NZ Prime Minister's visit to mark Treaty's 60th Anniversary

By Alexander Rheeney 28 July 2022, 4:19PM

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced she will lead a parliamentary and community delegation to Apia, Samoa as part of a two-day visit to mark the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Friendship.

In a statement released by her Office on Thursday, Ms Ardern said it was an honour to be invited to Samoa to celebrate "the friendship and strong partnership our countries have enjoyed" over the past 60 years.

“This trip builds on Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa’s visit to Aotearoa New Zealand in June, and provides another opportunity for us to reflect on our shared past and think ahead to a shared future," the Prime Minister said in the statement. 

“In 1962, Samoa became the first Pacific nation to achieve independence, after almost 50 fifty years under Aotearoa New Zealand’s administration.

“Two months later, the Treaty of Friendship was signed, committing both governments to working together to promote the welfare of the people of Samoa, and conduct our relationship in the spirit of close friendship; the Treaty remains the guiding light for our way forward."

The Treaty of Friendship was signed by Samoa’s first Prime Minister, Fiame Mata’afa Faumuina Mulinu’u II – father of current Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa – on 1 August 1962.

The centrepiece of Ms Ardern’s visit, according to the statement, will be a reception in Apia in commemoration of the Treaty of Friendship.

The NZ Prime Minister will travel with the Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage, Carmel Sepuloni; Minister of Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio; Leader of the Opposition, Christopher Luxon; representatives from each political party in Parliament and a delegation of Aotearoa New Zealand and Pacific leaders.

Ms. Ardern and her delegation will depart Auckland on the morning of next Monday and return in the evening of next Tuesday.

Meanwhile, New Zealand's ACT Leader David Seymour and Immigration and Defence spokesperson Dr James McDowall will join the Prime Minister’s delegation to Samoa next week.

“ACT is happy to be part of this important occasion as we strengthen ties with our Pacific partners,” Mr Seymour said in a statement released Thursday. 

“The 60th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Friendship is an important occasion and one we should celebrate.

“This trip has a clear purpose and is an important occasion. We’re pleased to be part of this cross-party event.

“ACT has been clear that we are committed to building better connections with our Pacific Island neighbours. This is more important than ever at the moment.”

By Alexander Rheeney 28 July 2022, 4:19PM
Samoa Observer

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