Samoa's 52nd Independence anniversary
It's Samoa's 52nd Independence anniversary since becoming the first Pacific Island to become independent in 1962.
Today marks Samoa's 52nd Independence anniversary since it became the first Pacific Island nation to become independent.
Over 1000 locals gathered in front of the Parliament House in Sogi, Apia, at dawn to take part in a national parade.
Celebrations continued throughout the day until the flag was lowered.
Indira Moala reports.
An official opening ceremony held this morning in Apia opened Samoa's 52nd Independence anniversary celebrations. Prominent leaders from around the Pacific including New Zealand Prime Minister John Key and his team of delegates, attended the official ceremony at Parliament House.
Asofou So'o, Vice Chancellor and President of Samoa's National University marched in the national parade which included over a thousand participants from the local community. He says he is proud that Samoa has grown in leaps and bounds.
ASOFOU SO'O: It's a celebration of the endeavors of our forebearers. Everyone is proud, everyone is happy to join every year to celebrate. In the last fifty years we've achieved so much. Education, our health system...look around, we are able to come this far.
New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key started the first leg of his Pacific mission with his attendance at this morning's celebrations. He arrived on Sunday evening and was accompanied by a large delegation of MPs and Pacific community leaders.
JOHN KEY: Overall it's just good to be here and to be part of the celebrations. This is a country that's been independent since 1962. New Zealand has a long history here. Nearly 150,000 Samoans call New Zealand home. So there's a very deep connection of course between Samoa and New Zealand.
He met with Samoa's Prime Minister Tuilaepa after the ceremony to discuss key issues towards strengthening New Zealand's relationship with Samoa even further. He says New Zealand is glad to contribute financial support towards Samoa's preparations to host this year's Small Island Developing States conference. He says the event will be the biggest United Nations Conference held this year. New Zealand will contribute five million US Dollars towards the preparations.
JOHN KEY: The biggest thing that we're doing for them this year is the support that we're giving towards the Small Island Developing States conference. About 3000 international delegates will come to Samoa and New Zealand is really providing a huge amount of financial support for that event.
Locals say the best part of the independence celebrations for them is being able remember the nation's history and their journey from colonialism to independence.
Maika Fepuleai is a young male student from Robert Louis Stevenson school who marched in the parade. He says the younger generation of Samoa love participating in the event.
MAIKA FEPULEAI: All the years of just independence and freedom that we have, it means a lot actually. Instead of having us just depending on other countries we're actually all free, and we can do a whole lot of things.
IM: So you must be proud.
MF: Yeah I'm pretty proud eh.
Maika Fepuleai says remembering Samoa's history helps the younger generation to appreciate the independent Samoa they have been raised in.
The celebrations came to a close in the afternoon with cultural entertainment and the lowering of the flag. Upon closing, Samoa's Prime Minister was presented with a gift from the Samoan government.
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