31 May 2002

New Zealand to apologise to Samoa for past injustices

6:53 am on 31 May 2002

The New Zealand prime minister, Helen Clark, is expected to apologise to Samoa for the deaths arising from an influenza epidemic and the suppression of nationalist movement when it was under New Zealand administration.

Miss Clark is due to express her regret in Apia next week at celebrations marking the 40th anniversary of independence.

In 1918, a New Zealand ship brought influenza to Samoa which resulted in the deaths of thousands, with estimates putting the toll at 22 percent of the population.

In 1929, police fired on peaceful demonstrators, killing nine people and wounding fifty others.

Earlier this month, the foreign minister, Phil Goff, said New Zealand would not apologise for events before 1930.