusiasm for the songs of praise has nothing to do with the multi-million dollar purse the battling truck driver and father of six will earn when he becomes the first Queenslander to fight for the world heavyweight championship.
Rather, he thanks God every day for the love of his family and the Samoan community which he says has helped him turn his life around and become an inspiration to young people everywhere.
Leapai, 34, now the No.1 contender for Wladimir Klitschko’s world heavyweight title, was last week confirmed as the giant Ukrainian’s next challenger by the WBO Championship Committee in Puerto Rico.
No date or venue has been set but Leapai hopes to face Klitschko by May, either in Germany or Macau.
He will be guaranteed at least $1 million and potentially up to $6 million, the purse paid to Klitschko’s last opponent, Alexander Povetkin.
Not bad for a man who drives a delivery van for a living and freely admits he stumbled many times on his journey through life, was banned from rugby league for attacking a referee and who recalls bursting into tears as he sat inside a cell at the Woodford Correctional Centre after being jailed for six months in 2005 for assaulting bouncers.
Earlier this year Leapai did not even receive a purse but was paid in free tickets when he beat American Matt Hicks on the undercard of the Sonny Bill Williams-Frans Botha farce at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre.
“The money from fighting Klitschko will be nice but it’s making history that’s driving me on," Leapai said.
“No Australian or Samoan has ever held the heavyweight boxing championship of the world and I want to bring it home.
“I hope my story shows kids everywhere that you can turn your life around, no matter how low you might feel, no matter what life throws at you.
“As a young man I was out of control doing drugs and drinking but in prison I broke down and cried and cried and asked the man upstairs to show me a better path."
Together with his trainer Noel Thornberry and with the support of his extended family, Leapai picked himself up and became one of the best heavyweight boxers in the world.
He overcame setback after setback. Last year he broke his hand and was stopped by American Kevin Johnson.
In defeating Russia’s Denis Boytsov in Germany last week, he tore his calf muscle.
Despite needing a wheelchair after the fight, he kept slugging away until his hand was raised in triumph.
“Nothing was going to stop me," Leapai said.
“So look out Mr Klitschko. I respect you as a great champion but I’m going to punch you harder than you’ve ever been punched in your whole life."
- The Courier-Mail
Wakefield sign Samoa international star Pita Godinet from New Zealand Warriors
Wakefield have signed Samoa international Pita Godinet on a two-year deal from New Zealand Warriors.
The scrum-half, 26 on Saturday, is a straight replacement for Tim Smith who joined Salford earlier this year.
The arrival of Godinet from the New Zealand Warriors is a timely boost for the Wildcats, who have seen a number of departures as a result of financial restructuring.
"Half-backs are at a premium and it is a difficult time of the season to try and sign new players so I am delighted we have signed him and I certainly think he will add something to our squad."
Agar on Gidonet
Coach Richard Agar has scoured the market for bargains, though, and having witnessed Godinet first-hand at the recent World Cup, he is confident he has signed the right man.
Impact"He is a skilful player and I think he will make a big impact. He will also give us cover at six or nine," he said.
"Half-backs are at a premium and it is a difficult time of the season to try and sign new players so I am delighted we have signed him and I certainly think he will add something to our squad.
"Our first enquiry was rebuffed but I think Pita realised that it would be a tremendous opportunity to play in Super League and become an important player for us."
Wakefield have lost the likes of Smith, Paul Aiton and Ben Cockayne over recent weeks and months, but have moved to offset their departures with the signings of Godinet, Paul McShane and Richard Moore.
Vikings backup Running back Matt Asiata scores three TDs in first NFL start For Vikings.
BY DOUG FARRAR
If you watched Minnesota Vikings receiver Cordarrelle Patterson’s 79-yard screen pass touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 14, you may have noticed a running back named Matt Asiata helping out with his blocking acumen. That’s where Asiata’s generally been throughout his NFL career — blocking once in a while, most often on special teams, and hidden on the depth chart behind Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart. But with Peterson and Gerhart both out against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, Asiata got his first real shot to carry the ball — and he certainly made the most of it.
In Minnesota’s 48-30 win over the Eagles, Asiata — who had three career carries before this game — scored three rushing touchdowns and finished with 30 carries. An undrafted free agent out of Utah, Asiata signed with the VIkings in 2012 and made final cuts as a backup fullback against the odds when Lex Hilliard did not impress and Jordan Todman suffered an ankle injury. Asiata did enough to stick through two relatively undistinguished seasons from a statistical perspective, and his teammates have appreciated his unselfishness. Quarterback Matt Cassel seemed to hope that Asiata would get a chance to do something in this game.arterback Daunte Culpepper did so in September 2000.
“I look at it as a blessing,” he said, “just getting the opportunity to show the coaches what I can do and help this offense out,”
UFC Fight Night 33 results: Mark Hunt vs. Bigfoot Silva goes to a draw
Commonwealth Games Pools set: Wales Sevens will go against Samoa
Wales will face Samoa, Papua New Guinea and Malaysia in Pool C of the Rugby Sevens competition at this summer's Commonwealth Games.
Reigning champions New Zealand, who have won all four Commonwealth Gold medals to date, will take on hosts Scotland, Canada and Nigeria.
England and Australia have been drawn together in Group D along with Sri Lanka and Uganda.
The top two sides from the four groups will go through to the quarter finals.
The tournament will be held over two days at Glasgow's Ibrox Stadium with the full competition schedule announced in February.
Commonwealth Games Rugby Sevens 2014
Pool A: New Zealand, Canada, Scotland, Nigeria
Pool B: South Africa, Kenya, Cook Islands, Trinidad and Tobago
Pool C: Samoa, Wales, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia
Pool D: England, Australia, Sri Lanka, Uganda
Family support carries Sealver Siliga to Start for patriots
By Mark Daniels, Boston Herald
January 11, 2014
FOXBORO — The TV was on, but he couldn’t bear to watch. Too painful.
For Sealver Siliga, the NFL highlights on ESPN only made the feeling worse. Seeing the game reinforced the idea that nobody in the game wanted him. And during a time where he was surrounded by family, Siliga, for a moment, felt all alone.
The defensive tackle was released by the Seattle Seahawks on Oct. 4. He moved back into his parents’ home in West Jordan, Utah. And after multiple tryouts, he hopelessly waited over the next three weeks for a call.
“It (hurt) every day. It got to a point where I didn’t even want to watch ESPN or anything just because it reminded me,” Siliga said. “When that happened, it really hit home. Like, nobody wants me. That really was tough.”
In 2012, he nearly made it. Siliga was on the Denver Broncos’ active roster, but appeared in just one game. It was a step up from 2011, which he spent on the team’s practice squad.
Now, he was out of football. It tested his patience and will. Before the Patriots signed him on Oct. 24, Siliga had too much to lose to give up. He couldn’t let it end. Not with what his family’s been through.
All he had to do was think about his mother, Sinatala, who worked night and day to support her kids. Or what his family suffered in San Bernardino, Calif., and the gang culture that swallowed up his five older brothers.
“All the strength I have (is from my family),” Siliga, 23, said. “I’d be lying if I’d say I’d do this all alone. I couldn’t have done this all alone. If it was just me, I would have quit a long time ago.”
Band of brothers
There’s 634 miles between San Bernardino and West Jordan, Utah, a location that was perfect for Sinatala and Siala Siliga. They wanted better for their family and their youngest, Sealver, who was 1 when West Jordan gave them a place to practice their Mormon faith. It also gave them a chance to escape the city that nearly tore everything apart.
Both parents came to America from Pago Pago, American Samoa, looking for opportunity, but got more than they bargained for in the gang-enriched San Bernardino Valley. By the time they made the move, all five of their oldest sons were entrenched in the gang lifestyle. Two with devastating consequences.
“One of my brothers is in prison for life and the other has passed away,” said Siliga. “The late ’80s, early ’90s, the gang lifestyle in California was on the rise big time. My parents were like, ‘Let’s go to Utah. There are no gang problems over there.’ ”
Siliga never had to look far to see what his life would be like if he made poor choices. He grew up watching his three other brothers — Michael, Sofa and Mo — get out of the lifestyle, and he’s also stayed in contact with his imprisoned brother.
“I write letters and stuff and that’s probably the closest I’ve gotten to him. I haven’t seen him since I was 1 year old,” Siliga said. “He’s been in there a long time. He’s the second oldest. He got caught up deep in the lifestyle and it put him behind bars for life. He’s in there for some bad stuff.”
Michael, Sofa and Mo, who range from 15-20 years older than Sealver, didn’t want their younger brother to make the same mistakes.
“Seeing what they went through, it put a guideline in front of me,” Siliga said. “So I mean, I do this, this is going to happen. If I do the opposite, who knows what’s going to happen?”
Going to Utah didn’t solve everything.
Siliga’s father, who seriously injured both knees, was unable to work so his mother supported a house of seven. Working day and night at Shafter Beverages, she put clothes on her children’s backs and food on their table. She worked so much there were days Siliga didn’t see her. So when it came to football, Siliga worked hard in hopes he could support his family.
University of Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham described Siliga as the type of player a college coach dreams of having. The defensive tackle worked hard to lose 60 pounds so he could play as a true freshman. He quickly became a leader and a force.
“He was really a motivated, driven individual and really wanted to succeed,” Whittingham said. “He had a burning desire to succeed.”
That desire was fueled by his family’s hard times. After his junior year, Siliga turned pro to help his loved ones financially.
“They had some struggles. There’s no doubt,” Whittingham said. “And that’s part of the reason Sealver decided to come out early. One of the primary reasons was so he could help out his family and try to give them some support.”
Siliga earned an opportunity with the Patriots after injuries to Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly. He made the most out of it, finishing with 23 tackles and three sacks in five games. Tonight, he’ll make his postseason debut against the Colts.
It wasn’t easy to get to this point, but Siliga knew if his family could fight through the hard times, so could he.
“It helped me with dedication,” Siliga said. “Even when things look hard, knowing that if I keep pushing, it’ll work out.”
Brian Lima Quits in Shame
Wellington - Retired rugby star Brian Lima has resigned as defence coach of the Samoan national team after his arrest for an alleged assault on his former wife.
The Samoa Observer newspaper said Samoa Rugby Union chairman Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi confirmed receiving a letter in which Lima resigned from "all active roles."
The newspaper said Lima will appear in court on Monday to face charges of causing actual bodily harm and being armed with a dangerous weapon.
The charges follow an alleged assault by Lima on his wife Lemalu Sina Retzlaff, former president of the Samoa Chamber of Commerce, at a local bar.
Lima, a member of the International Rugby Board Hall of Fame, has 65 test caps and is the only Samoa player to have appeared in five World Cups.
By Sport 24
Three Samoans: Iupati, Cameron, & Polamalu are selected to play in the 2013 NFL Pro Bowl Game.
By Albert Ainuu
Troy Polamalu who plays Strong Safety for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Jordan Cameron who is a Tight End for the Cleveland Browns and Mike Iupati who is a Guard for the San Francisco 49ers were selected to be in the 2013 All Pro Game for the NFL which is played in Hawaii. This prestigious selection to the Pro Bowl is the NFL's way of saying that these were the best players in the NFL at their respective positions. For Troy Polamalu this is his 8th time in the Pro Bowl. Mike Iupati has been in the league for two years and has been a Pro Bowl player both years. For Jordan Cameron this is his first year being selected to the Pro Bowl. Haloti Ngata, a Tongan who plays Nose Guard for the Baltimore Ravens was also selected to the Pro Bowl.
Jordan Cameron has had a great 2013 season emerging as a premiere Tight End in the tough AFC North Division. Interestingly enough he has to go up against the Steelers Troy Polamalu twice a season because they are in the same division. They also play Domata Peko and Rey Maualuga of the Cincinnati Bengals two times a year not to mention Haloti Ngata of the Ravens. The level of competition is extremely difficult in this division as evidenced by the fact that the Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens are also from this division. He has only been in the league for two years but already has 101 catches for 1107 yards or an 11 yard per catch average.
Mike Iupati was a first round selection by the San Francisco 49ers in 2012 who believe in the value of Samoan Offensive Linemen ever since Jesse Sapolu anchored the 49ers O-line during their glory years with Joe Montana and Steve Young. He has definitely brought Hamo power back to the Bay Area as the lead blocker for Frank Gore and the protection for 49er Quarterback Colin Kaepernik. At 6-5 (1.96m) and 330 lbs (150 kg) Mike is a huge advantage for San Francisco when moving the ball. He clears the path for the tough yards and opens holes for the running backs to dart through. Its no coincidence that the 49ers have made it to the Superbowl in his first year playing and are contending to return to the "game" in his second year.
Troy Polamalu has been in the NFL for 10 years. The only years he was not selected to the Pro Bowl are 2009 and 2012 when he was injured and did not complete the season. As a part of the powerful Steeler Defense, Troy brings an element of surprise and creativity that always entertains and at times baffles the prognosticators as they watch him do amazing feats of strength and speed with sheer audacity on the field. His play has been a staple for 10 years in a position that requires both speed (he ran a 4.33) and power. He has been featured in many devastating hits on the field that have provided dire consequences for the opposing team's offense. He has also intercepted the opposing quarterback 32 times during his career.
