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Event celebrates Samoan culture

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    Two-year-old Achillez Mika-Togiaola flashed a shaka yesterday as Lynden Wells, left, and Honolulu Mika, Achillez's father, looked on at Keehi Lagoon Park, where Samoan Heritage Week festivities are taking place this week.

About 30,000 people were expected to turn out this week for Samoan Heritage Week at Keehi Lagoon Park.

Opening ceremonies were Monday, and closing ceremonies, featuring an address by American Samoa Gov. Togiola Tulafono, will take place tomorrow after a parade.

The festivities hope to encourage Samoan youths to take pride in their culture and to meet prominent people who have excelled in their careers.

The chairman of the organizing committee, Gus Hannemann, says many non-Samoans in Hawaii also enjoy attending the event.

Hannemann, brother of former Mayor Mufi Hannemann, said the week included cricket, volleyball and rugby competitions and a golf tournament. He said there will also be a religious service and entertainment.

Here is the remaining schedule:


8 a.m.: Samoa Farmer’s Day, with product displays and arts and crafts; career opportunity workshops.

6 p.m.: A cultural performance by Samoan church youth and the following groups: Tagata Matutua, Fagaitua Alumni, Vai o le Ola Youth-Kailua, the USO, Fana’e o le La and Sielu Avea’s Group.


8:30 a.m. to noon: A parade featuring the U.S. Marine Band, floats and the Royal Hawaiian Band; remarks by Afimutasi G. "Gus" Hannemann; an ava ceremony by the Waipahu LDS Ward Youth Group; a keynote speech by Togiola Tulafono, governor of Samoa; and special cultural performances by various Samoan Church denominations.


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