New Zealand is a country of immigrants.
So reminded New Zealand’s High Commissioner to Samoa, David Nicholson, during the local celebration of Waitangi Day on Monday night at Letava.
Having taken over from former New Zealand High Commissioner, Jackie Frizelle, Mr. Nicholson and his wife, Debbie, hosted dignitaries, guests and members of the Kiwi community in Samoa to celebrate at their residence.
“The tangata whenua, the original inhabitants of the land have been joined by people from around the world – people from Samoa and other Pacific nations, European nations, Australia, Asia, the Americas and Africa,” Mr. Nicholson told the gathering.
“Their children have been born as citizens of New Zealand, representative both of the promise of our country and the commitment made by those who have journeyed to Aotearoa, New Zealand.”
The people of Samoa play a very important role in New Zealand.
“This year is the 55th anniversary of Samoa’s independence from New Zealand and of the Treaty of Friendship between our two nations,” he said.
“The Treaty of Friendship is special as neither nation has signed such a document with any other nation. That reinforces to me the strong diplomatic, constitutional, economic, social and cultural ties between New Zealand and Samoa.”
Mr. Nicolson highlighted the growing relationship between New Zealand and Samoa.
“Both of our countries have worked to ensure that the Treaty remains a meaningful document through initiatives as diverse as the arts, education, health, justice, disaster preparedness and response and tourism."
“NZ’s and Samoa’s joint ongoing commitment, collaboration and investment in these areas ensure that the Treaty remains a living document.”
The importance of the relationship was not lost on Deputy Prime Minister, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, who congratulated New Zealand for another successful Waitangi Event.
Fiame also acknowledged New Zealand’s contribution to the development of Samoa.
Waitangi Day commemorates a significant day in the history of New Zealand.
Ceremonies take place each year on 6 February to celebrate the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand's founding document, on that date in 1840.