The Governor-General, Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae, is to visit Samoa to mark both the 50th anniversary of the Pacific nation’s independence and the Treaty of Friendship between the two nations.
Following the State Visit to Samoa, Sir Jerry Mateparae will also undertake his first visit to Tokelau, as Governor-General.
Sir Jerry says the visit to Samoa will reaffirm the strong ties and bilateral relationship between the two South Pacific nations, symbolised by the 1962 Treaty of Friendship – the only country with which New Zealand has such a Treaty. Samoa became independent on 1 June 1962.
“Both New Zealand and Samoa are rebuilding in the wake of natural disasters, and the support has been reciprocal.
“More than 130,000 New Zealanders of Samoan descent now call New Zealand home and make up about half of our Pacific Island population. Their significant contributions are reflected in New Zealand’s national and international achievements, highlighted by the talented Samoans who have excelled in the arts, literature, sport, film-making, music, business and a host of other areas.”
Sir Jerry was Chief of the New Zealand Defence Force at the time of the Pacific tsunami in September 2009, where the Royal New Zealand Air Force and the Royal New Zealand Navy, along with some 150 military personnel responded in the immediate aftermath of the disaster
The visit to Tokelau will reinforce the special ties between New Zealand and Tokelau.
He says he is looking forward to visiting the remote atolls of Tokelau to meet the Ulu, the General Fono, and the people of the region.
“My visit reflects the importance of our special relationship with Tokelau and New Zealand’s commitment to supporting the long-term development of the atolls.”
The Governor-General’s programme on each atoll will include a welcome ceremony involving the entire community, formal meetings with the Taupulega (Village Council) and visits to major infrastructure projects supported by New Zealand.
While the Governor-General is overseas from May 30 – June 7, the Chief Justice, Rt Hon Dame Sian Elias, will serve as Administrator of the Government.
Source: Government House.