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Laban: 44th Anniversary of Samoan Independence

Reception for the 44th Anniversary Celebration of the Independent State of Samoa

Speech given at the Auckland reception for the 44th Anniversary Celebration of the Independent State of Samoa on 1 June 2006.

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E iä te a'u le äva tele ma lo'u fa'aaloalo ou te fa'atalofa aloa'ia atu ai i le pa'ia ma le mamalu o le aofia ua fa'atasi mai. E'e ta'i ia le paia lasilasi i le fa'atafafa o le maota, i le afio o susuga i Fa'afeafaiga ma o latou faletua, Afioga I Tamali'i ma Failauga, Faletua ma Tausi, Tama'ita'i ma Sa'oao, se'I o'o lava i alo ma fanau. Fa'amälö le soifua!

E fa'atalofa atu foi i le Komesina o Samoa lau Afioga i le ao e'e Asi Blakelock ma le faletua, e fa'atalofa atu foi i lau Afioga i le Konisula o Samoa Va'ai Potoi ma le faletua.

Fa'afetai tele mo lenei avanoa ua tatou fesilafa'i ai, i le lagi e mamä, ae lë o le ta'ape o päpä. ia i le Atua lona lava viiga e fa'avavau lava. Ou te fa'afetai tele i le vala'aulia ua tu'uina mai e fai ai a'u ma sui o le tama'ita'i Palemia Rt Hon Helen Clark aemaise le Malo o Niu Sila, ua avea tofiga fa'alemälö, ma lö outou fa'aeaea, ua amana'ia ai lo'u nei tagata, e faia se upu pu'upu'u, mo le fa'ailogaina o le fa sefulu fa tausaga o le Tuto'atasi o Samoa.

I le amataga o le masina o Iuni i tausaga ta'itasi, tatou te mafaufau ai, ma tatou fa'amanatuina le Tagävai o le Tuto'atasi o lö tatou Mälö. Po'o fea lava e aläla ai lo outou mamalu, e manatua lava o tatou o Samoa. O le upu moni: "E iloa le Isarä'elu i lana aganu'u, ma lana gagana."

Ou te fia fa'aaogaina lenei avanoa e manatua ai ni fa'aupuga e fai ma a'u mea taua, o tusitusiga a le tua'ä o lo'u tinä, e fa'apea:

"E lë täua muä'au fa'alele,
Ae täua le tu'i o mulipapaga.
E lë täua le paepae tupe mua,
Ae täua le töfä.
E lë täua pö ula,
Ae täua le fesilafa'I o Aualuma.
E lë täua le ta'i,
Ae täua le Fa'amuli Tapua'i.
E lë täua Tofi,
Ae täua lou Fa'amaoni."

Thank you for your warm invitation to be with you all here tonight to celebrate Samoa's independence.

The 44th anniversary of the independence of Samoa presents us with an opportunity to reflect on our past, celebrate our achievements, and look to the future.

Remembering who we are, where we come from and our place of belonging helps us understand one another. Our history has shaped our past and defines our future. We must understand and acknowledge our history and place in the world.

For those of us that were born here, it is a good time to reflect upon the journey that our parents and grandparents made.

Like many Pacific Islanders, my parents left their homes, families and country to come to New Zealand and provide their children with education and opportunity. They worked hard so that we could succeed.

Today, as we celebrate Samoa's independence, I would like to take this opportunity to honour our parents and grandparents who left their families, villages and country to come to New Zealand. Fa'amalo, fa'afetai tele lava.

New Zealand and Samoa enjoy a warm and special friendship - Samoa is the only country with which New Zealand has a formal Treaty of Friendship.

Today, New Zealand is developing a modern relationship with Samoa, which reflects both our close ties and the changes, and developments that have taken place in both our countries since the Treaty was first signed.

Our countries continue to work closely together on issues of common interest such as Tsunami warning systems, bilateral World Trade Organisation negotiations, sports, security, and fisheries.

The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat also involves our two governments working closely for greater co-operation and mutual benefits across the region.

We have worked together to implement the Pacific plan which aims to enhance regional cooperation, stimulate economic growth, sustainable development, good governance and security for Pacific Island nations.

Samoan people have also helped New Zealand to realize our futures as a Pacific nation, and enhance New Zealand's diverse cultural, intellectual and social landscape.

In March this year, it was wonderful to see the premiere of the film 'Sione's Wedding' in Apia reflected in New Zealand newspapers, television and magazines. This was a wonderful celebration that showcased the creative talents of our young people, and the strong love and affinity they have for their homeland of Samoa.

An estimated 120,000 Samoans now live in New Zealand, making up about half of New Zealand's Pacific population.

Our Samoan people are role models and leaders in New Zealand. Tana Umaga has led the All Blacks, and Jerry Collins will soon captain the All Blacks against Argentina; Jonathan Lemalu the world-renowned bass baritone; Beatrice Faumauina, World Champion athlete and now ballroom dancer; Ladi 6, DJ Mu and Scribe who represent contemporary New Zealand music; Judge Ida Malosi, the first Pacific woman judge appointed to the District Court bench at Manukau, and the only two Pacific women city councilors in New Zealand, who also come from my electorate in Porirua: Taima Fagaloa and Litea Ah Hoi.

These are just a few of our people who remind us that we are capable of reaching the highest pinnacle of achievement in all walks of life.

We live in partnerships, families and communities, and it is our connectedness to our families and culture that is critical to our sense of identity - which in turn helps to strengthen the relationship between New Zealand and Samoa.

Finally, I would like to reflect that Independence Day is an important day to remember and learn from our ancestors. It was by uniting together that Samoan people gained their independence - and it was not an easy struggle. It is important to remember that by continuing to work together, we Samoans can participate fully in New Zealand's economic, cultural and social life and build a secure future for the next generation.

May your future continue to be as full as your past. Our Government looks forward to working in a partnership of friendship and respect with the people of the Independent Nation of Samoa. Malo Samoa!

Ia Manuia tele lava Samoa.

Soifua.


ENDS

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