The council chambers rang out with song yesterday morning as the community celebrated Samoa Independence Day.
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the passing of the Western Samoa Act by New Zealand’s parliament, which came into effect on January 1, 1962, and marked Samoa becoming a fully independent, sovereign state.
Seven months after this a Treaty of Friendship was signed, which emphasised the closeness of the relationship between Samoa and New Zealand and recognised “friendship, confidence, and a mutual endeavour to obtain for their people’s fuller opportunities for social progress”.
Flaxmere councillor Peleti Oli first instigated Hastings District Council’s recognition of this day in 2020.
After a break in 2021 due to COVID-19, he said it was great to come together again this year to recognise the contribution of the Pasifika and Samoan community to Hastings.
“I am truly grateful to Hastings district council for allowing us to hold such a special ceremony in the chambers.
“After Mayor Sandra blessed us with some beautiful words, the ‘friendship agreement’ was honoured through the presentation of the wreath, which was laid at the base of the flag pole out the front of the building.
“Church ministers, Samoan community leaders, and our dear RSE community joined us in the chambers, where we were entertained by Siva and Pese (dance and songs) from Raureka Primary school, Hastings Girls High School and Flaxmere Primary School.
“Tom Iosefo did a great job conducting the ceremony fulfilling traditional duties which gave the ceremony a special essence.”
After the ceremony inside the chambers, the activity moved outside where the Samoan flag was raised by Minister Tuliatu Iosefo and Councillor Henare O’Keefe, and those in attendance sung the Samoan national anthem.
“We are grateful for the relationships forged between our Pacific communities and Council leaders, relationships of love, trust, and especially growth - acknowledging the past and moving forward together to build better futures.”
Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said Samoa Independence Day recognised the relationship and the shared vision to bring prosperity and opportunities for the people of Hastings.
“The contribution the Samoan community makes to Hastings is built on respect, and love of each other’s cultures and values.
“The warmth and kindness of our Pasifika people, through their culture of caring and togetherness, enriches our community.”
2 June 2022
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