TONGA TO SEND 50 STUDENTS TO PAGO PAGO FESTIVAL

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Melanesian, Polynesian cultures to share spotlight

NUKU΄ALOFA, Tonga (Radio Tonga News, April 30, 2008) - About 150 students from the Teachers training college will take part in the 10th Pacific Arts Festival to be held in Pagopago, American Samoa in July this year.

The festival is held every 4 years and joins together the Melanesian and Polynesian countries and also New Zealand and features an exhibition of cultures.

The Director of Education, Dr. Uili Fukofuka said he had traveled in the last 2 weeks to Pagopago to see if things were ready for the Festival and said that American Samoa was well prepared and ready to receive the contingents.

Fukofuka said they have checked out the accommodation premises where the Tongan contingent will be billeted and have also seen to the food preparations and menus. He says American Samoa is providing all in-country needs which include accommodation, food and transport, during the festival. The only thing the Tongan government will provide is the airfares to and from the Festival.

Fukofuka also says that while he was in Pagopago, he attended a meeting to discuss Intellectual Property Rights which is a very important part of their task to help preserve traditional items like dancing, medicine, arts, history and many other cultural aspects - even fashion design.

Around the world, the Pacific region is the only place that has established Intellectual Property Rights according to Fukofuka.

The festival will begin on the 20th of July and will run for 2 weeks. The last festival was held in Palau in 2004. The Pacific Arts Festival first began in the 1970’s.

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