Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, officially opened the new Samoa High Commission complex in Canberra, Australia last week.
It was a momentous occasion for the diplomatic community and the Samoans from around Australia. The complex comprises of a new chancery and official residence.
The ceremony commenced with the national anthems played by the Royal Military Band followed by introductory remarks by Hinauri Petana, High Commissioner of Samoa to Australia. Reverend Sapati Solipo, Chairman of the Council of Samoan Congregations in Canberra, conducted the prayer service.
Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, Minister for International Development and Pacific, spoke on behalf of the Australian Government and congratulated Samoa on the completion of an impressive building adding to the colourful panorama of embassies in Yarralumla, the centre of the diplomatic community.
She spoke of the close partnership between Samoa and Australia, and the leadership Samoa has continued to demonstrate in its affairs and especially in the region. She reflected on the investment by Australia in the country, contributing to its economic development goals.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa reiterated the long-standing and enduring partnership with Australia, with this year being the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
He acknowledged the great contribution by Australia to Samoa's development goals. He also acknowledged the important role of the diplomatic community in our national, regional and international goals, and emphasised strong collaboration on the priority issues of relevance to all of climate change, its impact on the environment, and the imminent danger to our oceans and marine life.
He warmly welcomed the strong presence of the Samoan community, and urged them to continue to work together with our High Commission in support of the welfare of our people in Samoa and here in Australia. He also urged them to use wisely the opportunities available in Australia for economic and social empowerment.
The design of the building is an archetype of a traditional Samoan building (fale) in a modern setting, and incorporates elements of a typical Samoan fale, with sinnet-woven motifs decorating the top of the concrete pillars in the reception foyer.
The Prime Minister commended the iconic design by the firm of Cox Architecture, and paid tribute to the late Lemalu Tate Simi, former High Commissioner, who worked with the firm on the design before his untimely death in 2014.
The Prime Minister also commended the excellent workmanship carried out by the Contractor, Manteena Construction, on the buildings.
He went on to thank the present High Commissioner, Hinauri Petana, and staff, for ensuring the execution of the project was carried out within budget and on time as scheduled.
He noted that this was a rare achievement these days. The Prime Minister also acknowledged the contribution by the Accident Compensation Corporation, which enabled the construction of the new chancery.