NEWSROOM: 10 September- 16 September 2006

  Long time friend of King Taufaahau, His Highness Malietoa Tanumafili II,
Secretary to State, Auseugaefa Vaasatia Poloma will attend the funeral in

Apia, Samoa
(Photos: Lagi Keresoma)

Samoa sends condolence message to Tonga
16 September 2006 - Source: Press Release - Press Secretariat

The Prime Minister of Samoa, Hon. Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi, has sent a message of condolence to the Prime Minister of Tonga, Hon. Dr. Feleti Vaka’uta Sevele, on the passing away of His Majesty, King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV.

The text reads as follows:

“It is with greatest sorrow to learn of the passing away of His Majesty King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV.

"We remember the many times King Taufa’ahau and Queen Halaievalu Mataaho visited our Head of State, His Highness Malietoa Tanumafili II. Those visits by Their Majesties were an enduring reminder of the historical and special ties between Samoa and Tonga.

"The death of King Taufa’ahau ends an important era for the Kingdom of Tonga, the peoples of Polynesia and the wider Pacific region.

"On behalf of the Government and People of Samoa, I wish to convey to you, the Government and People of Tonga our deepest sympathies and condolences.”

  Miss Pawpaw, Miss Mango, Miss Pineapple & Miss Banana, the winner Miss
Watermelon with freinds.

Apia, Samoa
(Photos: Minoi Minoi)

Fa'afafine donate to Mapuifagalele and Lototaumafai
15 September 2006 - Source:

Monies collected in last week's Tutti Futti pageant went towards the development of the home of the elderly at Mapuifagalele and the school for special needs children, Lototaumafai.

The Miss Tutti Friutti Pageant was organized by the Samoa Aids Foundation (SAF) and President of the foundation, Ken Moala said that for nine years, they have been conducting this pageant for the sake of Mapuifagalele and Lototaumafai.

The Tutti Frutti pageant brings out the best in fruit-wear amongst the contestants and last week's event saw colourful names such as Miss Mango, Miss Pineapple, Miss Watermelon, Miss Banana, and Miss Vinegar compete against each other.

The final saw Miss Watermelon walking away with five special awards and the overall winner.

Miss Grape grabbed second place while Miss Banana settled for third. Miss Mango took fourth place, and everyone went hope happy.

  Miss Samoa-NZ Josefina Fuimaono-Sapolu with her mother Iuni & aunt May
Sapolu, two of the six main Judges for the pageant Eleitino Michelle
Meredith and Heather Jeffrey from Australia.

Apia, Samoa
(Photos: Lagi Keresoma)

Miss Teuila judging comes under fire
14 September 2006 - Source:

The outcome of this year's Miss Teuila beauty pageant has sparked an outcry from some quarters with accusations of bias pointed at the judging after Miss NUS Pearl McFall was crowned the winner.

One of the judges, Eleitino Michelle Meredith, has denied a claim made by May Sapolu to, that she (Eleitino) and another judge did not agree with Ms McFall being declared the winner. Ms Sapolu is the aunt of Miss Samoa-New Zealand Josefina Fuimaono-Sapolu.

Eleitino says she "never spoke to Sapolu or made such comments."

"I have my credibility, and from experience in judging past pageants and one Miss South Pacific pageant, we judged according to what is given to us," Eleitino said.

Another judge who wished not to be named, also denied speaking to Sapolu.

Sapolu and family members had reacted to the result of last weekend's event by questioning the impartiality of the judging panel chosen for this year.

According to Josefina's mother Iuni Sapolu, a qualified lawyer, some of the judges should never have been made appointed. She pointed her accusation at Eleitino labelling her a "failure."

The Sapolu's are not only considering suing the newly crowned Miss Samoa 2006-2007 Miss NUS Pearl McFall, but they are also claiming that the Miss Teuila Pageant 2006 was "orchestrated and pre-determined."

They believe, the judges already knew the result before the Pageant even started. Asked how they arrived to this conclusion, a family member said, "the result speaks for itself."

"The winner is from the same village as the Chairman of the Pageant, Misa Telefoni, and the first runner up, was an NUS student and also from Falelatai." the family member said.

When reminded that Misa was not a judge, May said "no he was not, but the judges were influenced by him," Criticism was also apportioned to the Samoa Tourism Authority and the Pageant committee for their alleged role.

The Sapolu's claim the winner was not qualified to run as a contestant as she was underage. Ms McFall's entry form provided by the NUS pageant committee stated Pearl's age as 18. But in fact, she will turn 18 in two weeks time.

Proof of her age in the form of a copy of Ms McFall's birth certificate was allegedly shown to the STA but nothing was done. According to Iuni, Pearl lied about her age and therefore should not be allowed to represent Samoa in the upcoming Miss South Pacific Pageant.

Iuni believes that the other contestants were robbed as a result. May described the whole episode as a "highway robbery". The Sapolu's are also being accused as sore losers for making these claims.

A decision is yet to be delivered by the Chairman of the Pageant until investigations into the matter are over. But should Pearl step down, the first runner up automatically takes over. In this case, Poinsettia Taefu, the first runner up, could replace Ms McFall.

The Sapolu's had other ideas, however. "We want to cancel the whole pageant and have a new one" said May.

May believes that Fuimaono-Sapolu (Jossie) should have won the interview category and the pageant.

The pre-pageant interview judges did not escape the Sapolu wrath as they too were branded as "unqualified."

There was criticism also of one judge, Silafau Paul Meredith.

Silafau said however, that he rated Miss Samoa-New Zealand's pre-pageant interview second to that of Taalolo Ainu'u, but because she (Jossie) could not comply with the rules, he deducted points from her.

Iuni alleges there were connections between the family of the winner and the Judges. The merits of how the judges were chosen was also criticised.

Jossie was the only contestant that did not turn up for the final to'onai for all the contestants last Sunday. May said Jossie was tired because she was distressed after the pageant.

May's remarks were contradicted by visitors and staff of Sinalei Reef Resort, who said Jossie and her family were at Sinalei that Sunday.

According to an employee, Jossie was drinking and seemed to be enjoying herself.

A committee member said that she could understand how tired and stressed out the girls were, but they all made an effort to turn up at the to'ona'i with the exception of Miss Samoa-New Zealand.

"The to'onai was also to give out the girls awards," the member added.

On the night of the pageant, Jossie was named the winner of the Best Personality category, however, Jossie only picked up her award two days after the pageant and hours before she departed for New Zealand.

While most of the judgments was conducted during the pageant, the girl's were also judged during their pre-pageant interviews.

Miss Teuila Pageant 2006 Results:
Miss Samoa 2006-2007- Pearl McFall (Miss NUS)
First runner up- Poinsettia Taefu (Miss Lalelei o Samoa)
Second runner up - Loretta Frost (Miss Samoa-Australia)
Third runner up - Taalolo Ainu'u (Miss Susana o Samoa)
Fourth runner up - Malatina Su'a (Miss LSS & Laei o Samoa)

Special Category Awards:
Miss Lalelei o Samoa - Best Sarong, Best Traditional Wear, Natural Tourism Award, Best Talent,

Miss Internet and Miss Popularity.
Miss NUS - Best Interview
Miss Susana o Samoa - Best Puletasi
Miss Samoa-New Zealand - Miss Personality.

  Judges for the Pre-Pageant Interview, Muliaga mulitalo, Silafau Paul
Meredith and Ruby Va'a, three contestants listen carefully to the Judges

Apia, Samoa
(Photos: Lagi Keresoma)

Pre-Pageant interview: a first since the establishment of the pageant
13 September 2006 - Source:

For the first time, a pre-pageant interview was conducted for the contestants in this year's Miss Teuila pageant, whereby they receive 10% for their presentations and responses to the interview questions.

The pre-pageant Judges were Ruby Va'a, Director of the USP Centre, Silafau
Paul Meredith, CEO Inland Revenue and Muliaina Mulitalo Assistant CEO for
the Ministry of Women's Affairs.

The pre-pageant interview really made the girls work hard with their research and polishing their answers to the Judges questions. Whilst they had difficulty in responding to some questions, they did however enjoy the opportunity to practice their questions before the final last Saturday.

According to a committee member, this year is a first for some of the pageants activities. This includes the pre-pageant interview and girls being involved in other activities.


It is also the first time the people at Mapuifagalele have seen such soft-hearted and emotional contestants, as they witnessed tears flowing freely down the girls cheeks. The girls also had a chance to enjoy a free breakfast at former Minister of Health Hon.
Sala Vaimli's residence at Vailele.

The committee is hoping for even more changes next year.

  A Polynesian Blue Boeing 737 lands in Auckland. Virgin Blue's
Sir Richard Branson.

Apia, Samoa
(Photos: islandconnections/ihug)

'Poly Blue' hits the heights early
12 September 2006 - Source: The Australian Newspaper

VIRGIN Blue is looking for further opportunities in the South Pacific after its Polynesian Blue joint venture with the Samoan Government turned a $1.06 million maiden pre-tax profit for the nine months to June.

The airline sees the "Poly Blue" deal as providing a template for similar joint ventures with other South Pacific governments.

Samoa sought a private sector partner after losing 200 million tala ($96 million) on its international airline, Polynesian Airlines, over 10 years.

