(Picture caption: L-R Leatigaga Jason Tualima - Deputy Secretary Corporate Services, Fa'asaulala Tagoilelagi-Leota - Princepal Analyst Research and Evaluation, Laulu Mac Leauanae - Secretary for Pacific Peoples, Chief Executive Ministry for Pacific Peoples, Prime Minister of the Independent State of Samoa, the Honorable Afioga Fiamē Naomi Mata’afa, Minister for Pacific Peoples Hon. Aupito William Sio, Aiono Matthew Aileone - Deputy Secretary Policy, Research and Evaluation, Languages and Housing, Rongomaitauarau Nelly Cowan Private Secretary, and Musu Neil Tapu-Sitagata following the bilateral meeting between Samoa and New Zealand officials. Photo credit: Hagen Hopkins Photography.)
Prime Minister of the Independent State of Samoa, the Honourable Afioga Fiamē Naomi Mata’afa has concluded her diplomatic mission to New Zealand by expressing gratitude to Auckland’s Samoan community during an Interdenominational Prayer Service.
After Prime Minister Mata’afa was welcomed to New Zealand on June 14, in what was her first bilateral overseas visit, she spent the week attending a series of community and official engagements in Wellington, Hawkes Bay and Auckland.
The visit has also commemorated 60 years since the Treaty of Friendship between Samoa and New Zealand was signed.
Samoa's first Prime Minister and Afioga’s father, Rt Hon Fiame Mata'afa Faumuina Mulinu'u II was the signatory for Samoa on the Treaty which underpins the Pacific nations’ relationship and pledges both countries work together to promote the welfare of the people of Samoa.
Throughout the week, Prime Minister Mata’afa tackled key issues affecting the region, development cooperation and ongoing respective COVID-19 responses.
She represented Samoa at a bilateral meeting with New Zealand officials, and at various ministerial engagements speaking on trade and export, immigration and climate change, while also coordinating visits with the Samoan Seasonal Regional Employer (RSE) contingent.
After laying a wreath for the veterans at the Pacific Islands Memorial, Prime Minister Mata’afa met with an inspired Pacific Caucus for talanoa.
She then concluded her visit to Aotearoa at an Interdenominational Prayer Service, staged at Malaeola Centre in South Auckland, led by Samoan faith leaders, and supported by the Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP).
The event was an opportunity for the Prime Minister to connect with the Auckland Samoan community, and to also thank the people of New Zealand for her experience here.
Following her time in New Zealand, Prime Minister Mata’afa flew to Malaysia, continuing her diplomatic duties.
The relationship New Zealand and Samoa have is a special one, to be treasured and nurtured – especially with the large Samoan population calling Aotearoa home.
Prime Minister Mata’afa’s visit is reassurance the future of this friendship is in good hands.