Its an amazing feat for these Samoan athletes to be counted among the best in the world at the top of the game's best athletes. It shows the world that we may come from a speck in the Pacific Ocean with a population of less than 500,000 but we have the physical characteristics and heart to be competitive in any setting. Our hats go off as we salute these athletes triumphant season and the hard work it takes to make such a contribution to their teams. It is also a testament to the Samoan and Polynesian attitude of "never give up." Congratulations to these great athletes and we wish them even more success as they continue to play in the NFL. As we say in Samoa: "Ia tafe toto ou ala." For warriors, "May blood flow before you on your path."
Aviva Premiership: Northampton Saints sign Samoa full-back Fa'atoina Autagavaia
Northampton have confirmed the signing of Samoa international Fa'atoina Autagavaia to cover for the loss of Ben Foden.
The full-back has made eight appearances for Samoa since making his debut in the summer of 2012, and he featured in the autumn internationals against Ireland and Georgia.
Autagavaia caught the eye against Wales in November last year, running in a try in the opening minute to set up a stunning upset victory at the Millennium Stadium.
The 25-year-old has also played for Northland in the 2013 ITM Cup, and he joins the Saints under the injury dispensation rule with Foden sidelined by a knee injury and James Wilson also unavailable due to a calf problem.
Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder said: "Fa'atoina has shown over the past 18 months that he has the ability to succeed at international level.
"So we are confident that he'll be able to fit in at Franklin's Gardens, especially alongside the Pisi brothers and Kahn Fotuali'i.
"With Ben Foden and James Wilson both out of action we're a bit light at full back, so Fa'atoina will add to our strength in depth in what is a crucial position."
He added: "Fa'atoina has shown over the past 18 months that he has the ability to succeed at international level.
"So we are confident that he'll be able to fit in at Franklin's Gardens, especially alongside the Pisi brothers and Kahn Fotuali'i."
Autagavaia, who moves from Northland, has gained eight caps for Samoa over the past 18 months, including the recent autumn internationals against Ireland and Georgia.
The 25-year-old scored a first-minute try against Wales in November 2012 that set Samoa on the way to victory at the Millennium Stadium.
Story by Sky Sports and Bangkok Post
Abe Markowitz playing for USC in the Las vegas Bowl 2013.
By Johnny Curren | ESPNLosAngeles.com
The Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl-bound Trojans got a taste of the glitz and glamour of the Strip following the team’s practice on Sunday, but it’s likely that Abe Markowitz never had a clue. Because while many of his teammates took part in a post-workout photo opportunity with a pair of showgirls, the 6-foot-1, 305-pound center/guard was off on the far side of the field getting some extra work in. By the time he made his way toward the exit, all of the commotion had long since ended.
“There’s practice and the set schedule of things we do in it every day, but if you have something to work on that isn’t in that schedule, you need to make the time and work on it,” Markowitz said. “Today, that’s what I was doing, and hopefully it helps the team out.”
Sixth-year senior OL Abe Markowitz, who will play his final game for USC in the Las Vegas Bowl, says "I just want to be remembered as a guy who chased his dream."
It’s that blue-collar, no-nonsense work ethic that has served Markowitz well in his long and winding career at USC, as he’s shown the consistent ability to step up for his team whenever he’s been called upon. And now, withMarcus Martin sidelined with a knee injury, the sixth-year senior will see his efforts pay off one last time when he lines up as the Trojans’ starting center against Fresno State on Dec. 21.
“I’m trying not to let my emotions get involved in anything,” said Markowitz, who will be making the third start of his career, and the first of 2013. “Every game this season, I’ve prepared like I was a starter -- that’s what you do here. That showed, unfortunately, in the UCLA game when Marcus got hurt, and I stepped right in and fulfilled my role for the team. So, this is just another week for me. Maybe in a couple of months when I’m done with my USC experience I can look back and see how special of an experience this was, but right now we’re all just locked in.”
The Honolulu Punahou product has certainly made his mark for the Trojans, but his career has been anything but conventional.
Markowitz, whose grandfather, Larry, also played football for the Trojans, and whose father, Barry, played across town at UCLA, chose to walk on at USC in 2008 despite holding scholarship offers from the likes of Michigan State and Miami (Ohio). Quickly making a name for himself on the practice field, he was awarded a scholarship in 2010. Ultimately missing that season as well as the next with foot injuries, Markowitz came back to enjoy an extremely productive 2012 campaign, registering two starts and serving a crucial function as a more-than-reliable reserve.
Originally informed following last season that the Trojans no longer had room for him due primarily to an issue involving scholarship limitations stemming from NCAA sanctions, he was close to landing at the University of Hawaii in the offseason before, in a surprise turn of events, he was eventually cleared to rejoin the team at USC in July after gaining a sixth year of eligibility. And while he would no longer be on scholarship, for Markowitz, who had developed deep roots at the university, the simple fact that he was able to remain a Trojan was what counted most
“I love this place and I’ve definitely enjoyed being here,” said Markowitz, who took out a loan to help pay for his final semester of college. “Just being in Southern California, the weather, the culture, my grandparents live here, and I just wanted to finish here.”
Markowitz’s return also afforded him the opportunity to realize a dream of playing in front of family and friends in his home state when the Trojans took on the Rainbow Warriors in Honolulu in this year’s opener. A contest in which he filled in at right guard for a significant portion of the game, it stands out as one of the highlights of his time at USC.
“I got to play a lot in front of my home fans there,” said Markowitz, who also participated as a shot putter and discus thrower on the USC track and field program. “My parents were there, old neighbors, people that had really helped me out in high school, and that was really big for me. That was a special thing that I wanted to do, and part of coming back was playing in that game in Hawaii.”
And now Markowitz, who is hoping to get a shot at the NFL, is on the cusp of finishing his USC career off in fitting style when the Trojans take on the Bulldogs in less than a week. And while he’s determined to do everything he can leading up to the contest to ensure that he’s prepared, when it comes to the long-term, it’s safe to say that his legacy is already set in stone.
“I just want to be remembered as a guy who chased his dream,” Markowitz said. “I’ve had my few opportunities, and this is my last one. I want kids to know that if they want to chase their dream of walking on some place, then they should do that, because as long as you have the work ethic, and you surround yourself with people that believe in your dream, you can achieve whatever you want.”
Abe is the Grandson of Muagututi'a Ie'u Mariner of Sapapalii. Tune in to watch USCs center tomorrow DEC 21 SAT Las Vegas Bowl - Fresno State Bulldogs vs USC Trojans. I just checked for Tickets but all sold out.
The game is at Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, NV Saturday, December 21, 2013 12:30PM.
IRB helping American Samoa prepare for Hong Kong 7s
Posted at 23:03 on 16 December, 2013 UTC
American Samoa is receiving assistance from the International Rugby Board to further develop players as the territory’s national team, Talavalu, prepares for next year’s Hong Kong Sevens.
The IRB has offered the American Samoa Rugby Union seven slots for selected players to train and learn more about rugby in Fiji.
ASRU board member, Peseta Sa Mavaega, told Samoa News that the IRB will pay for all expenses such as room and board, as well as travel.
He says these types of training offered by IRB will help players develop skills and learn more about the sports of rugby, which has undergone major development in American Samoa in the last three years.
ASRU plans to select it’s national team for Hong Kong in February next year.
News Content © Radio New Zealand International
PO Box 123, Wellington, New Zealand
Viane Talamaivao and Damien Mama playing in this weekend's LA City Championship Game Are Highly recruited because they play hard but study even harder.
By Lupeuluiva T. Smith
December 9, 2013--CA
There is no doubt that Samoans have immensely made notable strides in all levels of the football realm. Naturally, for Samoan athletes, they are insanely built and designed for Gridiron football.
You would find that on almost every Defensive and Offensive lines of most football programs, presents a group of fearless, strong, Samoan 'warriors' grinding in the trenches.
Paralleled to their intimidating sizes and aggressive force on the football field are equally prodigious brilliant minds who are also combative in the classroom.
Such acute discipline for academic, hand-in-hand, with athletic skills have been the ultimate tools at play for the success of the two standout seniors, out of California, namely Viane Talamaivao and Damien Mama.
Both are very good friends with promising college careers. Football Recruiters nationwide have been hot on their trails, which makes them the most sought-after duo, by many top Pac-12 and SEC universities around the country.
Talamaivao is finishing up his senior year at Corona Centennial High School. A 4. 0 GPA athlete-scholar and an Offensive Guard lineman for the Huskies, who recently helped his team win their 2013 CIF Title.
He was the MVP O-Lineman for The Nike Opening 2012 and an Honoree for an All-American Army Bowl 2014.
Talamaivao has been offered numerous college athletic-scholarships; however, he has verbally committed to the University of Southern California anticipating a degree in business.
In addition, Damien Mama is a five-star, massive Offensive Guard lineman who is also a senior at Bellflower St. John Bosco High School. An outstanding student and an impressive scholar-athlete who also led his team to a CIF 2013 title.
Mama was MVP O-Lineman of The Nike Opening 2013 and an All
In addition, Damien Mama, is a five-star massive, Offensive lineman who is also a senior at Bellflower St. John Bosco High School. An outstanding student and an impressive scholar-athlete who also led his team to a CIF 2013 win.
Mama was MVP Offensive lineman for The Nike Opening 2013 and an All- American Army Bowl 2014 honoree. He has received offers from every university imaginable, yet he remains uncommitted until he fulfills all his official visits with respective colleges.
Both young men have been exceptional examples of hard work and dedication on-and-off-the-field, for they have mastered the art of balancing sports and studies.
Ideally, they are classic examples for all future young Samoan athletes to emulate. With the demand of Samoans to fill football rosters around the country, it is imperative that athletes must dominate the football turf and shine in the class room, too.
In fact studies also suggests that a football career is very short-lived compared to a college degree that will go far.
Interestingly, seniors Talamaivao and Mama will grace the turf one more time to finish off their high school football season with a matchup game for the regional title.
Corona Centennial Huskies takes on St. John Bosco Braves on Saturday 14, 2013. The winning team plays De La Salle High School for the State Title. We wish them both the best in the future. As for the game this Saturday enjoy it. We encourage our Los Angeles readers to come down to support these great teams.
Washington selects Marques Tuiasosopo as interim coach
December 5, 2013
SEATTLE (AP) — Washington selected former quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo as their interim head coach on Wednesday for the Huskies' upcoming bowl game after Steve Sarkisian left to take the head coaching job at USC.
Washington athletic director Scott Woodward announced the decision following an afternoon team meeting. Tuiasosopo was Washington's quarterbacks coach this past season and met with Woodward earlier in the day when he was offered the interim job.
"I'm humbled and so honored," Tuiasosopo said in an announcement from the school. "It's a great, incredible honor to lead my alma mater in a bowl game. We still have a lot to play for this season. I am excited to go out and get a ninth win."
The 34-year-old Tuiasosopo was a star quarterback at Washington from 1997-2000, leading the Huskies to a Rose Bowl title after the 2000 season.
Tuiasosopo spent the 2012 season on the coaching staff of Jim Mora at UCLA as an assistant tight ends coach before returning to Seattle last year to take the role of coaching Washington's quarterbacks.
Tuiasosopo spent parts of six seasons in the NFL playing for the Oakland Raiders. His first venture into coaching came in 2010 when he joined the staff at Washington as an assistant strength coach.
The decision to elevate Tuiasosopo to the interim job does leave in question the status of defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox, who was thought to be a potential permanent replacement following Sarkisian's departure.
There's been talk that Sarkisian wants Wilcox to join him at USC. But Wilcox's contract with Washington includes a $1 million buyout if he leaves for another conference school.
"Whatever decision is made we're going to roll with it," Washington quarterback Keith Price said earlier this week. "We're going to perform at the best of our abilities."
The Huskies are expected to return to practice later this week in preparation for their bowl game. No bowl announcement is expected until Sunday, although the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco seems to be the front-running destination.
Washington is coming off its best season since 2001 winning eight games in the regular season with a chance at a ninth win in the bowl game.
Oregon QB Marcus Mariota will return for junior season
Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY Sports
6:27 p.m. EST December 3, 2013
After a disappointing close to the regular season, Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota will return for another run at the Heisman Trophy, the Rose Bowl and, perhaps, the national championship.
Once the leading contender for the 2013 Heisman Trophy before injuries limited his effectiveness, Mariota has decided to return to Oregon for his junior season, the university announced Tuesday.
As a third-year sophomore — he redshirted in 2011, his first season on campus — Mariota is eligible for the NFL draft. Scouts Inc. rated Mariota the No. 3 overall player available with a 96 grade, and ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. rated him the No. 5 overall player available.
In deciding to return to Eugene, Mariota bolsters the Ducks' chances of reclaiming the Pac-12 championship after a frustrating second half to 2013. Oregon went 2-2 in November, dropping from No. 2 in the USA TODAY Sports Coaches Poll to the outer fringes of the Bowl Championship Series race.
"It is an honor to be a student at the University of Oregon and to have the opportunity to represent our institution on the football field alongside my teammates," Mariota said in a university news release. "I look forward to earning my degree next year and to the rest of my career at this great University."
Mariota has been hampered by a knee injury since a 42-14 win against UCLA on Oct. 26. In the Ducks' last four games — including losses to Stanford and Arizona — he has completed less than 60% of his attempts twice, tossed his only four interceptions on the year and accounted for only 71 rushing yards on 25 carries.
Mariota threw for 3,412 yards and 30 touchdowns despite the sluggish close to the regular season, setting a school season record with 3,994 yards of total offense —.and standing as the only quarterback on the automatic-qualifying level to throw for at least 30 touchdowns in each of the last two years.