Since teaming up with Virgin, visitor arrivals have increased by 18.4 per cent since November compared with average annual growth over the previous decade of just 3.9 per cent.

The extra traffic boosted Samoan tourism revenue by 22.9 million tala and has allowed the Pacific island to redirect funds previously soaked up by a loss-making airline to essential services.

Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi hailed the partnership as a "shining Pacific star, not just for Samoa itself but for Samoans through the region".

"The profitability of Polynesian Blue is a clear indication the joint venture model is successful in the market and we are confident this trend will continue," he said.

Polynesian Blue is 49 per cent owned by Virgin and operated by its New Zealand-based subsidiary, Pacific Blue.

The Samoan government owns 49 per cent, with the remaining 2 per cent owned by an independent Samoan shareholder.

It operates three direct weekly flights from Sydney and will increase its four weekly services from Auckland to five from next month.

Virgin Blue chief executive Brett Godfrey described the maiden profit as a tremendous result for an operation less than 12 months old and said it demonstrated the benefits of dynamic partnerships.

* Meanwhile, Qantas confirmed yesterday that it had reached in-principle agreements on enterprise bargaining negotiations with the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union and the Australian Workers Union.

Qantas head of industrial relations Kevin Brown said he was pleased with the productive meetings with the unions and was confident of an agreement.

However, a Qantas spokeswoman said the airline had not yet decided whether it would keep heavy maintenance work for its narrow-body aircraft in Melbourne. It previously said it would keep the work in Australia.

  Wellington Mission Choir, winner of the Teuila Festival 2006 choir
competition with their trophy, Saata-uta choir peforming their song.

Apia, Samoa
(Photos: Jana Siaosi)

Wellington Mission Choir wins Teuila Choir competition
11 September 2006 - Source:

An overseas choir group took out this year's Teuila choir competition 2006.

The graceful singing Wellington Mission Choir were this year's winners with previous winner Gautavai finishing in second place.

According to the Teuila organizing committee, this is the second time an overseas choir had won the competition since the competition started a decade ago.

This year's competition saw 31 local and overseas choirs vying for the top prize.

The Wellington delegation were ecstatic at winning and were glad there were fruits from their weeks of effort in preparation prior to flying to Samoa. They were also happy to have something to show their supporters back home in New Zealand.

The judges were veteran musician Ueta Solomona, Susan Solomona, Enviroment Minister
Tuisugaletaua Sofara and American Samoa based musician Tuiasosopo.

This year's competition also witnessed the return of past winners such as Tuanaimato Methodist choir, Sinamoga Methodist choir and Gautavai.

Winning this year's competition will give the Wellington Mission Choir something to look forward to for next year's competition and motivation to top their effort. The Teuila organisers believe the Wellington Mission Choir have raised the bar and set the standard which is sure to attract more overseas groups next year.

  Miss NUS Pearl McFall, and with her family after being crowned Miss Samoa

Apia, Samoa
(Photos: Lagi Keresoma)

Another NUS beauty queen is crowned Miss Teuila
10 September 2006 - Source:

The National University of Samoa (NUS) has again taken the Miss Teuila (Samoa) honours after their representative, Pearl McFall, walked away with the 2006-2007 crown at the Weightlifting Centre in Tuanaimato on Saturday.

McFall was crowned Miss NUS earlier this year and last weekend made it second time lucky for the university when she went on to emulate her predecessor, Anita Jamieson, who won the Miss Teuila crown in 2002.

But victory did not come easy as McFall faced stiff competition from ten other contestants, including three overseas competitors, competing for this year's Miss Teuila.

McFall was helped by winning the crucial interview section.

Miss Lalelei o Samoa, Poinsettia Seleisa Taefu was not far behind finishing first runner up. But she took some consolation winning six of the nine individual categories, including Best Sarong, Best Talent, Miss Popularity, Most Photogenic, Best Traditional Wear and the National Tourism Award.

Second runner up was Miss Samoa-Australia Loretta Marina Frost.

Miss Susana o Samoa, Taalolo Ualesi Ainu'u, took third runner up honours along with Best Puletasi, with Miss LSS Laei o Samoa, Malatina Su'a, settling for fourth runner up.

The multi-talented Miss Samoa New Zealand, Josefina Fuimaono-Sapolu, was not among the place-getters but she was rightly crowned Miss Personality for the publicity she attracted in the build-up to the main event.

The Miss Teuila pageant was not only the finale of the week-long Teuila Festival, but it was also the highlight.

There were some teary eyes and emotional scenes as the curtain was drawn after the eleven contestants had endured a drama filled fortnight of grooming and formalities which preceded the pageant.


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