Prime Minister’s remarks on New Zealand-Samoa Treaty of Friendship celebration


Remarks by the Hon Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mataafa on the Commemoration of 60 years of the Aotearoa New Zealand-Samoa Treaty of Friendship 1 August 2022

Samoa e, le atunuu pele, ole a taoto ia I lagotonu ou paia sauoo ma ou mamalu aua ole vaa ua mae’a ona faatute’e ma paelago. Ole a fagatonu le malama ma  vili le  ifi a Maina e tusa ole ‘auga o lenei sauniga ma le faatauaina ole asō. Ole aso muamua o Aukuso 1962, na sainia ai I Vailima le maliega faapitoa e faavae ai le mafutaga vava lalata faaleuo a malo e lua talu ona avea Samoa ma malo Tutoatasi. Ole asō ua tatou faatasi ai ma le afioga ile Palemia o Niu Sila ma lana aumalaga  tatou te faamanatuina faatasi le 60 tausaga o lenei pine faamau.

Rev Nuuausala Siaosi 

Afioga ile Ao Mamalu ole Malo ma le Masiofo

Rt Hon Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

Cabinet Ministers of Aotearoa NZ and Samoa

Speaker of the House

Members of Parliament of Aotearoa NZ and Samoa

Chief Justice and Members Judiciary

Former Leaders of the Government of Samoa

Distinguished guests & Dignitaries

Members of the Diplomatic Corps

Ladies and Gentlemen

It is a pleasure for me to extend a warm welcome to the  Prime Minister of NZ, Rt Hon Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and your delegation. Talofa lava. Thank you for accepting  our invitation to join us in Samoa to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of friendship which is  an integral part of the year long celebration of our 60th Independence anniversary.  We are happy to note the cultural and political diversity of your delegation which adds richness to our experiences and what we share as peoples of the Blue Pacific and stewards of our oceanic heritage. No doubt this visit will carve permanence in our minds on the significance of the Treaty of Friendship. I wish to also acknowledge with appreciation the opportunity provided to me early on in my journey as prime minister for my first official visit to New Zealand. We are especially pleased to note that this occasion will further foster the strengthening of people to people links and connections between our two countries.

Over the last 2 years we have not been able to visit families and the wider diaspora in Aotearoa due to the pandemic even though technological advances and information technology had cushioned the tyranny of isolation and separation.

Earlier on today, on August 1 we had celebrated the opening of our borders to the world  marked by the arrival of 2 flights from different destinations. Our journey through COVID has been facilitated and generously supported by the Government of New Zealand and its people and through many different avenues. I am pleased to note that we have been  vigilant in capturing all these opportunities to build our resilience and taking Samoa to where it is at and subsequently making the decision to opening our borders today.

We take this opportunity to pay our respects and express condolences to all families of New Zealand  and  of Samoa who have lost loved ones to COVID 19. We are aware that many of those in NZ were of Polynesian heritage including Samoans. We know that we have  not been the most popular destination with our stringent conditions but we believe we have done our utmost to ensure that our people and those who choose to travel to Samoa are safe and secure. Prime Minister you can be assured that we will seek your help should there be a turn of events in our COVID 19 status in the future.

On our 60 year friendship, it is a privilege  to be part of the celebration of this milestone today.  Personally, I feel an emotional twinge as this will be the second time this year that history has repeated itself. On the first of June,  60 years later I had the honour to raise the flag of Independence repeating the honour accorded to my father the first Prime minister of Samoa Afioga Mataafa Faumuina Mulinuu II in 1962. Today I am again at the helm of the celebration of the 60 years anniversary of the Treaty of Friendship, after the original signing in 1962 by Afioga Mataafa Faumuina Mulinuu II and HE Mr J.B Wright the then High Commissioner of New Zealand to Samoa.

For my generation the memories of the Treaty signing remain on archival records and photographs.. We pay tribute to our former leaders some of whom are with us here tonight who may have been part of the original signing.

The Treaty of Friendship marks the unique relationship between our two countries. I am told this is the only treaty of its kind between NZ and another country.

The Treaty is representative of the unique relationship between Samoa and Aotearoa New Zealand.  The Agreement affirms that  it is between two governments of “sovereign and equal status” – the relationship between our two governments is founded on respect for human rights and “the purpose and principles of the Charter of the United Nations” and that there is recognition that the close relationship between our two independent states is based on “friendship, confidence, and a mutual endeavour to obtain for their peoples fuller opportunities for social progress”.  

Both our governments commit to maintain and strengthen “the bonds of amity and goodwill” that have existed between them, and to “provide for continued cooperation.” On behalf of the Government of the independent state of Samoa I wish to reaffirm Samoa’s commitment to this Treaty.

We have a shared history. On reflection of our journey in the last sixty years. I wish to pay tribute to our ancestors and forbears who had built a sound foundation for a bilateral partnership that is durable, tolerant complimentary and understanding and a relationship that is mutually respectful, honest and trusting 

We are proud of the contribution Samoans make to all aspects of envelopment in New Zealand-we also take note of the negative aspects and do our best to deliver counsel through familial links and societal connections

Relationships depend on building and rebuilding. We also recognize that we can disagree. But as is the philosophy that is pervasive in the Pacific – there is always space to talanoa and keep dialogues open. The 60-year friendship has withstood the test of time and constant debate. We are committed to being a friend and equal partners and much less dependent. 

In the course of our journey, there have been champions of the Treaty. We are proud to continue the inspiration and drive of these pathfinders towards an enduring partnership.

In closing, the diplomatic bonds between Aotearoa New Zealand and Samoa continue to evolve but the Treaty of Friendship has endured as the compass of our bilateral relationship and has kept us on course and adherence to principles and values.

Our enduring friendship and continuing shared history will be defined by how our respective peoples interact, contribute and engage in either society. After all we are products of our histories.

I am confident that our unique friendship will continue to expand and deepen.  And we recommit ourselves to walk together on whatever paths the future may hold for us both as friends and neighbours in our home in the Blue Pacific continent.

Ladies and Gentlemen

Please join with me to propose a toast.  “To the Treaty of Friendship – may this cooperation continue to pave our paths into the future.

Soifua ma ia manuia