As a preview to a Teuila Festival of Samoan culture and traditions, the 15th International Siva Afi Competition 2016 lights the way in the most spectacular fashion.
Outstanding 18 year old Lene Alema of Tufuiopa is the overall winner for the 2016 competition after stunning the crowd with an original and polished performance.
Owner and organiser of the competition, Leota Lene Leota said Alema has been involved with the competition when he was just six years old.
“This kid has always had the passion for fire knife,” said Leota.
“He is very creative and he always has different ideas when it comes to performing fire dance which I admire so much.
“He loves what he does and every time he performs people can see it in his eyes that he is very passionate.
“His performance last night was just outstanding especially when he performed with three knives, he hooked two of the knives together and used the other arm to circulate the other knife which was amazing.
“That is what I mean when I say he is very creative for just an 18 year old.”
Leota went on to say that Mr. Alema’s late grandfather Luaono was also a fire dancer.
“This kid’s grandfather trained me to as a fire dancer and now I am training his grandson,” said Leota.
“So this is like a talent within this family and it is why this kid is very passionate about fire dance.”
Future plans for Alema are to try to get him to compete in the Maui, Hawaii competition later on this year.
This is Mr. Alema’s second year in the Senior’s category and last year he came second.
Leota said he is very happy with the outcome of the competition.
“The preparation hasn’t been easy but in the end, it was a success,” he said.
“It’s amazing to see all these tourists coming in and witnessing our culture and the pride and joy we have performing our very own traditions.
“I was very surprised with the way this year’s competition turned out and I have our sponsors to thank too because if it wasn’t for them, this would never have happened.
“First of all to Digicel for being our major sponsor this year and also Taula I know this is the first time they have joined but their contribution to this event is much appreciated.
“To all our other sponsors thank you very much and also to the Minister of Police and Tourism, Sala Fata Pinati.
“I want to thank him for his support because I was told last night that this is the first time in a long time that the Minister has deliver a speech in public so we must be really special to him and so thank you very much Sala.
“Not to forget our judges Malo Seleni from Hawaii, Lesoa Lilua and Patrick Rasmussen
Lastly to my team and staff at Siva Afi I know it wasn’t easy but we made it and now it’s done and dusted but we must do it all over again next year.”
1st: Lene Alema – Tufuiopa - $3,000 tala, trophy and a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
2nd: Vaela’a Iloa – Tufulele - $2,000 tala and a trophy
3rd: Tune Leilua – Siumu - $1,000tala and trophy
4th and 5th place – Jack Tai Laban and Timuelu Simona - $500 tala each