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American Sāmoa, Host of the 10th Festival of Pacific Arts & Culture

Cover Image: Masthead of Ke Alakai o Hawaii published on August 9, 1928, as seen online (digitized from microfilm copy).

Aloha Nūhou Monday!

Today we honor American Sāmoa which, in 2008, became the 10th nation to host the Festival of Pacific Arts and Culture. This festival was held throughout the territory and celebrated the theme of “Suʻigaʻula a le Atuvasa: Threading the Oceania ʻUla.”

The Festival of Pacific Arts & Culture is the world’s largest celebration of Indigenous Pacific Islanders, bringing together artists, cultural practitioners, scholars, and officials from member nations of the Pacific Community (SPC).

This traveling festival is held every four years and was first launched by the South Pacific Commission in 1972 to halt the erosion of traditional practices through ongoing cultural exchange. In June of 2024, Hawaiʻi will host the 13th festival on Oʻahu.

Over the months, we have been honoring each of the previous FestPAC hosts with posts featuring those island nations and their connections to Hawaiʻi’s own history.

In 1928, a letter was written to the editor of the newspaper Ke Alakai o Hawaii requesting he publish this letter as a public notice searching for a man from American Sāmoa by the name of Simanu Afoa (Sr.). It was said that he arrived in Hawaiʻi to pursue an education but had not returned home since. He was living in Hawaiʻi and married a Hawaiian, Annie Kawaakoa (on December 18, 1924), but was requested back home due to the declining health of his parents. Afoa continued residing in Hawaiʻi for the remainder of his life (d. April 10, 1955). It is unknown if he did in fact go back to American Sāmoa following this call.

Image: “Manao Hoolaha No Simanu Afoa,” Ke Alakai o Hawaii, August 9, 1928, p. 2, as seen online (digitized from microfilm copy).

An Announcement Pertaining to Simanu Afoa

Honolulu, July 11, 1928.
Dear Editor of Ke Alakai o Hawaii,

Much aloha: If you have some open space in your herald, please insert this announcement so that this wondering boy of the world, Simanu Afoa might see it. This is the subject, the name written above. He is a Samoan boy who came to Hawaiʻi for education, he married a Hawaiian girl, and it is unknown where he is currently residing, since his parents wrote to me to report if he is living or not.

Simanu Afoa’s father is a high-ranking judge throughout Tutuila, American Sāmoa. And Mr. M. Lutu Afoa is a very wealthy man there, they have lands all over the Samoan nation leased in the name of this boy. But they are unable to draw the money from the leases until he signs for it, and then they will receive the monies. Also, the entire family of Mr. Lutu Afoa is wanted to gather in Sāmoa this year to divide up the assets being that their parents are very feeble. To the public, please, if anyone is familiar with this man, please show this letter to him.

If he loves his parents, he should return to Sāmoa.

With great thanks to you the editor of Ke Alakai o Hawaii and your fellow workers.

Yours humbly,
Sol. D. Sinatala

Image: Looking over bay to governor’s residence (on point), Pago Pago, Tutuila Island, American Sāmoa. ca. 1940. Bishop Museum Archives, SP 222693

Image sharing on social media is welcome. For all other uses please contact 

Image: Entrance to Pago Pago Harbor; Tutuila Island, American Sāmoa. Photo by Hurtado. Bishop Museum Archives, SP 222691

Image sharing on social media is welcome. For all other uses please contact 

American Sāmoa, Photo by Merl La Voy, ca. 1930. Bishop Museum Archives, SP 222692

Image sharing on social media is welcome. For all other uses please contact 

This post is part of He Aupuni Palapala: Preserving and Digitizing the Hawaiian Language Newspapers, a partnership between Bishop Museum and Awaiaulu with assistance from Kamehameha Schools. Mahalo nui loa to Hawaii Tourism Authority for their support. Learn more about this project here.

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