Ardern touches down in Apia for talks, Tokelau trip

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has touched down in Samoa and begun touring development projects before a planned meeting with her Samoan counterpart, PM Tuilaepa Dr Sailele Malielegaoi.

Ms. Ardern is in Samoa on her way to Tokelau where she will spend five days and meet locals to discuss issues such as the impact of climate change on the non-self-governing New Zealand territory. 

But before she departs, Ms. Ardern spent time in Apia at the new waterfront development in front of the government building and clock tower despite puddles underfoot and the threat of more rain.

Next she visited the brand new Manumea Mural on the wall of the New Zealand high commission where she helped launch the 12-month Save the Manumea campaign

Ms Ardern is accompanied by Minister Kris Faafoi, the first Tokelaun to hold office in New Zealand, and Ross Ardern, Administrator of Tokelau. 

Mr Ardern is the Prime Minister's father and said the trip was an opportunity to see the strengths of the relationship between New Zealand and the territory and identify opportunities for further support. 

"Our focus remains on the core elements of life in Tokelau, making sure it is a safe environment to live in," Mr Ardern said.

Ms. Ardern's visit is the first trip to Tokelau by a New Zealand Prime Minister since Helen Clarke in 2004.

"Tokelau's remoteness, and the difficulty in accessing it, means it's not had the attention that it deserves," she told the New Zealand Herald before departing for Apia. "Particularly as it is at significant risk of devastating impacts linked to climate change."

Ms. Ardern was scheduled to meet Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr Sailele Malielegaoi after 5 pm.

The New Zealand delegation will be hosted by the New Zealand High Commissioner Trevor Matheson at his residence this evening.

The delegation will travel for 24 hours on the HMNZS Otago on their trip to Tokelau after departing Apia. 

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