One of Tokelau’s developmental aspirations was achieved late last week when the Ministry of Transport and Support Services (TSS) took over the crew and full commercial management of the vessel MV Mataliki.
The Ulu o Tokelau Hon Afega Gaualofa delivered the keynote address at the celebratory event marking the milestone in Apia, Samoa.
“Today [Friday, 31 August] marks a key milestone that will generate opportunities for Tokelau and will ultimately improve the quality of life of our people,” stated Gaualofa who is also the Minister for Transport.
“It has always been the long-term vision of Tokelau to one day run and manage our own vessels.”
The hand-over was a “titanic step” to realizing that vision which will now focus on taking over the technical management of the vessel in the near future he promised.
Tokelau’s Transport Plan he reminded the many Tokelau public servants in attendance is about “ensuring that our people get equal opportunity with productivity and prosperity, and all of these opportunities take us closer to meeting our national vision of improved quality of life for our people.”
He acknowledged the important role of New Zealand Company, Transport and Marine Limited (TML), for managing the Mataliki since it first commenced services in March 2016.
“We value the expertise shared during the years of our partnership, and take with us the many lessons learned that we can draw from to strengthen our internal capacity.”
TML will continue to manage the technical side of the service that will “ensure a safe and reliable shipping service for our people.”
Gaualofa made special acknowledgements to the support by New Zealand in helping Tokelau “realize its long term goals”; and to the hard working staff of Transport and Support Services.
“The decision taken…is in the best interest of our people and nation. It will not be easy and you will encounter many challenges,” he said.
“It will require boldness, determination, commitment and a lot of team effort.”
The expectation from your Council and Leaders is simple – excellence in service.”
The milestone also provided a moment in time where people in the middle should give themselves an opportunity to reflect and celebrate a milestone reached on a long journey. Such opportunities are generally overlooked due to heavy workloads and busy schedules according to Director of Transport, Su’a Himona Mei.
“Today marks a significant achievement for Tokelau, for our Public Service and for our department. And I believe it is only appropriate that we take time to celebrate together,” he said.
“Sharing this occasion with you today marks a collaborative effort across the Tokelau Public Service and I sincerely hope that we can organize and make more of these occasions part of our journey.”