Samoan Heritage Initiative Program 2022
By John "Falaniko" Pātū
19 August 2022
This year, the American Samoa Government Office in Hawaiʻi put together the Samoan Heritage Initiative Program to celebrate Samoan heritage in Hawaiʻi, where approximately 40,000 residents claim Samoan ancestry. The various components of the weeklong festivities included a scholarship dinner, sports tournaments, prayer services, morning fitness routines, and evening performances by various church groups and even the numerous car clubs in Hawaiʻi.
Photo (Sāmoana Media, LLC): Mafutaga Katoliko Sāmoa (Samoan Catholic Community) performing during International Night
It was a process that took months to plan out and execute and included guests, including the Lieutenant Governor of American Sāmoa, Tōfā Talauʻega Ale and a surprise visit by Lieutenant Governor of Hawaiʻi, Josh Green. Other guests included the Secretary of Samoan Affairs, Afioga Mauga Tasiʻaeafe Asuega and former Governor and current Senator, Afioga Togiola Tulāfono and his wife Maryann and Miss Sāmoa Alaska and Miss Sāmoa Hawaiʻi.
Photo: Lt. Govenor Talauʻega Elesalo ʻAle with Miss Sāmoa Alaska, Mātaʻutia (left) and Miss Sāmoa Hawaiʻi, Pene (right)
Photo (Sāmoana Media, LLC): Fr. Falaniko Atonio and Maryann Tulāfono and former Governor of American Sāmoa, Senator Togiola Tulāfono
The four pillars that made up the theme of the program included:
- Gagana (Language)
- Aganuʻu (Culture)
- Lumanaʻi (Future)
- Soifua Mālōlōina (Health)
Each pillar highlights various aspects of Samoan identity and well-being that are crucial to the maintenance of the Samoan community in Hawaiʻi. These were executed through the different activities conducted throughout the week, and even prior, to strengthen community relations with the American Samoan Government in Hawaiʻi and Samoans living in Hawaiʻi.