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With Samoa’s borders finally opened, event organisers are leaving no room to waste in returning to normalcy. The annual International Siva Afi competition is finally making its return since 2020, and this time, international competitors are joining in on the fun.
The 20th International Siva Afi competition is set to commence on the 24 – 26 November 2022 and Aotearoa’s very own competitors are seeking funds to attend.
‘Fire-knife girl’ Emillie Elizabeth Pritchard-Lovett, who won 2021 NZ Junior Champion in her first siva afi competition is seeking help to reach her stretch goal of $3000 to help source and secure accommodation and contingency funds.
Wahine Toa Siva Afi member Hadassah Tagoai-Vaoa, who placed top 3 in the 2020 NZ Siva Afi festival is also aiming to reach her stretch goal of $2000 with only 20 days left.
Multi-disciplinary performer Amo Ieriko has reached his funding goals of $1200 but the opportunity to still show support and donate is open but for a limited time.
The funds will go towards upgrading the competitors’ single and double knives for the event, their registration fees, airport tax for the knives and flight tickets. Contingency funds will go towards any medical emergencies or to help pay for accommodation and transportation.
The International Siva Afi competition has been running since 2002, (with the exception of 2021 due to Covid-19 border closures). It was created by Lene Leota who later formed a fire-knife dancing club christened The Ailao Club. Its purpose is to preserve and promote the art of Samoan fire dancing and to support the development of young fire dancers living in Samoa.
Club co-owner Clare Leota says they are thrilled to welcome international competitors and visitors for this year’s event.
“An exciting new event will be the very first Women’s competition which will take place on Friday 25th November, the first day of 16 Days of Activism, and the International Day Against Violence Against Women,” she says.
The judging panel consists of former fire dancers Galumanamana Patrick Rasmussen and Matagofie Kome Feagaimaali – who is also a founding member of the Ailao Club, and David Galeai, a three-times World Champion of the Polynesian Cultural Centre’s World Fire Knife Championships in Hawaii.
Each performance will be judged based on 4 categories. ENTRANCE – Tiotio ma le ola (Excitement), ACTIONS – Taga Eseese (Variety), Tiotio ma le ola (Excitement), Uiga o Aga Eseese (Showmanship), Taga Faigata (Difficulty), CONCLUSION – Tiotio le fa’auma (Dramatic Impact) and Overall Entertainment with single knives and double knives.
To qualify, all knives must have hooks and traditional Samoan lavalava, ula and tauvae must be worn.
To donate check out the links below: