Head of State tours NZ

By Sialai Sarafina Sanerivi 15 May 2024, 8:00PM

This week Samoa’s Head of State Tuimaleali'ifano Va'aleto'a Sualauvi II embarked on an official visit to Aotearoa. 

The visit commenced with a formal welcome ceremony known as a powhiri held at the Government House in Wellington on Tuesday. 

Tuimaleali'ifano accompanied by his Masiofo were received by New Zealand’s Governor General Dame Cindy Kiro and her husband, Dr. Richard Davies.

The ceremony featured an impressive guard of honour by the New Zealand Defence Force and delightful performances by students from Wellington College and Naenae Primary School's Tava’e Samoan Bilingual Unit. 

For the event, the two heads of state donned tapa cloths that were gifted to them during their state visit to Samoa in 2022.

A 21-gun salute was also done marking the significance of the visit.

In addition to the ceremonial proceedings, Tuimaleali'ifano engaged with the local community, including a visit to Naenau Primary School Tava'e, which houses the first Samoan bilingual unit in Wellington. This visit highlighted the educational and cultural connections between Samoa and New Zealand.

The day concluded with a state dinner hosted by Dame Cindy. 

In her speech, Dame Cindy reflected on her previous encounters with the Head of State, including her official visit to Samoa in 2022 and their meeting in London last year, where Tuimaleali'ifano delivered a poignant address to representatives of island nations. 

She praised the significant contributions of the over 180,000 New Zealanders of Samoan heritage and emphasised the mutual benefits of these ties.

"We look forward to even closer ties between New Zealand and Samoa in the future – capitalising on the energy and resolve both nations can bring to addressing the challenges of our times, and creating a sustainable and prosperous future for our peoples."

On Wednesday, Tuimaleali'ifano paid tribute to the Pacific Islanders who served in the military by laying a wreath at the Pacific Island Memorial in Pukeahu National War Memorial Park. This gesture underscored the shared history and enduring bonds between Samoa and New Zealand.

By Sialai Sarafina Sanerivi 15 May 2024, 8:00PM
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