Teuila Festival to be digitalised, P.M says

The 2020 Teuila Festival will be broadcast online. And like the programme for this year's Independence celebration, it will be pre-recorded and televised.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi confirmed the Government’s plan for Samoa’s biggest annual cultural festival which is normally held early September.

He said they have been forced to use the country’s digital television platform to broadcast the event due to the global pandemic-related state of emergency [S.O.E.].

“It will operate similarly to how the independence was run,” he said.

The celebration of the country’s 58th Independence Day celebrations early last month was pre-recorded and screened on Samoa's digital platforms, including the Government's social media channels due to the global pandemic.

The raising of the flag and the official independence address from the Head of State, His Highness Tuimaleali’ifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II, was pre-recorded and televised for citizens.

The broadcasts were pre-recorded and aired on social media as well as the television stations and no traditional performances were done like every other year.

On the day of the Teuila Festival, Samoans celebrate all things Samoan, from cooking to fire knife dancing, the Miss Samoa Pageant to tattooing and carving demonstrations. This festival is one of South Pacific's most significant cultural festivals, with many activities and shows being held across the country, particularly in Apia and is widely regarded as one of the Pacific's biggest cultural festivals.

Attempts to get a comment from the Minister of Tourism and the Chief Executive Officer of the Samoa Tourism Authority were not successful. The Miss Samoa pageant which is normally held during the Teuila Festival has been postponed to next year.

Despite the changes in the festival’s programming, longboat (Fautasi) rowers are already in the water and have started battling in preparation for the festival.

The championship longboat crew, ‘Segavao’ are already starting their training for the upcoming festival 2020. 

According to the skipper, Vaimasenuu Zita Martel, a crew from Don Bosco was expected to take to the water to compete. 

“Last week we were told by the Teuila Festival Committee that they're going ahead with the Teuila Festival in September and that the longboat Fautasi race will be the finale event,” she stated in a post on Facebook.

“Today was the first time our new crew of 86 rowers touched this gentle bird and longboat, Segavao Don Bosco IV.”

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