New Zealand and Samoa celebrate 50 years of Friendship Treaty
On the Table in the centre of the Chamber of the House of Representatives lies an impressive wooden 10-slot tray, a memento of the close relationship New Zealand has enjoyed with Samoa for many years. The tray was presented to the House on 8 September 1955 by a visiting delegation from what was then the Legislative Assembly of Western Samoa.
The Parliament of the day noted the gift’s “significance as a token of the enduring ties and friendship which have long existed between our two peoples.” The tray holds papers and documents essential to the House’s business and serves as a daily reminder of New Zealand’s longstanding and unique relationship with Samoa. From December 1946 until independence on 1 January 1962, Western Samoa was a United Nations Trust Territory, administered by New Zealand.
This year marks 50 years since the Treaty of Friendship between New Zealand and Samoa was signed on 1 August 1962, 7 months after Samoa gained full independence. Samoa is the only nation with which New Zealand enjoys a Treaty of Friendship. The treaty contains seven articles that emphasise the closeness of the relationship and recognises “friendship, confidence, and a mutual endeavour to obtain for their peoples fuller opportunities for social progress”.
Samoans made up around 50 per cent of New Zealand’s Pacific Island population as at the 2006 census. A number of MPs in the current New Zealand Parliament across all political parties either were born in Samoa or are of Samoan heritage.
The special friendship between Samoa and New Zealand will be further highlighted this week as a number of members of Parliament visit Samoa, led by the Prime Minister the Rt Hon John Key.
A Samoan photo exhibition can be viewed by the public in Parliament House until 10 August. Viewing times are weekdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and groups by arrangement. Details on visiting Parliament are available from the related link on this page.