“True friendship is a gift from God”


The celebration of the Treaty of Friendship was held, where Samoa and New Zealand 60 years ago signed the Treaty between the two Governments, the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum at Vailima, this evening.  

Cabinet Secretary, Agafili Shem Leo who is also the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, led the ceremony and welcomed New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her delegation. 

Present was Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa and her Cabinet Ministers. 

Agafili said it is only fitting to have the ceremony and reception held at the same venue, the Treaty was signed 60 years ago by J.B. Wright of New Zealand and the Late Prime Minister Fiame Mata’afa II, Samoa’s first Prime Minister and father of current Prime Minister, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa. 

Reverend Nu’uausala Siaosi conducted the invocation, but prior to that, cited the Article of Friendship signed on 1 August 1962 affirming that their relations, as Governments of sovereign and equal states, are founded upon respect for fundamental human rights and for the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, Recognizing that friendship, confidence, and a mutual endeavour to obtain for their peoples fuller opportunities for social progress have established a specially intimate relationship between them, and desiring to maintain and strengthen the bonds of amity and goodwill which have hitherto existed between them and to provide for continued cooperation. 

He said a “true friendship is a gift from God” and pointed to the friendship shared by King David and Johnathan indicated in the book o Psalms. 

“And a person who has a true friend should be thankful and appreciate that friendship. “David and Jonathan are a beautiful picture of what true friendship is and we can find the characteristics of this true friendship.” 

Reverend Siaosi says that friendship depicts the ties Samoa and New Zealand have, and it’s been there for a while. 

“Now we know one of the conditions within the articles of this friendship is that one of the parties decide to break that covenant it shall be done and 60 years that has not happened and we glorify God for the fathers and the great grandfathers who had laid down the foundation and planted the seed of friendship.” 

The Reverend also acknowledged the two leaders are women. 

New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern in accepting her ava said: “on behalf of Aotearoa New Zealand thanked the host Government, manuia.” 

Samoa’s Prime Minister Fiame in taking her ava, welcomed New Zealand’s Prime Minister and her delegation. 

“Prime Minister Ardern, thank you for travelling to Samoa to celebrate the significant anniversary of the treaty of friendship. We pray for God’s continuous blessing on the people of Aotearoa New Zealand and for Samoa and may your Government be blessed in the work that you are doing,” said Fiame. 

The Prime Minister also explained during the ceremony, that New Zealand’s Orator, as well as Minister Aupito Williams Sio is also a Chief from Lotofaga where Fiame is from and therefore it would not be appropriate for the Orator to respond in a traditional speech.

“And these are the tactic that we have in ceremonial processes,” said the Prime Minister. Adding that she’s proud the sons of Lotofaga and Samoa are now serving the Government and people of New Zealand in the capacity they serve.

Gifts of siapo, and fine mats, along with cultural presentations were presented to the New Zealand delegation.

A fine mat was presented without any decorations, and it was prescribed to be the highest honors in Samoa’s customs, said Agafili.

“Today we are proposing a change, our relations have matured and we have learned to care for one another our wish is for you to find the appropriate decore to the fine mat, and even include the ideas and values of the tagata fanu. The name of this fine mat is the new leaf,” explained Agafili.