His superb statistical season earned Mariota first-team all-Pac-12 honors for the second year in a row. He is the first Pac-12 quarterback to earn matching honors in back-to-back years since former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck in 2010 and 2011, and the first Oregon quarterback to do so since Chris Miller in 1985 and 1986.
Oregon also announced that center Hroniss Grasu, a three-year starter, would return for his senior season. Also a first-team all-conference pick, Grasu is expected to earn All-America honors for the second year in a row.
"I'm extremely happy to be returning for my senior year," Grasu said. "To be a student-athlete in this community is an honor and an experience I'll continue to cherish with my teammates."
Tafuna Wins ASHSAA Football trophy for 2013
Tafuna Warriors senior captains along with Gov. Lolo M. Moliga pose with the coveted ASHSAA Football Perpetual Trophy after defeating the Samoana Sharks 44-6 in Saturday's Varsity Championship game. It was back-to-back championship wins for the Warriors. Video highlights of this year's championship game online tomorrow.
VATIA WINS SECOND FAUTASI RACE THIS YEAR
By Tony Gasu
Le Manu Fe’ai chewed up its opponents in the Ocean Challenge Fautasi Race this past Wednesday morning, after what has become a given — yet another bad start to a fautasi race. The Fuao from Vatia is the reigning champion from this year’s Flag Day Fautasi Race and now they have another notch in their oars. Pago Pago’s Aeto was a hot contender to beat the Fuao and it was a sharply contested race between the two boats.
Despite a seven-boat field, it looked like a two fautasi race most of the way.
At the start of the race, Samoa News witnessed that it was the Matasaua II that arrived last at the starting line and headed towards their assigned lane before the boat was behind the starting line where all registered competitors were awaiting their arrival, along with the “Big Bang” for the start of the race.
As Manu’a was set up way in front, Samoa News witnessed Aua’s Paepaeulupo’o and Fagatogo’s Ise’ula starting to move forward – pass the starting line, to try and get even with the Matasaua II, but when these two competitors made their moves forward, the majority of the remaining boats started to move forward as well – which led to the unofficial start of the race this past Wednesday morning.
Heading out towards the Eastern Bay Area, a majority of the boats were bunched up ahead, but just passed the cannery area, the Aeto from Pago Pago and the Fuao from Vatia took over the race and strong-armed their way out in front to compete in a race that almost looked like it was just between the two boats, and in reality it was.
At the turning point heading back into the harbor there was no question which boat made that turn better, as the Fuao’s design lent itself better to a sharp turn with it’s stern cut straight off, and not slanted like all the other fautasi in the race. (Samoa News notes that Fuao and Samoana High School’s boats are the only two remaining Fautasi in American Samoa with this design, which was crafted by boat builder, Maselino.)
Heading towards the finish line with about 300 yards remaining, Captain Va’amua Henry Sesepasara and his Aeto crew made their move to pass leading Vatia, gaining a seat with every stroke – this is Pago Pago’s strong suit and where they put on the power every year as we all have witnessed.
Apparently the Eagle Spirits didn’t want the win as much as Vatia. Captain Gaoteote ordered his crew to a strong finishing stroke and the Fuao seemed like it was running with a 700-horse power inboard engine the way they flew to the finish line.
Samoa News spoke to Vatia’s Captain Gaoteote Pala’ie after the race, and he said he depended on nothing but the manpower that was in front of him – his crew, “I asked my ‘foe-mua’ Vai’olo Taliga, if he was nervous with Pago Pago’s vessel closing in, but he was calm and said to me along the way not to worry, that we had this race. I knew Aeto’s boat is not one to fool around with,” said Gaoteote.
He added, “Captain Va’amua and his crew are feared by most competitors because of their dominating power in the smooth areas inside the harbor, heading back to the finish line. But my heart believed that my crew was strong, fit, and ready for the situation. But it was a big challenge when it came down to us and the Aeto.”
He stated, “I depended on my crew at the very moment I saw at the corner of my view, Pago Pago’s boat gaining fast towards the finish line. At that point, I knew that this is a situation where I can no longer depend on the boat, but my crew and their power were the only thing that could make us fly to the finish line, if they were willing to win – and it was proven, their spirits and strength put together pushed us farther than expected.”
When Samoa News asked Gaoteote what he thought of the start of the race, Gaoteote said, “Aua o le mea moni, e ‘ese tala e fai i uta, ese tala e fai i tai.”
He added, “That is the big problem with these races. We were behind our designated lane, with Pago Pago who was right next to us, and Fagasa that was two lanes down from us. But when I saw some of the opposing crews rowing forward, we sat and awaited the signal for the start.”
“Awaiting for the signal when majority of these other boats were already rowing their beginning sets, alarmed me and caused me to move forward – Only a stupid captain would wait for the starting signal, when everyone took off already, because this is not the first time this has happened, and there never was a race that was coordinated in the proper way from start to finish.”
He mentioned to Samoa News some advice he would like to give to help the committee with future fautasi races because, “I don’t understand the situation of these meetings we have with all the captains and the committee, and we never abide by these agreements when everyone is settled into their competing boats, ready to take off.”
He added, “I know for a fact, that the committee themselves cannot do this alone. It won’t matter if there is a designed starting line, or if the committee even tries to hold the starting line, if a captain or a skipper decides not to follow regulations...”
“I believe that if all the captains take into consideration the preparations of the committee and the agreements on the race, everything would run smoothly, because it takes teamwork on both sides to make something work fairly – In our culture, we call a boat captain stupid, if all the other boats are moving forward, and he’s still holding back to regulations that have already been violated by all competitors in the race.”
As the village of Vatia celebrates their second Fautasi victory this year, Captain Gaoteote told Samoa News that, “The only thing I pride today, and has made me very happy, that despite the fact that we and Pago Pago were behind everyone, we managed to climb to the front and win this race. So as long as we won, I’m fine with it.”
He concluded, “I would like to acknowledge Captain Va’amua Sesepasara and his crew, for a competitive race today. They were the only ones who I was worried about coming into the race, they were the only ones next to us behind everyone else, and they were the only ones who kept us on our toes the whole way down to the finish line – I totally forgot that there were other boats in this race,” concluded Captain Gaoteote.
Sonny Bill Williams is named 2013 Rugby League international federation Player of the year
SONNY Bill Williams was last night named Rugby League International Federation Player of the Year for 2013.
The New Zealand and Sydney Roosters forward, who played at Warrington Wolves' Halliwell Jones Stadium last month when representing New Zealand against Samoa in the Rugby League World Cup, received the sport’s most prestigious individual honour at the RLIF’s gala dinner at the Lowry Hotel in Manchester, where he was joined by many of the stars of Rugby League World Cup 2013.
Warrington Wolves' Joel Monaghan and Micky Higham were in the running for positional awards but missed out.
For Williams, the award crowns a remarkable first season back in Rugby League.
He returned to the sport at the turn of the year after a five-year absence in rugby union and professional boxing.
Williams was a key figure in the Sydney Roosters team that won the club’s first NRL Grand Final for over a decade and has been an integral part of the New Zealand side that is looking to complete a successful defence of the World Cup trophy against Australia in the final of RLWC2013 at Old Trafford on Saturday (2.30pm).
The 28-year-old is the first Kiwi to win the International Player of the Year award, which has been won by Australian players since its inception in 2008 – Billy Slater (2008 and 2011), Jarryd Hayne (2009), Todd Carney (2010) and Cameron Smith (2012).
He held off stiff competition from the two other shortlisted players, Super League Man of Steel and Scotland half-back Danny Brough of Huddersfield Giants, and Greg Inglis, the South Sydney Rabbitohs and Australia full-back, to win the coveted international award.
All three players were also named in their respective positions in the 2013 International Team of the Year, a side selected on performances at club and representative level between October 2012 and November 2013.
The Team of the Year also features England and South Sydney front rower Sam Burgess, the 2013 Prop of the Year who is joined by a third Rabbitoh in Issac Luke, the Hooker of the Year.
The Burgess family had double cause for celebration with George Burgess being named International Rookie of the Year, an award open to players aged 21 or under who made their Test debut during the voting period.
Sydney Roosters have a second representative in the Team of the Year with Roger Tuivasa-Sheck joining his fellow countryman Sonny Bill Williams as Winger of the Year.
The NRL champions also received further recognition of their momentous year with Trent Robinson being named International Coach of the Year following his hugely successful debut season at the club since joining them from Catalan Dragons.
Robinson won the award ahead of a current Super League coach, Shaun Wane of Wigan Warriors, and another former Super League coach, Wane’s predecessor, Michael Maguire, the coach of South Sydney.
Australian official Ben Cummins was named International Referee of the Year for a second successive year.
The awards are determined by an international judging panel comprising journalists, broadcasters and former international players drawn from both the northern and southern hemispheres.
Former BARLA chief executive Maurice Oldroyd was presented with the RLIF Spirit of Rugby League Award in recognition of his commitment to international development over more than four decades.
The winners of the 2013 RLIF International Player of the Year awards are:
International Player of the Year: Sonny Bill Williams (Sydney Roosters and New Zealand)
International Coach of the Year: Trent Robinson (Sydney Roosters and Australia)
International Rookie of the Year: George Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs and England)
International Referee of the Year: Ben Cummins (Australia)
Spirit of Rugby League Award: Maurice Oldroyd
INTERNATIONAL TEAM OF THE YEAR
Full-back: Greg Inglis (South Sydney and Australia)
Winger: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (Sydney Roosters and New Zealand)
Centre: Jamie Lyon (Manly)
Stand-off: Danny Brough (Huddersfield Giants and Scotland)
Scrum-half: Daly Cherry-Evans (Manly and Australia)
Prop: Sam Burgess (South Sydney and England)
Hooker: Issac Luke (South Sydney and New Zealand)
Second row: Sonny Bill Williams (Sydney Roosters and New Zealand)
Loose forward: Corey Parker (Brisbane Broncos and Australia)
Alex Leapai earns shot at world heavyweight title upsetting number one contender Denis Boytsov.
Posted Sun 24 Nov 2013, 12:39pm AEDT, AAP
Australia's Alex "The Lionheart" Leapai has sent shockwaves through the world heavyweight boxing division with a huge upset win over previously unbeaten WBO number one contender Denis Boytsov in Germany.
The Samoa-born Queensland-based slugger knocked Russian Boytsov (33-1, 26 KOs) down twice in Bamberg early on Sunday (AEDT), on the way to earning a unanimous 10-round points win.
Two judges scored it 96-92 and their colleague 98-90, as Leapai retained the WBO Asia Pacific title and recorded the most significant win of his career.
The win puts eighth-ranked Leapai right in the mix for a challenge to WBO and WBA champion Wladimir Klitschko.
It was a fifth-straight victory for Leapai (30-4-3, 24 KOs), who has lost just one of his last 23 fights since 2008.
At 34, seven years older than Boytsov, Leapai knocked the younger man down in both the seventh and the ninth and pummelled his opponent in the 10th.
LOGAN delivery driver Alex Leapai has created Queensland sporting history and will fight for the heavyweight boxing championship of the world against Ukraine's Olympic gold medallist Wladimir Klitschko.
Leapai scored a punishing 10-round decision over German-based Russian Denis Boytsov in Bamberg, Germany this morning to become the top contender for the imperious world champ.
The Brisbane strongman dropped the previously unbeaten Boytsov twice in winning a lopsided decision.
Boytsov went into the fight as the No. 1 contender for Klitschko's WBO title, having never lost in 33 starts after a stellar amateur career that also saw him hold a world junior championship.
But he could not handle the physical strength and brute force of the crude but effective 111kg powerhouse from Brisbane.
A weary Boytsov was down in rounds seven and nine.
Leapai took the decision 98-90 and 96-92 (twice) and burst into tears at the decision.
His manager Noel Thornberry will begin negotiating for the Klitschko fight tomorrow.
No Queenslander has ever fought for the greatest prize in boxing.
Tim Cahill to Captain the Aussie Socceroos in Soccer World Cup
The Socceroos may have ushered in a new era on Tuesday night but it was old hand Tim Cahill who got Australia over the line.
Cahill headed his way into history in the 1-0 win over Costa Rica at Allianz Stadium, equalling Damian Mori's all-time Socceroos goal-scoring record of 29.
And now the 33-year-old is out to break it.
"I'm very proud ... to get the record with Damian Mori is a special time," he said.
"So now there's something there to be broken for the next few games or maybe the next World Cup.
"But I'm definitely very proud because it's a big honour to play for your country and get records like that."
In an effort to trial new players in his first match at the helm, coach Ange Postecoglou started Mathew Leckie and Dario Vidosic up front while the likes of regular starters Cahill and Josh Kennedy sat on the bench.
Cahill came on for Leckie with just over half an hour to play and, like so many times before, he proved the difference.
But he said he doesn't have to be in the starting 11 to have an impact.
"You have to see the bigger picture," he said.
"The boss said the core of the boys have to stick together through thick and thin regardless of players not starting, it's going to be about 23 players going into this Word Cup, maybe 30.
"So I feel if you don't want to join the ride and join the group mentality then you might as well get off now because it's not about one player.
"In the campaign I had in 2006, I played a part even though I was on the bench and through the last campaign in 2010 it was the same scenario.
"Now as you get older it's more about being experienced and helping the boss do what we're here to do and that's to progress as a team."
Postecoglou has stressed the importance of playing regular first-team football for anyone vying to be part of the World Cup squad.
