Students in flag-raising ceremony performances

Students from eight schools across Upolu performed flag-raising ceremonies for eight countries that they adopted as part of their celebrations of the Pacific Games.

Hosted by the Ministry to Education Sports and Culture (M.E.S.C.) and the Pacific Games Office at Ti'afau grounds, delegations from the countries that were represented were present during the event. 

The countries were the Federated States of Micronesia, French Polynesia, Palau, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Wallis and Futuna. 

M.E.S.C. Chief Executive Officer, Afamasaga Dr. Karoline Fuatai, in her opening remarks, said Samoa is very proud to host the nations for the XVI Pacific Games.

"No doubt many of you participated here in the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games and I'm very sure some of you were also here in 2007 when Samoa hosted the South Pacific Games," Afamasaga said. 

"For those returning athletes, we welcome you back to Samoa, for those of you visiting Samoa for the first time, we hope you enjoy your stay here in Samoa and enjoy our special Samoan hospitality.

"This morning we will hold a very unique welcome and a flag raising ceremony where our students who have been waiting for you for such a long time from both Primary and Secondary Schools and they will pay tribute to the countries participating in the Pacific Games."

Despite the rain, the children looked forward to performing their months of preparations.

"I hope that you will assess them kindly, we look forward to your assessment at the end of today's (yesterday) performance.

"We hope you enjoy the spirit that our children would bring as you listen to their sweet voices singing your national anthems and see their passion and excitement as they perform your dances and do cheers in your own language," she said.

The Government of Samoa prepared gifts for each of the countries who participated in the event.

The delegations were seen dancing with the students during their performances while handing out money and small gifts to the children throughout the event.

Tahiti's Chef de Mission, Gigaua Maurin told Samoa Observer it was a great idea to include the students in the celebrations of the Games.

"Good idea for the school to present each country, very nice. They are very good," she said.

Tahiti was represented by Nofoali'i Primary School.

Palau's Chef de Mission commended the effort by the students and teachers as well as the parents from Malie Primary School for the hospitable vibe, he said: "Really nice, we feel at home".

Tonga's Chef de Mission personally met the parents, students and teachers of Vailele Primary School, who performed for them.

"We love it here, the spirit and the welcome from Vailele Primary School today at the flag raising ceremony; I think it sets the tone for team Tonga," said Netina Latu.

Today will be the flag raising ceremonies at Tiafau for Guam, Marshall Islands, New Zealand, Niue, Norfolk Island, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Cook Islands. While Saturday is for American Samoa, Australia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, New Caledonia, Northern Marianas and lastly, the host Samoa.

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