Minister Tupa’i’s unfinished work
Outgoing New Zealand Foreign Minster, Tupa’imatuna Murray McCully, plans to return to Samoa to complete some unfinished business.
That involves fishing – with Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi.
“I want to spend a bit more time relaxing in Samoa,” Tupa’i told the Samoa Observer.
“I have been fishing once in Samoa with Prime Minister Tuilaepa and we didn’t catch anything so I want to improve on that record.”
Tupa’i did not say where and when they went fishing.
But he is certain he is willing to do it again and with a bit more time on his hands, the might be sooner rather than later.
The Minister was in Samoa last week for his last official as Foreign Minister of New Zealand. The 64-year-old is not contesting his nation’s next General Election.
Speaking about his relationship with Samoa, Tupa’i said it has been a great privilege to manage the relationship between New Zealand and Samoa.
“It’s been a habit trying to visit Samoa on a regular basis and I think most years, sometimes more and once a year. And that’s to make sure that the very big relationship we have, expands the whole range of different fields.”
Samoa will always hold a special place in Tupa’i’s heart.
“It’s sad for me in a sense that this is the last time I will be here as Minister of Foreign Affairs. But I’ve been saying to the Prime Minister, I’ll be back this year with my tourist’s hat on and I’m going to have more time on my hands, and this is one of the places that I’m going to spend that time.”
So what have been some of the highlights?
“I think one of the things that I’m most pleased with is that we’ve been able to work together in converting the region to renewable energy. The Samoan government has made a strong statement about moving to renewable energy.
“I’ve also got memory of the S.I.D.S. (Small Island Development States) conference here which is one of the truly huge events on the international stage that we were pleased to have played a small role in.”
But there is still a lot of work to be done.
“Going forward, the tourism work needs to be done, the waterfront work needs to be done - these are big things and we’ve got to make sure to look forward not backwards,” he said.
The good thing for Samoa is that Prime Minister Bill English has very strong Samoan connections.
Tupai joked that if English doesn’t have his government pay proper attention to the affairs of Samoa, “he will be in big trouble at home for a start.”
“But I can tell you from my conversation with him, he’s got the relationship with the Pacific especially Samoa.”
Tupa’imatuna McCully first stood for Parliament in 1975.