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HIGH SCHOOL SAMOAN CULTURAL ARTS FESTIVAL

For Immediate Release

HIGH SCHOOL SAMOAN CULTURAL ARTS FESTIVAL PERPETUATES ANCIENT TRADITIONS AT PCC’S SOLD-OUT PACIFIC THEATER

MAY 14, 2016, Lā‘ie, Hawai‘i – Hundreds of students from six Hawai‘i high school clubs gathered at the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) this morning to showcase their knowledge, skill and pride in the Samoan culture at the High School Samoan Cultural Arts Festival.

Hosted by the PCC as part of the We Are Samoa Festival, the annual celebration perpetuates the traditions of the Samoan culture among today’s generations.

Participating were enthusiastic teams of students representing Kahuku High School, Kapolei High School, Waipahu High School, Admiral Arthur W. Radford High School, Farrington High School and the Interscholastic League of Honolulu (ILH) Polynesian Club, which comprises several O‘ahu private schools.

Blessed and welcomed by Chief Seuamuli Uelese, the High School Samoan Cultural Arts Festival was held in the sold-out 2,700-seat Pacific Theater, attended by family members, friends, supporters and visitors.

The students took part in a series of Samoan practices and life skills beginning with a Lauga presentation, traditional oratory in the native Samoan tongue, which is rarely used by young people. The students then engaged in a series of traditional Samoan activities and friendly competitions, including coconut husking, basket weaving, banana peeling and fire making.

Cultural Activities Winners List

Coconut Husking (boys)
1st Place: Waipahu High School
2nd Place: Farrington High School
3rd Place: ILH Polynesian Club

Coconut Husking (girls)
1st Place: Kahuku High School
2nd Place: Farrington High School
3rd Place: ILH Polynesian Club

Basket Weaving (boys)
1st Place: ILH Polynesian Club
2nd Place: Waipahu High School

Basket Weaving (girls)
1st Place: ILH Polynesian Club
2nd Place: Kahuku High School
3rd Place: Farrington High School

Banana Peeling (boys)
1st Place: Waipahu High School
2nd Place: ILH Polynesian Club
3rd Place: Kahuku High School

Banana Peeling (girls)
1st Place: Waipahu High School
2nd Place: Farrington High School
3rd Place: Radford High School

Fire Making (teams of three)
1st Place: Farrington High School (boys)
2nd Place: Kahuku High School (boys)
3rd Place: Kapolei High School (girls)

The Festival concluded with each school club performing lively Samoan songs and dances and showcasing their understanding of the traditional attire, poise, movements and cultural interpretation involved in the presentation.
“The students practiced for months after school and on weekends to prepare for today’s Festival, helping to ingrain in them a stronger understanding about the roots of Samoa and its culture,” said Seth Casey, Marketing Manager of the PCC, “Cultural experts observing the Festival provided the students with feedback and encouragement to help inspire them to continue practicing the Samoan culture.”

The We Are Samoa Festival, May 12-14, Hawai‘i’s largest Samoan cultural festival, is a pre-eminent showcase of Samoa’s traditions. A featured attraction of the festival is the exhilarating World Fireknife Championships, which brings together at the PCC the top fireknife dancers from around the world to see who is the best-of-the-best. Fireknife dancing draws its roots from the Samoan ailao, a warrior’s knife dance, performed before battle with the nifo oti, or “tooth of death.”

For information or to make reservations at the PCC, please visit www.polynesia.com or call (800) 367-7060. In Hawai‘i, call (808) 293-3333.

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