Historical moment for Savai’i

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Prime Minister Tuilaepa centre flanked by contestants vying for the title in 2017. Alexandra Iakopo claimed the crown with her reign to end in September.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa centre flanked by contestants vying for the title in 2017. Alexandra Iakopo claimed the crown with her reign to end in September.

It’s not by accident that Savai’i will host the 2018 Miss Samoa Pageant in September as the Teuila Festival finale this year.

The inaugural and historical event, the first time in the 33 year old history of the Miss Samoa Pageant to be staged on the Big Island has long been under the Samoa Events Incorporated (S.E.I.) microscope since the curtains fell on last year’s successful pageant at the Tuanaimato Gymnasium.

Incidentally as the final year of their three year government endorsed contract as host of the pageant, S.E.I. wants to bow out S.E.I. style with class and grace. 

“And as our final year as host, we owe it to our Savai’i residents to claim a sense of ownership in their Miss Samoa,” said Pageant Director, Laeimau Oketevi Tanuvasa.

For the 2018 event, S.E.I. has garnered the support from ten Mafutaga a Tina from various churches and congregations on the Big Island to host the contestants.

“The Mafutaga a Tina’s are two hundred percent behind the initiative,” noted Laeimau. 

“They will be the cultural and motherly tutors for the contestant for four days leading up to the Pageant which will be staged at the Don Bosco Catholic School at Salelologa.

“Our thinking is what better way for the contestants to learn our cultural and everyday life than to spend time out at the villages and with the Mafutaga a Tina which are the education cornerstone and pathway for our young Samoan women.”

This does not include getting the Savaii business people who are now on the same page, with the Savaii Samoa Tourism raising their hands as visible advocators and supporters of the Miss Samoa.

“We are truly blessed to have the Savaii Samoa Tourism on our corner as well many of our business partners and supporters on the Big Island. “They share our vision that the success of the Miss Samoa Pageant will be the catalyst for future national events on the Big Island,” reiterated the Pageant Director.  

“It’s the perfect vehicle to profile tourism and entice new investment for Savaii businesses and our people.

“Tourism as we all know it, remains the main stay of our economy and it is most fitting for the Miss Samoa Pageant to play a leading role in profiling our country and in this case Savaii as the perfect tourism destination.

“The Pageant is more than a Beauty contest,” echoed reigning Miss Samoa Alexandra Iakopo, who by coincidence is from Sapapalii on the Big Island and hold the chief title Papalii.

 “It represents the empowerment of Samoa women as achievers and main contributors to our country’s well-being and well fare.

“It’s also an investment to sustain our tourism revenues for the benefit of our accommodation, transport, handicrafts sectors and even farmers who are benefactors of the tourism dollars. And it’s crucial that we maintain the drive and innovation to entice tourists to visit our country.

“That’s why as Miss Samoa, we should be our ambassadors to show the world the beauty of our country through your appearance, our intelligence and our pride as a Samoan lady.”

Lastly but not least, SEI is singing the government praises from Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi who did not hesitate to bless SEI’s proposal for Miss Samoa Pageant to be stage in Savaii to his Cabinet Ministers including Deputy Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mataafa.

Savaii Cabinet Ministers which include Finance Minister Sili Epa Tuioti, Public Enterprise Minister Lautafi Seilafi Fio Purcell and Minister for Women Affairs, Faimalotoa Kika Stowers have cemented their support.

“As the pageant is owned by government, SEI could not move the Miss Samoa to Savaii without their approval.

“From our first pageant in 2016, Prime Minister Tuilaepa has been more than supportive but also played the fatherly role with his encouragements,” said Laeimau.

In launching the 2018 Pageant at Sapapalii last week Prime Minister has put his weight behind SEI.

“It would be amiss for me, should I fail to acknowledge the ingenuity of the Samoa Events Incorporated, (SEI) which came up with idea for Savaii to host the 2018 Miss Samoa Pageant,” noted Tuilaepa. “This is the 3rd year that SEI which government had outsourced the contract to host the Miss Samoa annual event has staged two successful pageants.

“And mindful of the daunting task in hosting the event on the Big Island, I call on all Savaii residents and our business stakeholders to support the Miss Samoa Pageant.  It is a rare opportunity and it will be the pathway for future national events to be staged on the Big Island.”

Concluded Laeimau;

“We hope we have raised the profile of the Miss Samoa Pageant as the People’s Pageant, where the Most Beautiful, Elegant, Intelligent and Courageous Young Lady is handpicked every year to represent her country with pride.

“If we had erred during our tenure, we apologise to the country.  “E poto le Tautai, ae e iai taimi e sese ai lana atu i ama.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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