Photo: His Highness The Head of State, flanked by Masiofo Tunu and games officials Seiuli Paulo left Juliana Curry. Peter and Chief Inspector Asi Blakelock, stand at attention while the national anthem was played by the Police Band at the Official Opening of the 7th South Pacific Games yesterday afternoon.
To mark the 40th Anniversary of the Samoa Observer, a series of selected articles printed over the last 40 years will be re-published in the next two weeks, to show our readers the issues covered by this newspaper over the years and the personalities that made the headlines.
First Published: 6th September 1983
The cultural performances put on by the various schools at the opening ceremony of the 7th South Pacific Games yesterday sparked an uninhibited display of friendliness and fellowship not often seen at such ‘official’ events.
The performances which were representative of the different participating countries cultures were a marked contrast to the formality and pomp that typified the early stages of the ceremony.
The ceremony started with the National Anthem played by the police band when His Highness, the Head of State Susuga Malietoa Tanumafili II arrived at eight minutes after three.
The inspection of the Guard of Honour and the team march-past followed before the games flag was raised and the oath read.
Commander Stan Brown, President of the South Pacific Games, briefly thanked the people and government of Western Samoa for hosting the games in the face of difficult “economic constraints”.
His Highness then delivered the inaugural address and officially declared the games opened.
But it was the schools’ cultural performances that set off the spirit of friendliness which over the years has been widely advocated to be one of the most important objectives of the games.
Participants from the different countries freely ran onto the field and took part in the dances.
The typical Pacific custom of giving monetary donations to the performers as a sign of the audience’s appreciation was lavishly displayed.
At the end of the ceremony an impressive crowd filed reluctantly away from the Apia Park grounds at nightfall.
Murmurs of delight were heard everywhere. The spectators were discussing spiritedly the highlight of the day – the schools performances which set the games’ mood off in waves of friendliness.
The opening ceremony lasted more than four hours and ended with a rendition of “Lota Nuu” the popular Samoan hymn sung by performers Dave Parker and The Yandall sisters from New Zealand.