14 May 2007

Flags in Samoa at half mast, mourning death of head of state Malietoa Tanumafili

1:31 pm on 14 May 2007

All flags in Samoa are being flown at half mast in mourning at the death of the head of state, his Highness Malietoa Tanumafili the second.

Malietoa died on the weekend, in his mid 90's, after 45 years in the post.

Many Pacific leaders have been paying tribute, describing Malietoa as the father of modern Samoa and a man of great integrity and compassion.

Our correspondent, Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia, says thousands of people are expected to pay their last respects on Thursday as Malietoa's body lies in state within parliament's grounds.

"The funeral will be held at the Mulinu'u, where the parliament house is. After the church service, conducted under the supervision of the National Council of Churches on Friday morning at 10, then his body will be taken to one of the tombsites, very close to parliament house, where he'll be laid to rest."

Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia.