Tokelau Liaison Office celebrates new year

The Tokelau Apia Liaison Office at Matautu held a church service on Monday to mark the starting of a new year and to celebrate a fresh beginning.

The church service was led by Rev. Penaia Koro Saleaula of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa (C.C.C.S), who is also of Tokelauan descent and was attended by the Tokelau Public Service Commissioner, Tiso Fiaola and the Tokelau Apia Liaison Office staff.

Tokelau Public Service Commissioner, Tiso Fiaola, told the Samoa Observer in an interview that the occasion was to celebrate a new year and an opportunity to celebrate a fresh beginning.

Tokelau cultural components and their spiritual background were also incorporated into the programme, which is why Rev. Koro led their service and assist set the direction for the year 2021.

Asked if this the first church service of its type to be held by their office, Mr Fiaola explained that the Tokelau Apia Liaison Office at Matautu is in a new building, and 2021 is the first year for their new premises. 

When asked if the church service will become an annual part of the office’s calendar of events, he said: “I don’t know, I’d like to think it could be.”

Mr Fiaola said 2020 has been challenging due to the travel restrictions and movement of people and goods due to the COVID-19 pandemic, though he hopes from semblance of normal travel can be found, in order to open up education opportunities as well as improve the economy and reduce stress.

“Samoa is the gateway, not only in terms of goods and services, but also people so we have to really rely on and respect Samoa’s border controls whether it be from an economic perspective or a human resource perspective,” he said.

Mr Fiaola also thanked the organising committee and social clubs for the event and made special mention of Rev. Koro for guiding them with the service on Monday morning.

And while the pandemic continues to hang over the Pacific islands amid a global vaccine rollout, the Tokelauan said he’s hopeful the vaccinations in the region can add an extra layer of protection to allow the people to recover.

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