Samoa toasts Australia Day

Samoan Government leaders on Friday celebrated Australia Day with the Australian High Commissioner to Samoa, Sara Moriarty.

The annual celebrations – which mark the anniversary of the 1788 arrival in New South Wales, Australia of the first fleet of British ships – was held at Ms. Moriarty’s residence at Tiapapata and was attended by the Head of State of Samoa, His Highness, Tuimaleali’ifano Va’aletoa Sualauvi II, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, Cabinet Ministers, and members of the diplomatic community. 

“Australia Day is about acknowledging and celebrating the contribution that every Australian makes to our contemporary and dynamic nation.”  

“For those of us lucky enough to be celebrating Australia Day in the Pacific Islands, it is also a day to celebrate and reflect on the ways in which Australia’s home in the Pacific has shaped us as a nation, and the strong relationships we enjoy with our neighbours and family in the region, including Samoa,” she said in her speech. 

Turning to bilateral relations between Australia and Samoa, the Australian diplomat said the two nations continue to build warm and strong relations. 

“Australia is an enduring partner of Samoa. Over the course of 2018 – my first year as High Commissioner – we continued to build on the warm and strong relationship Australia has enjoyed with Samoa since 1971.”

She also made reference to Tasi le aiga, e tutu malosi fa’atasi which were words on a banner displayed during the event, which meant “one family, standing strong together”. 

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“It is because Australia stands beside Samoa, supporting you in your development priorities in many ways – and we are standing beside your communities on rugby fields, cricket pitches and netball courts, as we invest in sports for development to encourage one another to live healthier and more active lifestyles.”

“We provided assistance through education like supporting the Technical Vocational Educational Training Programme (T.V.E.T.) by providing high quality programs.” 

“And of course, we provided schools and communities with support through Direct Aid Program, welcomed Australian advisers and volunteers to Samoa,” she added.

She also spoke about the strong and growing personal connections between Australia and Samoa through sports, media, education, and church partnerships.

The Prime Minister, in a speech to mark the occasion, said the two countries continue to build and strengthen their relationship. 

“We are gathered here once again to celebrate Australia Day and to reflect on ways by which we can continue to build on and strengthen our bilateral relations that are underpinned by development and security programmes.”

“And strong people to people links, these connections have helped to enhance and deepen our understanding of each other and strengthen our relationship to our mutual benefit.”

The Australian government is paying for the rebuilding of the Samoan Parliament, which the Prime Minister described as “significant”. 

“This year is particularly significant in this regard soon the doors of our unique of parliament will be opened. We are indeed deeply appreciative of a number of programmes that promote people to people links like the scholarships programme,” Tuilaepa said.

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