Cahill has been impressive with the New York Red Bulls, scoring 13 goals in 43 appearances since joining the side from Everton in July last year.
Last month he netted the fastest goal in Major League Soccer history with his seven-second strike against Houston Dynamo.
And he feels his form is as good as ever.
"I've always felt great because I've played just under 50 games domestically this year," he said.
"My job is to make the manager's job hard by playing as many games as possible and being in the best form."
The ALOHA WORLD SEVENS venue will be the 50,000-seat Aloha Stadium, Hawai’i’s most prestigious sports facility. It is also the largest stadium site for any major annual Rugby tournament in the United States.
ESPN 1420 AM Radio or NBC Sports Radio 1500 AM in Honolulu will broadcast live over the Internet selected high profile AWS matches each of the three days of the ALOHA WORLD SEVENS tournament, including the Men’s and Women’s semi-finals and final AWS championship matches.
“USA Rugby enthusiastically supports the initiative and hard work behind the development of the ALOHA WORLD SEVENS (AWS) international championship tournament. We have been working with them for over a year,” said Nigel Melville, President and Chief Executive Officer for USA Rugby, adding that “there is so much talent and untapped potential for development of the sport in Hawaii.”
Melville noted that “many former USA Eagles Sevens and 15’s national team members have come from Hawai’i and they have proudly represented the state and our country. The ALOHA WORLD SEVENS will only encourage and foster more talented Rugby players for the Eagles.’
One of the rationales for holding the tournament in Hawaii has to include the proximity of a large Pacific Island population living there. Samoans, Fijians, Tongans, and Maoris have all migrated to Hawaii, a destination for many college bound students and families. These are hard core Rugby fans and many played rugby before they played any other sport growing up in their homelands.
McKay Schwenke, AWS Co-Founder, Executive Vice President and Tournament Director, said “our AWS tournament will actively reach out to various ethnic communities and consular offices in Hawai’i to support their representative teams from visiting countries.
Hawaii's location, which is conveniently situated between the Mainland and Asia allows teams from the Pacific Rim from New Zealand to Japan to South America easy access to the tournament. The teams that will be invited include: USA, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, France, England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Kenya, Hong Kong, Argentina, Italy, Japan, China, United Arab Emirates, Brazil, Canada, Philippines, Spain, Portugal, Russia, Uruguay, Georgia, Namibia, Romania, South Korea, Belgium, Zimbabwe, Tunisia, Netherlands, Cook Islands, and American Samoa.
For those fans from American Samoa this will be a unique opportunity to see the Talavalu play. This will be a first for Talavalu if they participate and AWS anticipates American Samoan fans will be in large attendance to support their team as will other Pacific Islanders including Independent Samoa supporters, many of whom live in Hawaii.
Unlike virtually all other Rugby-related tournaments and events worldwide noted for the sport’s fun “beer-drinking culture”, the ALOHA WORLD SEVENS organizers will NOT serve alcoholic beverages in any of their official events and activities because of their specific youth Under-20 participant demographic.
“We have an obligation to ensure our competition is not marred by intoxicated, disruptive or unruly fans because of the presence of many families with young children,” McKay Schwenke concluded.
He will oversee all AWS tournament field functions. To ensure a higher standard of play and officiating, top referees for the AWS tournament certified by the IRB or USA Rugby will be flown in from outside Hawai’i. USA Rugby is assisting in selecting the best qualified officials for the tournament.
Schwenke noted “we are using the AWS international tournament as a stepping stone to highlight the non-contact Keiki Olympic Flag Rugby we plan to introduce to Hawai’i schools and various communities in the months leading up to our tournament. The objective is to develop better motor skills among Hawai’i’s children and youth in all through the various facets of the sport of rugby,” he added.
In his current capacity as Vice President of Adult Friends for Youth (AFY), McKay is passionate about adopting various forms of rugby – Sevens Rugby, Touch Rugby and regular tackle rugby – to promote health, wellness and increasing physical activity to help combat obesity, overweight and other health issues among children.
ALOHA WORLD SEVENS tickets will go on sale in November on Ticketmaster.com web site and through their worldwide offices, at the ALOHA WORLD SEVENS web site at www.AWSrugby.com and also at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu.
AWS EARLY BIRD TICKET PRICING: AWS Day Passes purchased by December 31, 2013, will be:
EARLY BIRD GENERAL ADMISSION (SIDELINE OPEN SEATING)
• $25 for Adults and $15 for Juniors (aged 5-11) on Thursday, June 5, 2014
• $25 for Adults and $15 for Juniors on Friday, June 6, 2014
• $35 for Adults and $30 for Juniors on Saturday, June 7, 2014
$70 for Adults and $40 for Juniors for 3-Day Combo Passes - June 5-7, 2014
EARLY BIRD RESERVED VIP 3-DAY COMBO PASSES (CLUB LEVEL)
• $120 for Adults and $90 for Juniors for 3-Day Combo Pass VIP reserved seating WITHOUT food and beverage service
• $490 for Adults and $370 for Juniors for 3-day Combo Pass VIP reserved seating WITH continuous food and beverage service included
AWS Tickets can be pre-booked at www.AWSrugby.com ticket sales web site link for best seating options. All AWS ticket prices will increase from January 1, 2014, when the AWS Early Bird ticket specials expire.
All questions and inquiries should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Manu Samoa lose to Ireland.
Ireland wore down an under-strength Samoa in the second half to run out comfortable winners in a scrappy opening autumn Test in Dublin.
Scrum domination help Ireland lead 14-6 by half-time with Peter O'Mahony running in a try for the home side. George Pisi's sin-binning was exploited by the Irish after the break as replacement Sean O'Brien notched a try. Debutant replacement Dave Kearney added two tries with Fergus McFadden also touching down as the Samoans tired. The game appeared a tricky start to the Joe Schmidt era as Ireland faced a Samoa side whose world ranking of seventh put them one place above the Irish. But the visitors were without several of their frontline players including Stade Francais centre Gavin Williams and Toulouse prop Census Johnston.
Debutant loose-head prop Jack McGrath earned a penalty by producing an impressive squeeze in the opening scrum which yielded Jackson's first successful penalty in the third minute. And McGrath's impressive work in the scrum then contributed to an early departure for Samoa tight-head Leicester's Logovi'i Mulipola who suffered a suspected calf injury. But while Ireland were dominant in the scrum, Samoa were showing the early enterprise in terms of ball in hand as Tusi Pisi and Alapat Leiua tested the Irish defence with a couple of runs from deep. Leiua's run forced Mike McCarthy to concede a penalty which fly-half Pisi slotted to level proceedings and Tommy Bowe then needed to produce a big tackle in his own 22 to halt centre George Pisi.
Ireland's scrum superiority set up a second successful Jackson penalty in the 21st minute with the Ulster youngster finding the target from over 40 metres. And Samoa's scrum struggles contributed to the game's opening try in the 26th minute after replacement James Johnston had been penalised by referee Steve Walsh. Jackson's penalty put play into the Samoan 22 and after Devin Toner had soared to win the line-out, the Irish pack rumbled over the line with O'Mahony getting the touchdown after a 20-yard shunt. However, the Samoans regrouped with Pisi slotting his second penalty after an O'Mahony infringement and the fly-half should have further reduced the Irish lead three minutes later when he struck the woodwork from the edge of the home 22. At that stage the Irish were struggling for fluency with Samoa's hooker Ole Avei getting through a power of work in the loose. But the Irish were able to extend their lead in first-half injury-time as Jackson slotted a tricky penalty from near the touchline after Samoan centre Pisi had been sin-binned for a tip tackle on Bowe following an Irish attack.
With the Samoans down to 14 men at the start of the second half, the Irish must have sensed the chance to score vital points. And the score duly came in the 47th minute as replacement O'Brien reached for the score after Brian O'Driscoll had chased down a clever Jackson kick and flicked the ball up between his legs to keep play alive. The closing quarter saw a plethora of Irish substitutions with new squad captain Paul O'Connell introduced for his first international appearance since the 2012 Six Nations contest against France. Tusi Pisi and Brando Vaaulu's nasty clash of heads ended both men's night prematurely, with Pisi receiving lengthy on-field treatment before being carried off on a stretcher.
Pisi's exit saw Northampton's Kahn Fotuali'i kicking Samoa's third penalty but the Irish responded with Rob Kearney setting up his debutant brother Dave to score in the corner. With gaps starting to appear in the Samoan defence, McFadden completed his industrious performance with a try after good work by Gordon D'Arcy and Dave Kearney then ran in his second try in the closing moments. Jackson missed the final conversion but his six out of eight kicking strike-rate and overall performance in open play suggests the Ulsterman represents genuine competition to Jonathan Sexton for the Ireland number 10 shirt.
Papaliitele Peter Fats Fatialofa is laid to rest.
Politics October-December, 2013
Tuā’au Kereti Māta’utia Jr.
Lene Tuaua takes on the US Government in a Citizenship lawsuit to grant American samoans U.S. Citizenship. The appeal takes on a new twist
Sat, 12/28/2013 - 8:55am
There is a new twist in the appeal by six American Samoans who filed their citizenship lawsuit, along with a California based Samoan organization against the federal government arguing that they are entitled to being U.S. citizens under a provision of the U.S. Constitution.
The lower court in June this year dismissed the lawsuit, and sided with the U.S. State Department, the federal government, and two officials of the U.S. State Department. The defendants have asked the appeals court in Washington D.C. to affirm the lower court’s decision.
However, on Dec. 20, a professor of law in the U.S., one Samuel Erman filed a notice with the appeals court of his intention to file an ‘amicus curiae’ (friend of the court) brief in support of the plaintiffs.
The notice states that in accordance with a provision of the federal court, Erman “will explain the concept of 'jus soil' citizenship in the United States.” Additionally, “this amicus brief may be joined by other professors and scholars of American citizenship.”
(According to Princeton University website , ‘jus soli’ — is Latin ‘for right of the soil’ — and is commonly known as birthright citizenship.)
As of last Friday, there were no other details filed by Erman with the appellate court.
Here is a summary of the case as it is detailed in the website www.equalrightsnow.org which supports the acquisition by all individuals in US territories, including American Samoa, the status of naturalized US citizen. This is a discussion of Lene Tuaua's case which is perhaps the most important case in the history of American Samoa since the U.S. takeover.
David Tua entering Politics next?
Boxer David Tua could be setting up a new political party, according to media reports. The heavyweight fighter's political ambitions were revealed on Twitter this afternoon by TVNZ reporter Jessica Mutch, who interviewed Tua in Auckland today. "David Tua has told me he's going to start a new Pacific Party and has a burning desire to get into national politics after boxing,'' she tweeted. His publicist Greg McCalman said Tua was focused on his upcoming fight. The 40-year-old is to fight Belarusian heavyweight Alexander Ustinov on November 16.
When told of Mutch's tweet, Mr McCalman said Tua may have said that to her. "I don't think that he'd make a statement like that if in fact it wasn't true,'' he said. "It's the first I've heard of it but having said that ... it's probably not beyond the bounds of possibility because David is very proud of his Samoan heritage, he's very into his Samoan heritage, and if he's got an eye on politics within that heritage, that's probably a real definite possibility.'' Tua was not immediately available for further comment today.Tua, who has two sons with his separated wife Robina Siteine-Tua, would not be the first boxer to make the move into politics. Ukrainian Vitali Klitschko, the reigning WBC heavyweight boxing champion, has been a member of the Ukrainian parliament since December last year. He is the leader of the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform political party, which has 40 members in Ukraine's parliament, and is campaigning to become Ukraine's president in the 2015 elections. Charismatic Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao, who has won several world titles, has been a congressman in the Philippines since 2010 and is running for a second term in congress this year. NZ Herald
Attorney General dismisses any "threat" to customary lands ownership.
October 3, 2013
Attorney General Aumua Ming Leung Wai has assured Samoa there is “no threat to the ownership of customary land.”
He has also reiterated the Government’s position over the leasing of such land, saying the idea is so that customary land can be “utilised for the benefit of our people but in a manner where ownership of such land remains” with them.
The Attorney General makes the point in response to questions from the Samoa Observer over Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi's letter to the banks.
The letter, dated 17 September 2013, was the subject of a story titled “P.M. demands ‘response’” published on Tuesday’s Samoa Observer.
With “Registration of mortgage over leases of Customary land” as the subject matter, the Prime Minister demanded a response from the banks to an earlier letter he wrote to them about the issue.
“There is only one constitutionally established legal counsel that the Independent State of Samoa recognizes on all matters pertaining to the correct interpretation of the Constitution of Samoa, and that is the opinion of the Attorney General in Office,” the letter reads.
“Any other legal opinion which differs from the Attorney General’s opinion is rubbish.”
Further, Tuilaepa cautions against the banks obtaining a “flawed opinion” on the subject matter.
“This Government cannot accept a situation where the development of this country via the leasing of its customary lands is being jeopardized because its Financial Institutions have erroneously adopted a flawed opinion despite the overwhelming evidence to support the Attorney General’s opinion.”
“There are many options open to Government to achieve the overarching goal for which the Alienation of Land 1965 was amended, but before we do so, we welcome your reactions.”
In his email yesterday, Aumua says: “My opinion is that a mortgage over a lease of customary land is possible.”
He explains that “since the mortgage is over the “leasehold interest” and not over the “land”, there is no threat to the ownership of customary land.”
