The one-day celebration of Samoa’s 56th Independence Day has been hailed a success after thousands of Samoans gathered in Apia for the occasion.
The official programme was held in front of the Government building, starting with the morning parade.
Some seventy groups and organisations showed their pride in Samoa by taking part in the march. There, the Head of State, His Highness Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II addressed the nation calling for teamwork to improve the development of Samoa.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi spoke during an official luncheon hosted at Taumeasina Island Resort.
After the traditional entertainments, the official celebration was closed by the Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Afamasaga Rico Tupa’i, who is the co-Chair of the Independence Organising Committee.
“We have now come to the end of today’s official programme. It is our sincere hope that our distinguished guests, visitors from near and far, friends, families and all those gathered, leave here with lasting memories of Samoa and our pride in Independence,” he said.
“I acknowledge our special guests, His Excellency the President of Fiji, His Excellency the President of Nauru, the Honourable Governor of American Samoa, the Titular Head of Tokelau, you honour us greatly by sharing our special day with us. Your presence is felt with deep appreciation."
“I also wish to acknowledge and say thank you to the Diplomatic Corps and representatives of international organisations for joining our nation’s celebrations for 56 years of self-rule.”
The Minister also highlighted the importance of Samoa’s development and donor partners.
“Our development partnerships strengthen the building blocks of Samoa’s current and future economic prosperity and I wish to extend our country’s gratitude for your continuous support.
“On behalf of the Organising Committee, I wish to thank all those who made the early morning pilgrimage to march in the parade and those of you who showcased our unique Samoan culture and performed with pride for our guests, and for our country.
“To everyone in our community who joined us here today and everyone watching from home and around the world, I thank you for your support and well wishes for this national day of celebration.
“And finally, I wish to thank this year’s Organising Committee for their hard work and dedication to providing an all-encompassing, memorable Independence Day for Samoa.
“To close, I wish our special guests a safe journey back home and hope you take great memories of this day, and of us, with you. To one and all, may the graceful and merciful hands of our Lord guide us until we meet again.”
Here are some more photos from the march past.