Waitangi reaffirms Samoa and N.Z. ties

By Elizabeth Ah-Hi ,

690 Hits

HAPPY WAITANGI DAY: Some of the guests who attended the celebration of Waitangi Day at Le Tava on Tuesday night.

HAPPY WAITANGI DAY: Some of the guests who attended the celebration of Waitangi Day at Le Tava on Tuesday night. (Photo: Elizabeth Ah-Hi)

Samoa and New Zealand celebrated Waitangi Day on Tuesday evening.

New Zealand High Commissioner, David Nicholson, and his wife, Dr. Debbie Ryan, welcomed guests to their official residence at Le Tava to commemorate the special occasion.

In the 178th anniversary since the Treaty of Waitangi was signed, Mr. Nicholson honoured another year for New Zealanders to mark the significance of the founding document that provided a covenant upon which New Zealand society is built on.

He acknowledged the special partnership between the indigenous Maori of New Zealand and the Government as well as the challenges that come with a young nation striving to enact and honour the intent of the treaty over the years.

“The agreement, which was written in English and translated into Maori, was made between the British Crown and about 540 Maori rangatira (chiefs), and provided a covenant upon which to found our nation state and build our New Zealand Government. This was at a time of extensive settlement and commercial interest from British migrants and other settlers,” he said.

“The treaty signing was the beginning of the partnership between Maori and Government. The challenges associated with enacting and honouring the intent of the treaty from both sides has ebbed and flowed over the years, and been shaped and influenced by time.”

The Commissioner reaffirmed New Zealand and Samoa’s close relationship through the Treaty of Friendship and spoke of the value of Samoan New Zealander’s contribution to every aspect of New Zealand’s society and culture.

 “New Zealand’s connection with Samoa is embodied by the Treaty of Friendship between our nations, and Samoan New Zealanders have contributed much too all aspects of New Zealand’s society and culture. Like the Treaty of Waitangi, this agreement is founded on a spirit of cooperation and friendship.”

“Given that the population of Samoan people living in New Zealand is projected to match the number of Samoan people living in Samoa within the next two years, our challenges and opportunities are set to become broader and more varied, and our links even closer.”

Mr. Nicolson also announced in his Waitangi Day speech that on March 5, Samoa will be the first stop Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, when she embarks on her inaugural visit through the Pacific as the new Prime Minister of New Zealand.

“Prioritising this visit reinforces the importance New Zealand places on our relationships with our Pacific neighbours, particularly the likes of beautiful Samoa.”

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi was also present at the celebrations. Tuilaepa thanked New Zealand for their friendship and support in achieving Samoa’s goals for sustainable development in many areas including tourism, education and scholarships, health, customs and agriculture, sports and private sector development. 

The Prime Minister finished off his brief speech with a special toast to the success of another Waitangi Day.

 

Why Waitangi matters for N.Z. and Samoa

David Nicholson 

New Zealand High Commissioner 

Remarks on Waitangi Day in Samoa 


Ka tangi te titi 

Ka tangi te kaka

Ka tangi hoki ahau! 

E nga mana, e nga reo, e rau rangatira ma; tena koutou katoa. 

It is again a great privilege for Debbie and I to welcome you, this evening, to New Zealand’s Residence at Le Tava to commemorate Waitangi Day 2018; New Zealand’s National Day and our second Waitangi Day representing New Zealand in Samoa. 

Nau mai, haere mai; welcome. 

On 6 February 1840, New Zealand’s founding document, the Treaty of Waitangi, was first signed at Waitangi, in the Bay of Islands. The agreement — which was written in English and translated into Maori — was made between the British Crown and about 540 Maori rangatira (chiefs), and provided a covenant upon which to found our nation state and build our New Zealand Government. This was at a time of extensive settlement and commercial interest from British migrants and other settlers. 

The Treaty signing was the beginning of the partnership between Maori and Government. The challenges associated with enacting and honouring the intent of the Treaty — from both sides — has ebbed and flowed over the years, and been shaped and influenced by time.

Fast forward 178 years, and New Zealand is a country and a culture that brings together the customs, knowledge and tikanga of the tangata whenua — Maori — with those of people from all over the world; a nation that identifies as part of the Pacific. 

New Zealand is the Land of the Long White Cloud, geographically at the periphery of the Pacific but at the same time, it has become a melting pot and meeting place of Polynesia — a country built on journeys and arrivals, and an ethos of welcoming and embracing those from afar. 

New Zealand now occupies the unique position of being a truly multicultural nation, built on principles of biculturalism, but reflective, in many ways, of the fusion of people and cultures it has — and continues — to welcome.

New Zealand’s elections at the end of last year heralded a new era of political leadership in New Zealand, and our new Government is already more representative of New Zealand’s increasing diversity. 

Thirteen ministers within our new Government are of Maori (9) or Pacific (4) descent. Eight took their parliamentary oath in te reo Maori; and for the first time ever, an MP — the Hon. Aupito Sua Williams Sio— was sworn in to New Zealand government in the Samoan language. 

Of our four Pacific ministers, two have Samoan heritage, Aupito and the Hon Carmel Sepuloni; one is Tongan, the Hon Jenny Salesa, but married to Samoan academic, Damen Salesa; and the other, the Hon Kris Faafoi, hails from Tokelau — meaning Samoa provides the gateway to his Tokelauan homeland. 

In a little under a month, on 5 March, we will welcome the Prime Minister of this new Government — the Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern — to Samoa, on the first stop of her inaugural Pacific Visit. Prioritising this visit reinforces the importance New Zealand places on our relationships with our Pacific neighbours, particularly the likes of ‘Beautiful Samoa’.

New Zealand’s connection with Samoa is embodied by the Treaty of Friendship between our nations, and Samoan New Zealanders have contributed much to all aspects of New Zealand’s society and culture. 

Like the Treaty of Waitangi, this agreement is founded on a spirit of cooperation and friendship, calling to mind a well-known Maori proverb — nau te raurau, naku te raurau, ka ora ai te iwi.

When translated, this literally means: with your food basket, and mine, we will feed the people. Or, by working together we are capable of facing any challenge. Given that the population of Samoan people living in New Zealand is projected to match the number of Samoan people living in Samoa within the next two years, our ‘challenges’ — and opportunities — are set to become broader and more varied, and our links even closer. 

Both countries continue to ensure the Treaty of Friendship is meaningful in supporting Samoa’s aspirations and plans for sustainable development. 

Over the last year, I have seen the spirit of partnership and whanaungatanga that exists in New Zealand and Samoa’s work together, in many areas, including tourism, education and scholarships, health, customs, police and corrections, renewable energy, private sector development, agriculture, disaster preparedness, and sports.  

The connections are numerous and strong, and the approach is always to follow and enhance Samoa’s priorities and plans. In the future, I know we will continue this work together to achieve Samoa’s sustainable development goals and mitigate against the impact of climate change both here, and across the Pacific region. 

It is an honour for Debbie and I, and our family, to serve as New Zealand’s representatives in Samoa. Our work and commitment to this country is sustained through the warmth and hospitality of the people and Government of this beautiful land. 

I would like to thank you all for joining us here, on this Waitangi Day, to reflect not only on New Zealand’s history, but on the close ties between New Zealand and Samoa.   

Please join me in raising your glasses on this Waitangi Day to salute our ongoing relationship.

To the health and prosperity of the people and Government of the Independent State of Samoa — manuia, mauri ora!

 



© Samoa Observer 2016

Developed by Samoa Observer in Apia