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PM touches down in Samoa to commemorate 60 years of friendship between nations

Author
Vaimoana Mase, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 1 Aug 2022, 3:15pm
PM Jacinda Ardern is greeted by Deputy PM Tuala Ponifasio at Faleolo International Airport. (Photo / Vaimoana Mase)
PM Jacinda Ardern is greeted by Deputy PM Tuala Ponifasio at Faleolo International Airport. (Photo / Vaimoana Mase)

PM touches down in Samoa to commemorate 60 years of friendship between nations

Author
Vaimoana Mase, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 1 Aug 2022, 3:15pm

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has touched down in Samoa ahead of a special visit commemorating 60 years of friendship between the island nation and New Zealand.

It is a stunning day in Apia, with sunny skies welcoming the delegation this afternoon.

Among those who greeted Ardern were Samoan Deputy PM Tuala Tevaga Ponifasio and High Commissioner Dr Trevor Matheson.

The last time Ardern was in Samoa a few years ago, she was greeted by then Deputy PM Fiame Naomi Mata'afa - who has since been promoted to the top job after a new government was voted in last year.

PM Jacinda Ardern landed in Samoa this afternoon. Photo / Vaimoana Mase

PM Jacinda Ardern landed in Samoa this afternoon. Photo / Vaimoana Mase

Before leaving the Whenuapai Airbase in Auckland, it was revealed that a special meaalofa (gift) would be presented to the Samoan PM as part of the visit.

The gift is a series of photographs, including some of Fiame's late father Fiame Mata'afa Faumuina Mulinu'u, taken 60 years ago when Samoa achieved political independence in 1962.

Fiame Naomi's father was Samoa's first prime minister and signed the Treaty of Friendship on this day in 1962.

Speaking to the delegation, Ardern acknowledged that special connection.

"It's not lost on me the importance of this historical occasion; as well as [the fact] she is the first female prime minister in Samoa."

Ardern noted that the delegation includes other political party leaders and members; which she explained also has value.

"Our relationship with Samoa is a relationship between Aotearoa and Samoa."

A number of politicians are sporting traditional Samoan wear; including Ardern in a puletasi and National Party leader Christopher Luxon in a matching purple shirt; while Act leader David Seymour is sporting a maroon aloha shirt.