“As such, there is no breach of the Constitution by having mortgages over leases of customary land.”
Asked to elaborate on what Prime Minister Tuilaepa was referring to in his letter to the banks, the Attorney General pointed out that Tuilaepa was referring “to the ability to register a mortgage over a lease of customary land.”
Explains Aumua: “Let me give you a scenario - investors who have a lease over a customary land can try to use their lease as security for a loan to build, for example, a hotel or beach fales.
“This means if the investor is unable to repay the loan, the mortgagee can take over the lease.
“Please note that such mortgages do not affect the ownership of customary land.
Mortgages over customary lands are not allowed by our Constitution and relevant Acts. But mortgages over the ‘leases’ of customary land are possible.”
Attorney General Aumua also gave another scenario.
“If my family sets up a company and leases our own customary land to the company, the company can go to a financial institution and offer the lease as security for a loan,” he explains.
“The loan funds obtained can be used by the company to build a hotel. If the company fails to repay the loan, the financial institution can take over the lease – and can either run the hotel or assign the lease to another company.
“All these dealings are subject to the terms and conditions of the lease and would terminate when the lease expires (unless terminated earlier).
“During the term of the lease, and of course, when the lease is terminated, ownership of the customary land remains with my family.
“This is why I disagree with the view by some that mortgages over leases of customary land will result in the loss of ownership of our customary land.”
According to Aumua, the current practise is that “we can lease our customary land.” As a matter of fact, Samoa has been leasing such lands since it became independent in 1962.
“Some of these leases have been accepted by some financial institutions to secure loans. Mortgages over leases of customary lands have been registered before,” says Aumua.
“We want our people to develop. Starting a business requires capital. Since we cannot mortgage our customary land to obtain capital, at least there is another option available and that is mortgages over leases of customary land.”
Lastly, Aumua says Prime Minister Tuilaepa is merely trying to help “our people.”
“Our PM is trying to help our people so that our customary land can be utilised for the benefit of our people, but in a manner where ownership of such land remains with our people.”
New Year begins with tragic deaths of family when car falls into sink hole in Tiavea-uta. Two are still missing.
By Samoa Observer
Photos by Samoa Observer
January 2, 2014
A frantic search for two missing passengers of a mini-van washed away by surging water at Tiavea-uta on Thursday morning continued into the early hours of last night.
Torrential rain and poor visibility were among the biggest challenges faced by the rescue team, which included the Police Force, Fire and Emergency Services Authority (FESA) workers and villagers from Ti’avea and Mutiatele, Aleipata.
At press time last night, Acting Police Commissioner, Tala’imanu Keti said they were determined to continue the search.
But he admitted that the conditions were tough.
“The water level is very high and the currents are strong which is making the search very difficult,” he said.
He added that the Police suspect the missing man and woman could have been swept into two waterfalls between Ti’aveauta and the lagoon.
“Right now, the water is very murky and that is another challenge. But we are trying our best.”
The Acting Commissioner identified the missing couple as Peteru Kolese, 61, and Laveatala Peteru, 65.
They were among seven passengers in the mini-van that drove into a ravine amidst torrential rain that led to flooding on Thursday morning.
The floods smashed through a ford at Tiavea-uta, cutting a massive hole in the middle of the road, through which the van fell into. The incident killed two people.
The deceased were yesterday identified as 3-year-old Lueli Brandon Iakopo Peteru and 37-year-old Kilifi Tulia.
The survivors of the crash, according to the Police are, Iakopo Paiaaua Peteru, 33, his brother Misi Peteru, 22, and a female relative, Fualaau Atina, 29.
The Peteru family is from Mutiatele, Aleipata.
According to the Police, the van driven by Iakopo Peteru was on its way back from the Faleolo Airport.
Iakopo is the father of Lueli. The missing Laveatala is the father of Iakop Peteru.
The family had gone to pick up Misi Peteru who had just returned from a church mission overseas.
“When they travelled to the airport, there was no crack on the road so he assumed that it was okay upon their return,” said Tala’imanu.
“But they weren’t aware that the river was running rampant and was overflowing heavily. The vehicle fell straight down into the river after the road collapsed due to heavy rain.”
Visesio Kelekolio, a resident of Tiavea-uta, helped the family on Thursday morning.
“No one was aware of the incident until the driver’s brother from overseas made his way up to the main road in search of help,” he said.
“There were no people on the road at that time since it was around 2am.”
Mr. Kelekolio said the injured Misi Peteru kept walking up hill until he came across a family’s house.
“He knocked on the door and asked for help – his face was all bloody.”
Misi then informed the family about what had happened to their vehicle.
When helpers arrived, two people remained stuck inside the badly damaged van. One was already dead, said Mr. Kelekolio.
The driver was swept further downstream and was thrown to the side of the river. That is where the villagers found him.
“Perhaps his leg was cut by some metal part of the vehicle but that was his only injury.”
Mr. Kelekolio confirmed that the ford was damaged during Cyclone Evan.
The road was not cracked but the sides had caved in.
“During heavy rains, the river usually flows over the road,” he said.
“This time, I think the river was just too strong that it collapsed the structure on the road, leaving a gaping hole.”
Mr. Kelekol io said that the government authorities were informed some time ago to fix the drainage pipe underneath the ford since it had become rotten over the years.
Thinking back about the incident, Mr. Kelekolio was overcome by grief.
“What a very sad start to this family’s New Year – we are sure the couple have died but we just need to be absolutely sure.”
At Mutiatele, the family declined to comment yesterday.
World Bank Group : World Bank Supports Building Resilient Coastal Communities in Samoa
WASHINGTON, D.C., December 27, 2013 - The World Bank's Board of Executive Directors today approved a US$14.6 million grant to help 45,000 Samoans who live in coastal communities adapt to climate change and climate variability. The Enhancing the Climate Resilience of Coastal Resources and Communities Project will develop and implement immediate adaptation activities to protect the lives and livelihoods of the people; protect infrastructure and environment; and increase awareness of climate change impacts and adaptation activities among communities, civil society and government.
"Coastal communities are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change in Samoa, and around 70% of Samoans live within 1 kilometer of the coastline." said Franz Drees-Gross, World Bank Country Director for Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste and the Pacific Islands. "The World Bank, through the Climate Investment Funds (CIF), is proud to support Samoa in these efforts to secure the future of coastal communities by investing in the adaptation measures that are needed to cope with the impacts of climate change today and for the longer-term."
The project will help strengthen the capacity of the targeted communities to update and implement local Coastal Infrastructure Plans (CIPs) and will focus on increasing the resilience of coastlines, near-shore areas, and coral reefs. Additionally, the project will work with civil society organizations and local leaders to improve the national climate information services, create public awareness of issues relating to climate resilience, and increase the availability of data for risk analysis, hazard mapping, and knowledge sharing.
The Independent State of Samoa consists of four inhabited and five uninhabited islands and has a population of around 195,000 people. Approximately 80 percent of Samoa's 403 km coastline is vulnerable to erosion, flooding, or landslides, making weather and climate-related events including tropical cyclones and storm surges a significant threat to Samoa's development. This project will operate in 16 districts on the two most populous islands, Upolu and Savai'i.
The Enhancing the Climate Resilience of Coastal Resources and Communities Project is being financed through a US$14.6 million grant from the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR) of the Strategic Climate Fund (PPCR), which is one of two funds within the framework of the Climate Investment Funds (CIF). The CIF is a multi-donor facility supported by fourteen countries.
Samoan farmers call for more help after cyclone
20 December 2013,
By Radio Australia
Samoan farmers say they're still waiting for long-term help, more than a year after Cyclone Evan struck.
The cyclone devastated the agriculture sector and caused hundreds of millions of dollars of damage across the country.
The Chairman of the Samoa Farmers Association Afamasaga Tole'afoa says farmers need a lot more help.
"They did receive some assistance from relief operations," he told Pacific Beat.
"Still there's a number of little programs going, but mainly focused at relief.
"They're not the long-term kinds of programs that will help the long-term recovery that's required."
Mr Tole'afoa says the cyclone compounded wider problems a struggling agriculture sector is already facing.
"Samoan agriculture has been underperforming, in fact in decline, for decades due to a number of reasons - the global economy, the market economy is opening up, markets are becoming more competitive, pest and diseases came in," he said.
"The agricultural sector has to readjust to the new realities of markets."
The Samoa Farmers Association says the World Bank has also promised help but it's yet to be seen.
He says work began a number of years ago on a program whereby farmers would be given loans by the World Bank.
Mr Tole'afoa says the farming sector is in urgent need of major changes.
"The challenge of economies like Samoa, and in this case we're talking about agriculture, is to move from what used to be a subsistence or semi-subsistence method of production and approach to farming, to a more commercially orientated (method) so it can be more competitive in today's economy," he said.
"And be able to export and compete against other economies and other producers."
But the Samoa Farmers Association remains sceptical about whether the government understands the enormity of the task.
"We're not really sure whether the officialdom fully appreciates the need for a sustained support for farmers to be able to do the type of transformation I'm talking about," he said.
Public servants in Samoa to get a pay rise
Posted at 02:17 on 18 December, 2013 UTC
The Samoa government has proposed a 3 percent pay rise for all public servants to become effective next month.
The salary increase is proposed in the first supplementary budget for the current fiscal year which was tabled in Parliament by the Minister of Finance, Faumuina Tiatia Liuga, on Tuesday.
The government will spend 7-million US dollars on the pay rise.
Faumuina also announced an allocation of more than 150,000 US dollars to complete the salary increases first granted to all government teachers in 2010.
Meanwhile the government has decided to increase the monthly payment for the pensioner scheme from the current 60 to 65 US dollar a month.
The finance minister says the government maintains it will not increase taxes but that the supplementary budget will be funded from revenues and overseas aid.
News Content © Radio New Zealand International
PO Box 123, Wellington, New Zealand
Proposed American Samoa taro ban a big “blow” To Samoa Agricultural Exports
by Island Business
The proposed ban on Samoan talo exports into American Samoa is a “blow” to local growers.
So says the Chairman of the Samoa Farmers Association, Afamasaga Tole’afoa.
This week, Samoa News reported that the American Samoa’s Department of Agriculture was working with the Attorney General’s Office in drafting legislation for submission to the Fono to ban the importation of talo from Samoa. The idea is to promote talo being planted by farmers in Amercian Samoa.
At last count, the Central Bank of Samoa reported the American Samoa market brought the largest share of exports claiming 27 per cent of the market share.
According to the Samoa Bureau of Statistics, talo exported to American Samoa netted a tidy profit of $89,052 for the month of October.
That was for almost 20,000 kilograms of talo being sent across the dateline.
For the past three months, the crop has yielded close to a quarter of a million tala for growers here in Samoa, according to the CBS.
But that might soon change.
“It is not good,” Afamasaga said of the proposed ban. “It is a blow for some of the individual farmers who have been using that market. “American Samoa has always been one of our markets that is easy to reach, not the very stringent requirements of New Zealand or other markets. And not just in regards to taro.”
From the local farmers point of view, this market was of great benefit.
“A concerted effort to increase supply – particularly the new varieties of taro has been made. It had taken a long time to find varieties to address the disease issues growers have been facing.
“While at the same time meeting the requirements of a good yield and good eating qualities.
“In particular, we now have two (varieties) that are a good potential for export.
“And we have gotten to a point were our taro is in good consistent supply which has inturn driven the prices down.”
He said he hopes there is some consultation with the local farmers in Samoa before this becomes a permanent situation.
“We look forward to finding out more particularly from government what can be done,” said Afamasaga.
“What needs to be looked at is our farmers’ level of production and work out how much hurt or damage has been done, if any at all, to the American Samoa market as a direct result from exports here.
“So we hope that the authorities will be able activate or initiate some contact with the America Samoan government about the necessity of a ban.”
American Samoa’s Agriculture Department director Lealao Melila Purcell said in an interview following the island’s two-day Farm Fair last week that it gave a clear indication local farmers can supply taro and ta’amu (or Chinese taro) to local stores and businesses, who are now purchasing these products from outside the territory.
Over the years, the question has come up over and over again on whether local farmers can provide for the community, as well as selling to stores, who depend largely on imported taro, said Lealao.
“My answer at this time — based on what has been displayed during the fair — is that our local farms can take care of American Samoa’s needs,” he said.
Afamasaga said he would be consulting with Samoa’s local growers to assess how this proposed ban would affect them directly.
AMerican Samoa Fishing Fleets are losing money.
Fri, 01/03/2014 -
By Samoa News staff
“For Sale” signs were posted yesterday morning on many local longliners anchored at the main dock at the port of Pago Pago, as boat owners moved to sell their vessels due to, among other things, the high costs of operation, making the business a losing proposition.
A list provided by the Tautai o Samoa Fishing and Longline Association shows close to 20 vessels up for sale. The sale was first announced late last month by boat owners.
“Aside from an increase in operating costs [and] a steady decrease in fish prices, the continuous low catch rates have made it no longer feasible to continue operating these fishing boats unless conditions improve,” boat owners said in a statement two weeks ago, when they first announced the move to put their boats up for sale.
They were also concerned with the lack of dock space at the main dock and then being double charged for using the marina dock.
Further, the price of albacore has dropped by almost $1,000 per metric ton with the increase in the South Pacific region of Chinese fishing boats which are subsidized by their government. (See Samoa News edition of Dec.18 for more details)
ASG, which recently established a committee to identify needs for the longline fishing fleet with a report to be submitted soon to the governor, informed Samoa News, through the Governor’s Office, that the price of fish is something beyond the government’s control.
