New Zealand government Minister, Carmel Sepuloni, braved the wind and rain yesterday afternoon around the Apia Harbour.
She was determined board the Gaualofa.
Together with the New Zealand High Commissioner, David Nicholson and Sepuloni’s partner, Fijian artist Daren Kamali, the New Zealand delegation was welcomed on board by the President of the Samoa Voyaging Society, Schannel Van Dijken after a short motor boat ride to where the Gaualofa was anchored.
Even though Ms. Sepuloni is in Samoa on an unofficial visit - as the Associate Minister of Pacific Peoples and the Associate Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage, she was delighted to be given a tour of Samoa’s traditionally inspired 22-metre double hulled va’a and also have the chance to meet the crew and hear about their work.
“I am extremely honoured and privileged to be on board the Gaualofa today. Thank you for welcoming us on board, you’re doing a great job and we look forward to seeing you all in New Zealand for the festival,” she said.
“It’s really exciting to see the work that you are doing and what it means for the kids and the young people in the community.”
The New Zealand High Commissioner was pleased to accompany the Minister on a tour on board the Gaualofa, which will take place in the New Zealand Festival “A Waka Odyssey” which is celebrating the voyaging history and ancestry of the Pacific.
Recently the New Zealand High Commission in Samoa made a financial commitment of $10,000 to support the Samoa Voyaging Society’s (S.V.S.) participation in the New Zealand festival line up.
Mr. Nicholson said the New Zealand High Commission in Samoa was delighted to support Samoa’s role in showcasing the navigation and voyaging traditions of the Pacific at next year’s New Zealand festival.
While in New Zealand, S.V.S. and Gaualofa will also participate in other community engagement events, including the Auckland Anniversary and Waitangi celebrations, and various school and community outreach programmes.
Ms. Sepuloni is here on an unofficial visit to support her partner, Daren, who is participating in the Pacific Arts Association Conference, held at N.U.S.
Ms. Sepuloni aims to attend some of the sessions being presented by Pacific artists and academics having already attended the showing of Fiona Collin’s “aloFA tu” theatre performance on Tuesday evening.