Hilary Scothorn


During the last two weeks of July over two thousand delegates from across the Pacific gathered in Pago Pago, American Samoa, for the region's largest cultural gathering - the 10th Festival of Pacific Arts. The Festival was conceived by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) in 1972 as a means of promoting heritage arts and is held every four years, rotating among the three Pacific regions. Twenty-two islands sent emissaries including dancers, musicians, visual and theatrical artists, poets, traditional healers, and filmmakers for exhibition, exchange, and dialogue. Rapa Nui was represented by the musical group "Matato'a" as part of a delegation of twenty musicians, dancers, and support staff. After an arduous journey through Tahiti, Auckland, and Apia, the twenty performers and staff set up their headquarters at Kanana Fo'u Seminary, sharing the premises with delegations from Fiji, Tonga, and Australia. Meals were communal and free-time events such as soccer (football) and canoeing fostered interaction among islanders.