However, boat owners have maintained that the government has continued to ignore their blight, and a recent decision by ASG Treasurer Dr. Falema’o ‘Phil’ Pili seems to point to this.
Boat owners said they have been asking the government for some ten years to waive the excise tax on fish caught in American Samoa’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), and a recent Attorney General's legal opinion agreed — saying fish caught by local longliners in the territory’s EEZ is not subject to excise tax per local and federal law.
However, the ASG Treasurer told Samoa News two weeks ago he will continue to levy an excise tax on fish caught in American Samoa’s EEZ, because Customs can’t determined for sure if the fish was caught there. He said discussions continue.
Local businessman James Mahoney, in a Letter to the Editor, suggested the boat owners take the matter to court to enjoin ASG from any further collection of the excise tax on the local fleet and “file a suit against ASG to recover previous unlawfully collected excise taxes to the extent possible.” (See Samoa News edition on Dec. 30 for more details of Mahoney’s letter.
In comments posted on Samoa News online regarding Mahoney’s suggestion, Carlos Sanchez, President of Longline Services, Inc., owner of six local longliners, agreed.
“We will take this case to court if need be. Four local lawyers have offered to help and take this to court for free if necessary,” Sanchez said. “Imagine how bad this would make the Treasurer look in court when the people that have to defend him — which is the AG’s office — tell the judge that their opinion is based on local laws, that we should not pay this.”
The following is the list of U.S. boats in American Samoa now up “For Sale”: FV Tifaimoana, FV Samoan Boy, FV Taimane, FV Southern Horizon, FV Gloria Park, FV Isabella T, FV Survivor, FV Rival, FV Jihyun, FV Princess Karlinna II, FV Mee Jin Park, FV Pacific Horizon, FV Inja, FV America, FV Princess Yasminna, FV Flora, FV Auro, FV Chico.
Samoa News Editor-in-Chief Rhonda Annesley and reporter Fili Sagapolutele contributed to this report.
American Samoa Island Water Services to Be Restored to west Side.
By Randall Hackley Jan 2, 2014
Residents on American Samoa’s main island will have full water services restored four years after bans were put in place on Tutuila’s western side when e-coli bacteria was discovered in well waters, Radio New Zealand International reported, citing the power authority.
Improvements to the well field at Malaeloa meant the agency hoped to lift a boil-water order for the Leone to Poloa system within four months, American Samoa Power Authority executive director Utu Abe Malae told RNZI.
Plans to build more water-treatment plants had been ruled out as too expensive by the authority, according to the radio report. The water-use restriction created strains as households had to either buy bottled water or spend more on electricity, gas or kerosene to heat water drawn from the wells, RNZI said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Randall Hackley in London at email@example.com
American Samoa's Treasurer rejects dire economic forecast
Updated 19 December 2013,
By Radio Australia
The outgoing head of the chamber of commerce David Robinson recently said that inflation and unemployment was rising, and that new investment was needed to pull the territory out of a hole.
But treasurer Falema'o Pili disagrees and says economic activity in the territory is gradually improving.
Presenter: Tom Maddocks
Speaker: Falema'o Pili, Treasurer, American Samoa
MADDOCKS: The closing remarks from the the outgoing head of the Chamber Commerce gave American Samoa a bleak outlook for the New Year.
David Robinson says more foreign investment is needed. The holes left behind by a loss of jobs are not being filled. Inflation is high, industry is not growing at the pace it could and small to medium business are suffering.
He says the chamber itself feels unengaged, urging the business community to get more involved.
But the territory's Treasurer Falema'o Pili says the grim economic outlook is unreasonable.
PILI: We're not at the level we should be... other parts of the world.
MADDOCKS: He says the territory is seeing gradual improvement and critically ongoing growth in the tuna industry.
PILI: If we did follow through to what the former chairman said... but they're coming back.
MADDOCKS: American Samoa's economic woes looked set to worsen when last year the Bank of Hawaii announced its intention to pull out of the territory.
But for now the crisis has been averted. This month the bank said they'll remain in the territory indefinitely.
It was a relief for many, including Falema'o Pili. But he says they the government is not relaxing and they have plans to create a brand new financial institution by mid next year.
Nearly ninety per cent of the territory's funding comes from Washington.
But during the US Federal Government shutdown October, Mr Pili says American Samoa was affected but well prepared.
PILI: We had adequate reserves... dependency to our federal government.
MADDOCKS: Despite calls for more foreign investment, Mr Pili says he's positive about how the territory can strengthen its domestic activity.
PILI: There's no question we want foreign investment... thirty per cent.
MADDOCKS: Mr. Pili, I understand that you're considering a minimum wage increase perhaps in 2015. Where does that sit currently?
PILI: That's actually... we certainly can't afford that over here.
Proposed taro ban ‘detrimental’ –Central Bank of Samoa
From SAMOA OBSERVER/PACNEWS
Wed 18 Dec 2013
APIA, Samoa --- Any ban placed on Samoan talo would be detrimental to our limited export base, the Central Bank of Samoa says.
This warning comes in the wake of a proposed ban being looked at by American Samoa against Samoan talo, in a bid to protect their local growers.
“Any ban to current commodities exported is detrimental to our limited export base,” said CBS Chief Manager of the Monetary Stability Group, Benjamin Pereira, in an email.
“Based on taro export data that CBS collects, American Samoa has receipted on an annual average, from 2000 to 2012, just above SAT$900,000.00 (US$383,000).
Taro export are on 2000-2012 averages equivalent to 2.2 per cent of total annual exports, he said.
“American Samoa is currently our biggest market for taro export however, since the improvement in domestic supply of taro and the beginning of exporting again to New Zealand in 2010, the New Zealand market has significantly gained its market share.
He described this as “encouraging,” adding, “Efforts to improve exports of other commodities are also encouraging.”
Meanwhile Tautua Samoa leader, Palusalue Fa’apo II said the proposed ban could pave the way to more export bans.
Last week it was reported that American Samoa is working on a proposed ban of Samoan taro with their Attorney General.
This happened just two weeks after Samoa’s Small Business Enterprise Centre and American Samoa’s Chamber of Commerce signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop each nation’s economy.
According to the SBEC the Trade Fair was aimed at showcasing small businesses to the Samoan public as well as seeking trade opportunities to supply local retailers, hotels and restaurants and opportunities to export to American Samoa.
Palusalue said it saddened him to read this proposal in the newspaper, as the very reason for the Fair was to strengthen trade between the two Samoas.
“But now this news has come up it is really sad for our taro exporters,” he said.
“Who knows their next move might be stopping the vegetables and so forth.
“It is fine for the Government to address the issue when they meet in their high level talks with the leaders of American Samoa, it is all they are doing.
“They said they want to work together but the way things are going it is not working together they are competing with each other.”
He said with so much going on in the world of trade – with free trade talks between the Pacific, Australia and New Zealand and high level talks with the World Trade Organisation, the proposed taro ban would only add a burden to farmers.
“If you go to the market now, it is overflowing with taro we need exports and we need the exports to American Samoa to help our farmers here,” he said.
“The taro is not enough in terms of exporting them.
“I believe through these talks the government should address the issue.”
He said despite American Samoa wanting to protect their local growers, he believes the quality of their taro is not up to the same standard as Samoa.
Samoa Air says charging passengers by weight has been successful
Nearly a year since Samoa Air started charging passengers by weight, the airline says the experiment has been a huge success.
Samoa Air made headlines when it became the first airline in the world to charge people in such a way.
Samoa Air's Chief Executive Chris Langton says the trial has been so successful that aircraft will continue to be modified to work under the pay-by-weight system.
"The profile that we would use for the next aircraft, we would bring it from 14 seats which would be its traditional layout and we'll actually only put in nine seats," he told Pacific Beat.
"And that way we can provide for people who are paying more because they are larger.
"And everybody gets what they're paying for."
Mr Langton says customer feedback during the first year of the policy has been positive.
"Initially people do the sums," he said.
"They just compare what they would pay on a pay-by-weight system and just do basic arithmetic.
"We find that generally speaking if you look at any operation anywhere between any destination worldwide, a person that comes in at about 120 kilos or less will always be better off to travel on a pay-by-weight system."
The system works where a passenger's body weight and baggage weight are added together to give a total weight and price.
Mr Langton says the system is the way of the future for airlines.
"Everything will be done by weight and continues to go that way," he said.
"The interest level hasn't diminished anywhere.
"Worldwide there's still massive discussion going on as to how pay-by-weight is going to transcend into larger aeroplanes."
The airline says it benefits from the pay-by-weight system because it can be more precise with filling aircraft to their maximum capacity and therefore more efficient.
Samoa first to welcome the new year.
Samoa and Christmas Island in Kiribati were the first to welcome 2014.
Samoa, a South Pacific island nation located about 8,000 kilometers southeast of Manila, used to be one of the last places in the world to celebrate the New Year, being the last spot on earth to see the sunset. But it became the first place to see the sunrise on Dec. 31, 2011, by wiping a full day, Dec. 30, 2011, off its calendar in order to align itself with its Asian trading partners.
Farm to Table Samoa hits local menus
Saturday, 21 December 2013,
Scoop World International
Women in Business Development is working with renowned chef/author Robert Oliver to kick start a local supply programme that has gained the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Women in Business Development executive director Adimaimalaga Tafuna’i says the programme is essentially a youth-focussed programme with the first phase being about establishing the market.
“As with all our income programmes, one of the key success factors is securing a steady market. In this first two-month phase, we will be refining a consistent supply system and analyzing what the most popular vegetables are and then creating a growing course with and for youth.
“Right now we have five farmers supplying Sinalei Reef Resort and Spa, Tanoa Tusitala Hotel, Milani Café, Bistro Tatau and The Coffee Bean cafes. Our pilot group of hotels, restaurants and farmers are extremely committed to bearing with us as we refine the process.
“Already they have told us they would like an earlier delivery time so we are changing our schedules to accommodate this. To keep the deliveries going during the festive season, several farmers and staff will also be working right through.”
Tafuna’i says the programme is timely because of the United Nations Small Island Developing States meeting in Samoa in September, which will attract more than 3000 people to the nation’s shores.
UNDP Resident Representative Lizbeth Cullity says UNDP is pleased to work in partnership with Women in Business Development, which is doing a marvellous job in promoting organic farms in Upolu and Savaii.
“We believe that the future of agriculture in Samoa is in ‘niche products’ that are organic, fresh produce including fruits, vegetables, coffee, vanilla, and so forth.
“Organic produce is a multi-million dollar market and Samoa is naturally blessed with favourable soil and climate,” says Cullity. “What we need is good branding and to promote local Samoan products as ‘truly organic’.
“UNDP is happy to support this partnership initiative, which creates employment, food security, reduces food import bills and related non-communicable diseases due to substandard food imports; earns foreign exchange and puts Samoa in an exclusive status as an organic country.”
Oliver says that on the face of it, the Farm to Table Samoa looks like a simple producer–buyer arrangement but actually it is more than that.
“People travel for food and Samoa has not been pitched that way to tourists but it has enormous potential because the fresh produce and seafood is so good here. Local food ingredients also give tourists a more authentic experience.
“Our first product is really consistency,” says Oliver. “We work on a system of only guaranteeing supply that we can guarantee – and this is done through talking with our farmers so they appreciate the pressures that hotels and restaurants are under.”
Oliver last month launched his book Mea’ai Samoa: Recipes from the heart of Polynesia, which follows on from the award-winning Mea Kai: The Food and Flavours and the South Pacific.
The chef/author added that Samoan cuisine requires Samoan agriculture and “we will be looking to integrate cuisine development into the Farm to Table programme”.
Oliver developed a similar supply system in the Caribbean that covered two countries, three resorts and included 40 farmers and a farmer co-op with 80 members in St Lucia, and 20 farmers in Barbadoes.
“This is a system that can assist our many small farmers out there to earn a consistent income, plan their farms to service contracts and help our tourism and local farming industry become more sustainable. This is also about creating career pathways for Samoa’s youth.”
He estimates that more than 80 per cent of the food that appears in Samoa’s restaurants and hotels is imported.
UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in 177 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations.
Press Release: Women in Business Development
American Samoa Govt concerned about albacore scene
Posted at 18:14 on 18 December, 2013 UTC
The American Samoa government says it is concerned about the plight of the territory’s albacore fishing fleet and the governor has appointed a committee to help them.
Earlier this month the owner of Longline Services Incorporated, Carlos Sanchez, said local owners of albacore fishing boats are selling up because they are struggling to maintain viability.
One of those on the new committee, is the director of commerce, Keniseli Lafaele, who says the department has been supportive of the industry.
Mr Lafaele says issues that are affecting longliners are the lack of docking space, escalating port charges and overtime payments to government workers who clear their boats after hours.
But Mr Sanchez says they have made up their minds to sell their fishing boats because the price of fish has plummeted, the cost of fuel is high and the government’s port charges are unaffordable.
Mr Lafaele says the government cannot do much to influence the world price of albacore, but he believes they can make life easier for the local fleet owners.
News Content © Radio New Zealand International
PO Box 123, Wellington, New Zealand
US to consider National Guard unit in American Samoa
Posted at 02:11 on 16 December, 2013 UTC
The US House of Representatives has approved a request from American Samoa’s congressman Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin for a feasibility study into the establishment of a National Guard unit in the territory.
