2011 We Are Samoa Festival

Date: May 11-14, 2011

Event: The We Are Samoa Festival at Polynesian Cultural Center, featuring the 19th Annual World Fireknife Championship and High School Samoan Cultural Arts Festival, will take place from May 11-14.

The High School Samoan Arts Festival will be May 14, 2011 from 9am-2pm in the Pacific Theatre.

At the 19th Annual World Fireknife Championship, dancers of all ages showcase their mastery of Samoan fireknives in which acrobatic moves and death-defying tricks combine with ancient Samoan culture. Held in conjunction with the World Fireknife Championship, the High School Samoan Cultural Arts Festival is an event in which Hawaii high school students demonstrate their own cultural knowledge of Samoan traditions with exhibitions in basket weaving, coconut husking and fire making, and more.

2010 We Are Samoa Festival Video

Highlight video of the 2010 festival by PCC

2009 We Are Samoa Festival Video

2009 Festival Pictures

2009 Festival Participants

Participating High Schools
Kapolei High School
* Taupou – Felicia Faumuina
* Faaluma – Justin Himalea

Leilehua High School
* Manaia – Deriki Timotea

Kahuku High School
* Taupou – Candace Tufaga

Waianae High School
* Taupou – Fenunuivao Tauai
* Faaluma – Junior Patea

Radford High School
    * Taupou – Mamaita Fiaseu
    * Faaluma – Mosaiah Manuma

Oratory Participants
* Felicia Faumuina, Kapolei
* Deon Leatimua, Radford
* Junior Patea, Waianae

Cultural Games Results

Banana Peeling
Girls – 1. Radford, 2. Leilehua, 3. Kapolei
Boys – 1. Kapolei, 2. Leilehua, 3. Waianae

Basket Weaving
Girls –  1. Radford, 2. Leilehua
Boys – 1. Leilehua, 2. Radford, 3. Kapolei

Coconut Husking
Girls – 1. Leilehua, 2. Radford, 3. Kapolei
Boys – 1. Leilehua, 2. Kahuku, 3. Radford

Fire Making
1. Kapolei

Students Come Together to Celebrate the Proud Culture of Samoa

La‘ie, Hawai‘i – May 16, 2009 – Five Oahu schools participated in the 17th Annual Samoa High School Cultural Arts Festival held today at the Polynesian Cultural Center. Students display the many cultural arts, games, songs and dances of the people of Samoa. This event is not a judged, but serves as an exhibition, allowing each school to participate without the added pressure of competition.

More than 300 students participated in this year’s festival representing:

  • Kahuku High School
  • Kapolei High School
  • Radford High School
  • Leilehua High School
  • Wai‘anae High School

The Samoa High School Cultural Arts Festival kicked off with the lauga o le feiloaiga (oratory presentation). Lauga or “language of the chiefs,” is a combination of poetry and proverbs considered to be an extremely difficult art to master. Representatives from each school dressed in traditional Samoan chiefly costume to give their presentations.

Following the oratory, schools showed off their teamwork, going head to head in a variety of games based on daily Samoan life skills such as banana peeling, coconut husking, fire making and basket weaving.

The day culminated with a series of cultural dances such as the sasa (sitting dance) and mauluulu (girls dance). The highlight of each performance was the taupou or princess dance. Although the event focus is on traditional Samoan practices, students added their own modern flair.

“The High School Cultural Arts Festival provides a positive outlet for students to get a hands-on learning experience about the Samoan Culture,” said Chief Steve Laulu of PCC’s Samoan Village. “Being involved in the schools’ Samoan club gives students an incentive to stay in school and the experience of performing in front of a large audience at the world famous Polynesian Cultural Center.

All participating high school received up to $1,300 in cash as part of its participation in the annual festival. In addition, baskets were placed onstage during each performance and audience members were encouraged to donate to their favorite school. In all, the schools received more than $8,000 from festival sponsors and audience donations to help fund their club activities.

The Samoa Festival High School Cultural Arts Festival also included a special performance by the United Samoan Organization (USO), one of the sponsors of the event.