31 Jul 2008

American Samoa governor says festival spirit the highlight of his career

10:45 am on 31 July 2008

American Samoa's Governor Togiola Tulafono says the 10 Festival of Pacific Arts has raised the level of volunteerism in the territory to an

unprecedented level.

More than 2000 volunteers are serving as liason officers, drivers, security guards and cleaners at the festival which concludes today in Pago Pago.

Speaking to reporters before he and his wife departed for the coronation of King George Tupou V of Tonga the governor said never before has the territory been united as it has to host the Pacific.

The governor says that the festival has had a most profound effect on young people.

"That to me is the highlight of my career, politically, and my professional career is seeing a community just energised, to come together and put it all together. When I see children just sit there, late at night, watching the performances of cultural presentations, you can't help but get emotional about that."

Togiola Tulafono says he expects the territorial government to spend about $4 million less than budgeted to host the 10th Festival of Pacific Arts.