15 May 2007

High level delegations to attend funeral of Samoa Head of State

7:36 pm on 15 May 2007

American Samoa's Governor Togiola Tulafono will lead a delegation to the funeral of his highness the Head of State Malietoa Tanumafili II in Samoa.

The state funeral of Malietoa, who died after 45 years in office, will take place at the end of this week.

The governor cancelled plans to travel to Washington D.C. last night with the Fono leaders , Manu'a and Eastern District Governors and the Secretary of Samoan Affairs to lobby against an increase in local minimum wages, in order ot attend his highness funeral.

The governor is travelling with some members of the cabinet.

The United States Government is also sending a delegation led by Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Insular Affairs Papalii David Cohen, whose matai title was conferred by the Head of State.

The New Zealand Prime Minister, Helen Clark, will also attend the state funeral.

As part of the funeral, Malietoa will lie in state within parliament's grounds.

The Auckland Samoa Advisory Council will hold its memorial service on Friday and others are expected around the country.

Mr Puni says Malietoa's long service has endeared him to many of the 131,000 Samoan New Zealanders who retain a strong interest in Samoa.