Treaty of Friendship honoured on Waitangi Day
Samoa and New Zealand’s friendship is “alive and well.”
That’s according to Acting Prime Minister, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, speaking to a Waitangi Day gathering on Wednesday evening.
The New Zealand High Commission hosted a modest and warm affair in honour of Waitangi Day, and were joined by Head of State, His Highness Tuimaleali’ifano Va’aletoa Sualauvi II and the Masiofo, Her Highness Faamausili Leinafo Tuimalealiifano and several diplomatic representatives.
In her address, Fiame said Waitangi Day in Samoa serves as a reminder of the unique relationship between the two countries, “as enshrined in the Treaty of Friendship between our two countries.
“These partnerships were developed in the spirit of hope and the promise for a better future, to realise our development aspirations and to utilise better opportunities for the future of all our children,” she said.
The 1962 Friendship Treaty was also acknowledged by Acting New Zealand High Commissioner Nick Hurley, even comparing it to the Treaty of Waitangi.
“One Samoan academic has even compared New Zealand’s relations with Samoa under the Treaty of Friendship as similar to New Zealand’s relations with Maori under the Treaty of Waitangi,” he said.
“That may be taking the comparison a bit too far. But the reality today is that outside the special relationship New Zealand has with the Realm Countries, our relationship with Samoa is the closest of any of our Pacific ties.”
Mr. Hurley said that more than 140,000 Samoans living in, and contributing to New Zealand explain how close the two nations are and their history together.
“Some of those shared moments have been painful, as we know,” he said. “But like the relationship between the Crown and Māori, it takes wisdom and courage to build partnerships and find a path through difficult issues.
“The closeness of our relationship enables us to deal in that way with differences that occur from time to time.”
He said that closeness has contributed to the international successes for both Samoa and New Zealand, in sports, arts and business.
“The number of iconic Samoans on the international stage is too numerous to list. My point is that these success-stories are as much Samoan as they are New Zealand. They are real, shared achievements.”
Fiame also chose to highlight the issue of climate change, and welcomed New Zealand’s pledge to increase climate financing support.
“I wish to underscore the need to strengthen our partnerships to find solutions to its impacts, not only at the national and regional level but also at the world stage,” she said.
Last September, the NZ Government announced it would commit NZ$300 million over the next four years in climate-related development assistance, most of which for the Pacific.
“The focus of this financial support is on creating new areas of growth and opportunity for Pacific communities. We want to support our Pacific neighbours to make the transition to a low carbon economy without hurting their existing economic base,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.