New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Deputy Prime Minister Vaovasa Winston Peters visited a Habitat for Humanity site in Magiagi yesterday.
They were there to view one of the houses built by the N.G.O. with the collaboration of A.D.R.A. Samoa and Samoa Housing Corporation.
The C.E.O. of Samoa Housing Corporation, Matautia Rula Levi, told the Samoa Observer this particular house was chosen because it had withstood two cyclones in recent years.
“We selected that particular project because it’s closer to N.U.S. and we call it the H.A.S. programme (Habitat for Humanity, A.D.R.A. and Samoa Housing Corporation),” she said.
“We thought of those houses that would be resilient to natural disasters especially after T.C. Evan and so we selected that particular site because after T.C Gita, that particular house withstood the cyclone.”
Matautia said the Prime Minister’s visit and show of support for providing funding to empower H.A.S. to build more of these houses was very encouraging and promising for locals who are in need of affordable housing
“Oh it’s great, for our country we had over 1083 applicants and we could only assist 290 because that was the target,” she said. “It only shows that there is a big demand for affordable housing which is good. There were strong words from the Prime Minister Ardern to say that there is a need for further assistance so that we can continue this work. Habitat for Humanity gets their funding from the New Zealand Government so that’s awesome.”
Ms. Ardern exchanged gifts with the Matai of the village and also thanked the owners of the house for opening their home to the New Zealand delegation.
“I turn especially to Theresa and Fa’ava for your hospitality, this is your home and there is no place more sacred than a home,” Ms. Ardern said. “So to open it to all of us, we are very grateful. This has been wonderful to come and visit and clearly the demand is huge and I know you will want other families to benefit to as with A.D.R.A. and Samoa Housing Corporation does and as we would want to see more of that as well.”
“My hope is that perhaps in the future we can support you to do that because there is so much that is still unmet and I know that must be heartbreaking to see.”
“Can I also acknowledge that there are strong women surrounding me today and I saw that you apologized to the deputy P.M. for that, actually the Deputy P.M. has pointed out on a number of occasions the role of the women in the Pacific and he is absolutely right I can see here representing the Samoa housing corporation and A.D.R.A and from the New Zealand part, Habitat for Humanity – that speaks to the importance of the role of women in the Pacific.”
Ms. Arden received a gift from A.D.R.A.’s Country Manager, Su’a Julia Wallwork in the form of two woven mats, one for her unborn child and for her partner. On the mats were the words Jacinda’s darling.