Chef de Missions gather in Apia

Chefs de Mission and representatives from 13 Pacific Island nations and territories participating in the 2019 Pacific Games have returned home after a tour of sporting and accommodation facilities and meeting with Pacific Games Office.

The programme, which began February 27 and concluded March 1, comprised meetings with officials from the Pacific Games Council and the Samoa Government’s Pacific Games Office in Apia. The Chefs de mission and representatives were then given presentations on sports services, games village operations, games operations, security, catering and accreditation, before they were taken on tours of the various facilities within and outside Apia.

The Pacific Games Office advised in a statement that the key objective of the seminar was to provide information to all chefs de mission to assist their preparations for the upcoming Games.

CEO of the Pacific Games Office, Falefata Hele Ei Matatia, said the Chefs de Mission play an important role in the participating countries and territories’ respective games authorities. 

“The usual practice is for Chef de Mission to make a visit to the host country a few months out from the Games to assist in their preparations. 

“Rather than having each Chef de Mission visit individually, we thought it would be best to have everyone come to Samoa at the same time, so the Office sent an invitation out to all the participating Pacific games authorities with over half taking up the invitation.”

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Falefata said having a large group of Chefs de Mission visit at one time allows the Organising Committee to communicate information and lead tours in one go, as opposed to 13 separate times. 

“The idea was to do it all at once to allow the Committee to concentrate all resources on final preparations for the Games.

The seminar included a press conference where the Organising Committee and the Pacific Games Council were able to provide an update of the Games, as well as provide an opportunity for the Chefs de Mission to share their thoughts with media, concerning the gathering this week and give an update on their team preparations for the Pacific Games,” he said. 

Speaking at the press conference on Friday, Pacific Games Council Executive Director Andrew Minogue said that the recent Chefs de Mission meeting has in many ways been beneficial for them and the Samoa 2019 Organising Committee.

“For the Chefs de Mission, the main benefit is they’ve seen the venues, they’ve met the Organising Committee, they know who to talk to on the various issues, so it’s going to make their job easier back home putting their team together (and) understanding what’s facing them here in Samoa,” he said in a statement. 

“For the organising committee, I think hearing from the Chefs de Mission and understanding what their issues are, and what their needs are at Games time is going to be very helpful – because there have been things that we might not have thought of, or might not have thought are as high a priority, so it helps the Organising Committee.”

Furthermore, he believes that the Chefs de Mission gathering was a melting pot of ideas and setting expectations amongst the two groups – the Chefs de Mission and the Organisers – and that it helps both parties to do things more efficiently as the Games draw closer. 

A three-day seminar concluded on Friday with one-on-one engagements between the Pacific Games Office and individual Chefs de Mission to respond to the needs of each Pacific games authority. 

With just 126 days left before the Games, the Pacific Games Office continues to provide updates of their preparations, to ensure that Samoa and the Pacific Region are well informed of the developments in Samoa’s efforts to host the Samoa 2019 XVI Pacific Games this July.

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