Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi has paid tribute to the recipients of the Government's Honours and Awards for 2017.
Twelve outstanding individuals were honoured for their services to Samoa during a special ceremony at Gym One, Tuanaimato, last night.
Among the recipients of the honours was Samoa’s World Heavyweight champion, Lupesoliai Laauliolemalietoa Joseph Parker who received the Order of Merit Award. He shared the honour with former Clerk of the Legislative Assembly, Mase. Dr. Fetuao Toia Alama
Namulauulu Galumalemana Netina Schmidt’s services to Samoa in the area of education earned her the Officer of the Order of Samoa.
Hans Kruse was also the recipient of the Office of the Order of Samoa- Third Class. Leilua Galuvao Dr. Faaali Aloaina received the Member of the Order of Samoa while Fuaolefaulepouli Soonalote Naseri was the recipient of the Head of State’s Service Award.
The Head of State’s Service Medal was presented to Afemata Tunumafono Apelu Aiavao, Lafaitele Aiga Poasa Tupae Esera, John Desmund Luff, Falenaoti June Leo Oloialii, Maria Muagututia Sefo and Tuliafiafi Tofa Togaiu Li'o.
The award winners were congratulated by Prime Minister Tuilaepa last night.
According to Tuilaepa, the initiative was born in 1984 during the reign of the late Tofilau Eti Alesana as Prime Minister.
“It was not easy to come up with a decision at first so they assigned me and Lauofo Meti Meredith to come up with a plan for this programme to honor the service of our people.
“It used to be an annual programme, but we decided that it will lose its value and importance if we do it annually.”
Tuilaepa said the awards recognise exceptional service to Samoa in different areas of expertise.
“So this year,we are recognising some of those with different expertise who have been serving the country and the communities for a long time, making a big difference to Samoa.”
The Prime Minister added that the awards used to be presented during the Independence Day ceremony.
“But we stopped having it around that time because we’ve seen that it was taking away the spirit of Independence celebration.
“People paid more attention to those receiving medals than the actual purpose of Independence Day. So we decided to have it separated from Independence Day.”
Asked about the eligibility criteria, Tuilaepasaid members of the public are free to nominate. The nominees are then assessed by a special committee who come with a final decision.
More details and photos from last night’s award ceremony in tomorrow’s Sunday Samoan.