Faleomavaega says a National Guard unit would be a first responder in cases of disaster and local emergencies.
He says this issue is very important and this is why he has pushed for it since 2004.
Faleomavaega says with American Samoa sitting in the middle of the Pacific it has strategic importance for U.S. military interests in the region.
News Content © Radio New Zealand International
PO Box 123, Wellington, New Zealand
Fashion Week's Knight to assist Samoa in establishing fashion show in Apia
By Torika Tokalau
Apia. FASHION Week (Fiji) Limited managing director Ellen Whippy-Knight is hoping to set up Samoa's first Fashion Week in August next year.
Mrs Whippy-Knight confirmed that she would fly to Samoa soon to begin the groundwork for the inaugural show.
"I go to Samoa in January 2014 to set up their first Fashion Week to be held in August 2014," she said.
She took a group of models and showcased several local designers at the inaugural CPL Group Port Moresby Fashion Week in Papua New Guinea last month.
"Fashion Weeks in Fiji and the Pacific are here to stay. Port Moresby will now be an annual event."
With the success of the Fiji Fashion Week since 2008, she said she had big plans for the Pacific.
"We intend to show the world that we can be just as good at this.
"It will continue until all the main regions in the Pacific have their own."
The POFW was hailed a success by Mrs Whippy-Knight, who said the show was sold out and showcased the work of the Pacific's best designers.
Asian development bank seeks engineer to rehab 3 mini-Hydro and build 3 new Mini-Hydro Projects for Samoa
Apia, The Asian Development Bank (ADB) invites expressions of interest to serve as owners engineer to help Samoa's electric utility rehabilitate three mini-hydropower projects totaling 4.69 MW and build three new mini-hydro projects totaling 810 kW. Responses are due January 8, 2014.
ADB provided US$23.8 million to Samoa in November to repair hydro projects on Upolu Island that were damaged in December 2012 by Cyclone Evan, while also funding another three new facilities on Upolu and Savai'i Island. The projects are intended to help Samoa decrease its dependency on diesel-generated energy, which currently accounts for about 60 percent of the country's total power supply.
ADB recruited consultants in February to study seven mini-hydropower projects and the expansion of an existing small project, and to prepare an investment plan to implement the projects.
On behalf of Samoa's Electric Power Corp., ADB now invites expressions of interest in serving as owners engineer to prepare bidding documents, assist in the bidding process, and supervise project design, supply, construction, and commissioning. The owners engineer also is to help develop EPC's capacity to perform operation and maintenance of the hydro projects. The work has a budget of US$600,000 for 20 months.
The owners engineer is to supervise a turnkey contract for rehabilitation and grid reconnection of cyclone-damaged projects 1.74-MW Fale ole Fee, 1.9-MW Samasoni, and 1.05-MW Alaoa, all on Upolu. The engineer also is to supervise constructing and interconnecting 190-kW Faleaseela and 460-kW Tafitoala on Upolu and 160-kW Faleata on Savai'i.
A solicitation notice, including terms of reference, may be obtained from the ADB Internet site, www.adb.org, under the links "Businesses," "Consulting Opportunities," "Energy," "GRANT-0371."
Expressions of interest are to be submitted via the ADB website by January 8. For information, contact:
Aina Notoa, CEO of Gr8 Women makes a difference for women arouNd the globe.
By Helen Lauaki
“When we focus on money, we are powerless; when we focus on our life purpose we are powerful.” - Aina Notoa
Aina Notoa, a Samoan-born Queensland resident, is the CEO and Founder of the internationally connected and recognized Business, GR8 Women. Gr8 Women has an international membership starting in Australia and going as far as Pakistan and Europe.
Part of the work that GR8 Women delivers is organising empowerment seminars and workshops in Australia. Aina has been able to have international women from all over the world speak on various topics that reflect the challenges they overcome in their part of the world. Like the difficulty of one woman, Manal Al-Sharif having the right to drive, in the Middle East, to the plights of Indigenous women here in Australia, and woman in China and the United States (including Native Americans).
When I met with Aina at her home, she had just come back from a business meeting with a pattern maker. The pattern maker had completed the first design for women in Pakistan who are making clothing, bags and other accessories to sell, internationally as part of the GR8 women solution to global poverty. It is called Project Agape and is the humble beginnings to the GR8 women online store that will help provide economic initiatives and personal achievement for women there.
Project Agape is just one of the many projects Gr8 Women has set up to help women all over the world achieve their life’s purpose. When asked what GR8 Women is about, she replied, “The concept is bringing women together through story. Uniting women globally through the power of story because everyone has a story, everyone can change their story and most importantly everyone can weave to a new story. ”
Since its inception in 2010 and teaming up with eight of her female friends Aina’s company’s primary objective is to help women find their life’s purpose. “From the power of sharing, it was like a vibration that started. And I thought, imagine if we projected this vibration, globally and we did within a year with 22 countries following. We’re still defining our vision as we go and our soul aim is to help men and women that are lost weave a new story to their life purpose. The one God’s given them.”
Another Gr8 Women project launching in 2014 will be the element of counselling women and men. The Gr8 Women Database is 30% male and she states that there is so much pain in the world and were compounding the stresses on top of each other in so many ways – spiritually, financially, physically, and mentally. “The human spirit can only take so much.”
She goes on to say, “Men feel that it is their role in society to heave the pain. They have to be strong for the family and a lot of the mental anguish comes from pain that hasn’t been resolved over a long period. For the human spirit for both men and women we need to get vulnerable. For me, it is dealing with the pain, resolving the pain and allowing the pain to heal on a deep level. But vulnerability is so much more powerful. Saying, hey I need help, I’m hurting can you help me; or, taking time out to heal is so much more important and is the beginning of the healing process , especially if the core is your life purpose.”
Aina believes that whatever the heart wants to do is what God has planned for us and she sees Gr8 Women as her life’s purpose. Even though it is for the benefit of all women, regardless of religious or personal views, she gives credit for her business to God and sees this as her calling from Him. “Honestly, I don’t think there’s ever turning back once you go in to business.”
She grew up in Invercargill, the South Island of New Zealand. She was attending High School in Invercargill when her parents decided to move to Sydney, Australia. It was within three to six months later, when her parents moved to Brisbane that things started coming together for her.
“It was the best move,” Aina exclaimed. She was 18 years old and she finished her senior school years in Brisbane. She went to University to fulfil her parent’s dream, but it was never something she wanted to do. She recalls, “I would venture to university on certain days and then ended up hanging out at the Gold Coast as I feel I was not inspired. I moved from Degree to Degree, from Business to Arts. Even after one lecture in Nursing, I thought words are too long, to hard basket not for me.”
She then applied for a job at a Call Centre and went in to the corporate industry in Brisbane city. She began working as a Personal Assistant for two Level four Managers at the Telstra Communications Company and pursuing a career as a as a Business Analyst in IT. She was there for almost 14 years when she felt the prompting came to follow her life purpose.
It was the corporate sphere that the opportunity arose to find her life’s purpose came. Under the mentorship of two General Managers, she was taught how to organise conferences. One particular expanded her knowledge, skillset and mindset..
She says, “His way of thinking changed my mindset in a huge way – allowing me to create, be more than the ‘job description’ and think like Edward de Bono carrying many hats. He got me to lead Conferences in Melbourne as well as virtually with Sydney and Brisbane. I loved leading the workshops and I really loved teaching/mentoring and running training programs.”
Then after an incident that happened at work where she helped a colleague de-stress by encouraging him to go for a walk with her on their lunch break that Aina felt inspired that she could help change many lives. From helping him she realised, “if I can help change one person, I can change many.”
She goes on to say, “From that experience I knew I could do anything. I believe it’s our own fears that hold us back, simply our mindset. It is our own mindsets is our greatest enemy, we are our own greatest blockers.” She also credits the people she has met along the way that have helped her bring all this to fruition. She says, “My Accountant connected me with one of his clients, a business mentor in June 2009. She helped me-a lot because I had such a ‘victim mindset’ and at the time I was blaming everyone else but me.”
The knowledge she gained from her experience working with her two Managers, her friends that have embraced her vision and her family are some of the people she thanks. She talks about how GR8 Women is a collective, about many not one. That it is women sharing and helping each other together build and move forward together. “It’s been such an amazing journey.”
One of the beliefs she has gained and learned is that money isn’t the driving force for why people do things. “Regardless of what funding we have. Regardless of what money comes what is cruicial is your ‘why’ in life – what I call the Y Factor.”
The catalyst for change and innovation is when an individual realises their potential and their greatest attributes and how they can utilize them to benefit themselves and others. Being great is a God given gift and money is not necessary when you are pursuing your life purpose. “When we focus on money, we are powerless; when we focus on our life purpose we are powerful.”
When I interviewed her, she was in the process of moving to Samoa with her husband and children. She says, “I feel the calling is to go back to Samoa. Part of our calling is to use the rich healing powers of our Polynesian Nations. Our people are innate natural healers. Our gifts unique to our islands (Medical healing) are being taken offshore and being utilized for a ‘product’ people take for granted – and not fully understanding the essence and the deeper meaning of our healing methodologies. Many of the countries that are coming up in business word are Third World countries, because they treat the resources and things they have like gold and do not take things for granted.”
The other reason is also for her children. During our interview, Aina’s younger son (a toddler) awoke. Watching her soothe him as she spoke to me illustrated the nurturing strength of a great woman coupled with a divine feminine nature and essence. She defines today’s great woman as she is not only the CEO of a successful international company, but a woman who is a mother and wife first. She is dedicated to keeping the balance between time for her family and time for her work. What she values most is God, and her family.
“At this point in time, technology is powerful and is supposed to propel us forward and save us time, however it is removing the real people connection and causing more stress to families and society today. I see my life getting caught up too and so I want to nip it in the bud now. Going to Samoa, I believe will provide us with a new perspective, allow us to really ‘live’ and reset the roadmap of our family life to embrace ‘simplicity’.”
For her children, it is about learning respect for themselves and their Elders. To treat people and what they receive in life like gold. It is about them knowing who they are wherever they travel to in the world, because knowing who they are is crucial. She will also be home schooling them. She says with excitement, “Learning our poetic language will be awesome. And I can’t wait to take my children on road trips and encapture the beauty together. There’s so much richness and beauty in our islands.”
“God’s calling is most important and what challenges we come across it’s purely to strengthen us on our journey.”
Anyone can become a member and register on the GR8 Women website to receive all company updates. If you would like to follow Gr8 Women, here are the Social Media sites:
FB, Linked In, Twitter and Instagram and Google +.
On the site are inspirational thoughts, quotes and information by women all over the world. One can also get a copy of Volume I one of GR8 Women once you opt-in to the gr8 women website atwww.gr8women.com
Tupua and Jacosa are Engaged.
This young and talented couple have a reason to be smiling. They have just become engaged to be married. Tupua Tony Ainuu, son of the late Vaea Ainuu and Tasi Ainuu of Las Vegas, proposed to the lovely Jacosa Limutau of Sacramento, who accepted. Their wedding is set for the spring of 2014. Le Malae congratulates the engaged couple.
Healing Secrets of the South Pacific
MArcus Mariota QB for Oregon decides to forego NFL draft and stay in school for one more season.
By Albert Ainuu
Marcus Ardel Taulauniu Mariota is a quality young man. He has been in the spotlight for the past two seasons as the QB for Oregon which has been ranked as high as #2 in the College Football and BCS ranking. He has set records in passing and winning football games while in the glare of the media circus that is associated with the quality of the Pac 12 Conference he plays in and the standards he as a football has set in 2 seasons where he started as a Red Shirt Freshman. He got as far this season as to be mentioned in the discussion for Heisman Trophy winner, on the cover of Sports Illustrated, and he was the leader of a team that was considered a contestant for the BCS Championship had they not lost two games in a row, after the infamous SI jinx.
With all this attention that has come his way and the national expectations that he has garnered for himself because of the success he has achieved, he made a decision yesterday that seems to fly in the face of conventional wisdom which in these days of materialism amounts to "show me the money!" This is how the majority of Americans with this opportunity would have behaved had they or their son been blessed with the chances Marcus has at this moment because he is guaranteed millions of dollars if he enters this next NFL Draft.
Yesterday Marcus announced he will NOT enter the NFL draft and remain in Oregon for another season.
So why has Marcus Ardel Taulauniu Mariota decided to NOT enter the NFL Draft? Why has he decided to give up the chance to make millions of dollars? Why has he decided to risk his NFL future to a career ending injury.
This is a major decision that really has established a very unique precedent for young people everywhere. We are proud that Marcus has achieved so much as a Samoan who stands at the brink of stardom and multi-million dollar salary. He has made a decision that says more about him as a person than anything he did on the football field.
I see this as great example for Samoan youth and all youths, when facing such a major opportunity, where others would be jumping at the chance to enter the Draft, to decide to return to school and play another year says alot about Marcus's level of maturity.
As was said by national Sports Commentators this morning, he has made a wise decision because there are parts of his game that he needs to improve on. That he can only benefit from this decision because alot of QBs entering the draft are being thrown into the game and starting before they are ready and it can hurt a young players career more than help him. E.g. RG3. But more important Marcus has not rushed to become rich before he is proven he is worth those dollars but has decided he needs to improve his game and what he needs to improve are accuracy and arm strength. Is this normal? Is this good decision?
