Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Teuila festival. It's the biggest event on the Samoan cultural and social calendar. It's a week long celebration of the fa'asamoa and is full of events aimed to attract Samoans and palagis alike. Fairy lights are strung up all along Beach Road, making Apia harbour look even more beautiful at night. Stalls are set up next to the Government building where people sell clothing, art, food and demonstrate traditional crafts such as tattooing and weaving.

The biggest event of the festival is of course, the Miss Teuila pageant. Eleven women from Samoa, New Zealand, Australia and the United States competed to win the illustrious title. The build up to the pageant is pretty big but the event itself is even bigger.

I watched the pageant live on television with some friends of mine. It turned out to be far better than going to the event itself (well, I think so anyway). My friends were caustic in their appraisal of the contestants' efforts, which was hilarious. Mind you, the girls don't do themselves many favours. The talent round was particularly awful, with only one girl really showing any considerable talent. The highlight however, was (as always) the interview round.

On the topic of what she would focus on if voted as Miss Teuila, contestant number 1 had to say that "fundraising for the old people so they have more days to live on earth" would be one of her priorities.

Contestant number 11 stated that, "as a strong believer that women can do anything, women can do anything."

Yet another contestant, when asked what the best things about Samoa's environment might be, simply responded, "The best thing about the environment of Samoa is its features." The pregnant pause that followed, and the laughter from the audience, eventually convinced her to think about her answer and elaborate somewhat.

Miss Samoa Australia, when pausing for breath at the end of one mindless statement, demanded that the audience wait: "Please, I haven't finished......just kidding". No. You weren't. And I'm beginning to wonder what on earth you were raving on about when you mentioned the chattels in all the other countries of the world, that clearly made Samoa the best place to be.

The comments of the evening came from the outgoing MissTeuila, who bemoaned the loss of title. No more free air travel and "free lunch will be a distant memory". She even begged the owner of a beauty salon in Apia for just one more full body workover. Still, she insisted that any tears shed by her on the night would be tears of joy, not sadness, and thus my friends and I took her at her word.

The winner on the night was Pearl McFall, this year's Miss NUS (National University of Samoa). A work colleague's daughter came second, although thanks to winning seven of the ten category prizes, I'm pretty certain she doesn't mind one bit. She has something like six or seven return flights to New Zealand, hotel accommodation, cash prizes, wine, manicures, massages, etc., to enjoy.

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