I would say Marcus has again set a great precedent and has made the choice that is better, although risky, but it gives him one more year of experience to play in College and gain experience BEFORE he enters the draft. It speaks volumes of the priorities for this young man and his family. That they have placed preparation over immediate wealth. This speaks to the wisdom of a decision that, if it pays off could turn into major career move for Marcus. He risks losing everything if he gets injured but...the payoff if he duplicates this year's achievements or improves on this year which is probably a more reasonable expectation considering his current stats and ability...is amazing.
We wish Marcus the best and pray he will not endure a major injury in the coming year. If God willing he succeeds, then we can expect (best case scenario) a Heisman trophy, a national championship, and a number one draft position with NFL quality arm and skill set. Is that placing too much of an expectation on him? Maybe, but if nothing else he has set a standard for young potential NFL, NBA, MLB stars to consider the big picture before taking the money and running. Its not all about the money. This is a great message for our youth Marcus. I applaud you.
2013 NFL Season starts with record number of Samoans playing.
This year the number of Polynesians playing in the NFL has increased to 47. That is the most Polynesians which includes Samoans, Tongans and Hawaiians, to ever populate the NFL. Every year the number of Polynesian professional football players has increased and Samoans are leading the way with 28 players. Tongans are next with 16 players and Hawaiians account for 3 players.
Here is a list of the players and their teams:
#96 Paul Soliai is a starting Defensive Tackle who is 6' 4" tall, 345lbs. At 29yrs old he has been in the NFL for 7 years and was a graduate of University of Utah.
New York Jets
#53 Josh Mauga is a Linebacker who stands 6'-1" and weighs 245lbs. He is 26 years old in his 4th year playing in the NFL and hails from University of Nevada.
#99 Junior Aumavae plays Defensive Tackle. He is 6'-2" tall and weighs 310lbs. He is 27 years old and this is his second year playing in the NFL. He attended Minnesota State University.
#58 Rey Maualuga is a starting Linebacker who is 6'-2" tall and weighs 255lbs. He is 26 years old and has played for 5 years in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is one of many USC Trojans who are Samoans playing in the NFL.
#94 Domata Peko is a dominating Defensive Tackle who with Rey Maualuga are turning the Bengals into one of the premiere Defensive teams in the league. At 6'-3" and 322lbs, he is a load when he rushes the Quarterback. At 28 years old he has been in the NFL for 8 years. He attended Michigan State University.
#66 Shawn Lauvao is working his way into the starting line up as an Offensive Lineman. He is 6'-3" tall and weighs 315lbs. Only 25 years old he has played in the NFL for 4 years now. He attended Arizona State University.
#84 Jordan Cameron, at 6' 5" tall and 254 lbs, and 25 years of age he is a starter after just two years of playing in the NFL. He catches touchdowns regularly and has impressed his teammates with his toughness and dependability. He is related to the Soliai family of Nuuuli, American Samoa.
#43 Troy Polamalu is the most popular Samoan in the NFL. He has played for the Steelers now for 11 seasons and has been the play maker for the Steelers Defense as Strong Safety. At 5'-10" he is known for devastating hits and leading the team in tackles nearly every year, but at only 207lbs its difficult to stay injury free as he enters the later years of his career. Troy is 32 years old and has been in the league for 11 years. 7 of those years he was an All Pro Selection. He attended USC before being drafted in the 1st round.
#64 Samson Satele has been a starting Center for a few teams in the NFL. He is 6'-3" tall and weighs 300lbs. He is 28 years old and has been playing for 7 years now. He attended College at University of Hawaii.
#93 Tyson Aualu was drafted in the first round as a Defensive Tackle. He has played for 4 years for the Jaguars and is a force in the middle of the D Line at 6'-3" and 295lbs. He is 26 years old. He attended the University of California, Berkeley.
#92 Ropati Pitoitua plays Defensive End and at 6'-8" and 298lbs is an extremely tall player. He is 28 years old and has been in the league for 4 years now. He attended Washington State University.
#62 Brian Schwenke is a highly rated Center who was drafted out of the University of California, Berkeley earlier this year. At 6'-3" and 318lbs he was clocked at 4.9 seconds at the NFL Combine's 40 yard dash which is fast of an Offensive Lineman. The Rookie is only 22 years old.
#50 Kaluka Maiava is one of several Linebackers from USC who are all dominating the NFL including Rey Maualuga of the Bengals, Clay Mathews of Green Bay, and Brian Cushing of the Texans. At 6'-0 and 230lbs, the 26 year old has been a steady influence in the Raiders Defense for the last 4 years.
San Diego Chargers
#80 of the Chargers is Malcom Floyd. He is a speedy Wide Reciever with smooth hands who is becoming the key to Phillip Rivers offense. At 6'-5" he has the height, he also has the hops to grab balls over the defenders. He weighs 225lbs and at 32 years old has been in the league now for 8 years. He attended College at Wyoming.
#50 Manti Te'o was the most anticipated College player coming into this years NFL draft. After an outstanding college career at the legendary football program of Notre Dame where he was partly responsible for resurrecting a program that had wallowed in mediocrity for over a decade, he was plagued with what were difficult situations during the last few months before he graduated. Week in and week out he made memorable plays that led to an undefeated season as he willed a team not even ranked in the preseason to the BCS College Championship against powerful Alabama. However, they lost convincingly to a superior team, exposing what were flaws in the team when pit against an opponent with alot of time to scheme and prepare for them. But inspite of this Manti managed to win nearly every college College Football award for defense as well as finish runner-up in the Heisman Trophy which is usually reserved for the best Offensive player in College. As a Rookie the Chargers grabbed him in the second round, and he will start as Inside Linebacker on a defense that was long the residence of Future Hall of Famer, Junior Seau. Manti is 6'-1" and 241lbs. Only 22 years old we hope he enjoys a long and successful career with the Chargers.
New York Giants
#18 Louis Murphy is a Wide Receiver who was recently at Oakland but now plays for the NY Giants. At 6'-2" and 200lbs he has the grit to go down the middle and make the difficult catches. He is 26 years old and has played for 5 years. He attended Florida University.
#97 Isaac Sopoaga is now the Defensive Tackle for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania which is 3000 miles from where he spent the first 9 years of his career in San Francisco. Considered one of the strongest players in the NFL Isaac stands 6'-2" and weighs 330lbs. He is 32 years old and has been in the NFL for 10 years. He attended College at the University of Hawaii.
#44 Matt Asiata plays Running Back which is a tall order playing behind "AP" Adrian Peterson. But at 5'-11" and 220lbs the 26 year old is good enough to hold his own against the best in the game. With only 2 years of experience he can only get better. He played College ball at the University of Utah.
#80 Levine Toilolo is another rookie who was drafted this year and will play behind a guaranteed Hall of Famer, Tony Gonzales at Tight End. At 6'-8" he is extremely tall and will be difficult to defend against. Levine weighs 265lbs and is only 22 years old. He attended Stanford University.
New Orlean Saints
#65 Senio Kelemete plays Guard. He is 6'-3" tall and 300lbs. He is 23 years old and has played for 2 years now. He attended the University of Washington.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
#50 Daniel Te'o-Nesheim is a Defensive End who is 6'-3' tall and weighs 263lbs. He is 26 years old and has been in the League for 4 years. He attended the University of Washington.
#65 Mathew Masifilo plays Defensive Tackle and stands 6'-3" tall and weighs 280lbs. He is 23 years old and has been in the League for 2 years. He attended Stanford University.
#66 Alameda Taamu plays Defensive Tackle for the Cardinals. At 6'-3" tall and 348lbs he is a force to be dealt with. He is 23 years old and this is his 2nd year in the League. he attended the University of Washington.
#74 Sealver Siliga plays Defensive Tackle at 6'-2" and 325lbs. This is his 2nd year and he is 23 years old. Before he played in the NFL he attended the University of Utah.
San Francisco 49ers
#77 Mike Iupati is one of the reasons the 49ers made a Super Bowl run last year. He is probably one of best Offensive Guards in the NFL today. Drafted in the first round 4 years ago, he immediately made an impact and the 49ers have been dominant ever since. At 6'-5" and 331 lbs he has the size, speed and power that allows the Quarterback to sit in the pocket for as long as it takes to find an open wide receiver. He is only 26 years old so he potentially has a long career ahead of him. He attended the University of Idaho.
#64 Mike Purcell is a Nose Tackle. He stands 6'-3" tall and weighs 303lbs. At 22 years old Mike is a Rookie. He attended Wyoming University.
#7 Colin Kaepernick is not confirmed as a Samoan yet but the rumors are he is and the pictures on GQ magazine showing his Samoan tattoos indicate he has Samoan heritage as he stated in several interviews but this is only conjecture at this time and so we will fantasize for now until we know for sure. As the starting Quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, He shown the kind of strength and speed that are rare in the game. He is 6'-4" tall and weighs 230lbs. This is his 3rd year, but the first starting the season as the first string Quarterback. At 25 years of age he is a rising star in the NFL who is making moves and bringing sexy back to the Bay Area. He was attending the Unversity of Nevada before he was drafted into the NFL.
This a new era for the Polynesian athletes. We now have enough players to man our own team. As the next generation of Samoan players coming through the College ranks are making headlines, the future is bright for our people and we anticipate this number of NFL players will only get higher and the percentage of players of Polynesian heritage populating the NFL will become greater. The main thing for us to remember is that God has blessed us with physical talents and skills that are extraordinary. We must encourage our youth if they have these abilities, to improve and focus on these physical abilities while at the same time not neglecting their educational requirements for only with education can one achieve the ultimate goal of playing professionally.
Samoan plays for USA Volleyball team
Futi Tavana is a middle blocker for the USA Volleyball team currently playing in the European Ligue de Nationale de Voley in France. He plays today, October 12, 2013 in team play against Paris. We wish him all the best as he works towards becoming a member of the USA Olympic Team in 2016. Good luck Futi.
Hometown: Kalaheo, Hawaii
Birth Year: 1987
Position: Middle Blocker
Weight: 235 lbs
College: Brigham Young University
Joined Team: 2013
INTERNATIONAL HIGHLIGHTS: 2012-13 – Played for Copra Elior Piacenza in Italy, winning the 2013 CEV Challenge Cup. 2013-14 – Playing for Touluse in France.
COLLEGE HIGHLIGHTS: Played for Brigham Young University… Three-time AVCA All-American… Four-time All-MPSF First Team… Named to the MPSF All-Academic Team… Finished his collegiate career ranking first in BYU history for career total blocks… Ranked second nationally in the NCAA in blocks. 2012 – Played in 24 matches, starting all of them, and 91 sets…Finished the season with 170 kills, a .385 hitting percentage, six aces and 155 digs… Contributed a team-high 14 solo blocks and 145 total blocks to bring his career total to 625. 2011 – Named Blocker of the Year in Off the Block’s inaugural season of the award… Played in 105 sets and started all 28 matches… Tallied 234 kills, 23 assists, seven aces, 44 digs and a team-high and NCAA-leading 160 blocks. 2010 –Started 25 of 30 matches… Broke the BYU all-time record for total blocks achieved against then-No. 10 UC Santa Barbara, with 15… Ranked second on the Cougars with 151 blocks. 2009 – Started all 30 matches… Led the team with 169 blocks, averaging 1.47 per set… Led the team with a .387 attack percentage, ranking sixth in the conference… Named Walk On of the Year at the Y Awards.
CLUB/HIGH SCHOOL HIGHLIGHTS: Started playing volleyball in 2002 for ASICS Rainbow… Played for Kauai High School from 2002-2005.
PERSONAL: Born Va’afuti Gaugau Tavana Jr. on Sept. 25, 1987 in Auckland, New Zealand… Parents are Dr. Tofa Tavana Namulauulu G. Vaafuti and Palagi Tavana… Has two brothers, Dennis Murray (1980) and Devin Matauaina (1991), and four sisters, Taufao Faith (1976), Lupeautino Phaedra (1978), Justina Puluafi (1982) and Delsa Julie (1985)… Graduated from BYU in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in commercial management… Favorite foods are kalo and palusami… Favorite book is Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson… He most admires his dad because, “he has always been a great example of hard work and dedication.”
Samoa Police Commissioner open to all applicants even those from outside of SAMOA....
By Nanai. T. Laveitiga Tuiletufuga
Expatriates and Samoans living abroad can now apply for the position of Police Commissioner.
An emergency amendment of this effect to the Police Act was endorsed by Parliament this morning.
Defending the open, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said the amendment will broaden the selection pool to appoint the most qualified candidates – and not just in Samoa - as Police Commissioner.
“You are wrong to assume that the law will disallow the appointment of Samoans to the post,” said Prime Minister Tuilaepa.
“The purpose is to attract as many good applicants to apply for the Commissioner’s post. We want the best. It’s about equal opportunity for both our officers here and any Samoan in law enforcement overseas who has the qualifications and experience. It should also serve as a challenge to our Police force to perform to the best of their abilities to minimize any chance of an expat getting the top job.”
Concerns were raised in the House in regards to keeping the Commissioner position as an internal Police appointment, that the Commissioner should be well-versed in the faasamoa and that government was not doing enough to train top Police officers for the role.
But most MPs who took the floor agreed with the amendment, including most of the Opposition Tautua Party.
Points in support include the continuing conflict of interest in some government ministries, an alleged widespread laidback Police culture and the immediate need for change in the Police Force and Police services in the country.
Others expressed surprise that the original Act did not allow overseas Samoans and expats to apply for the top Police job.