16 May 2007

Thousands expected to pay respect and honour to former Samoa Head of State

9:43 am on 16 May 2007

Thousands of Samoans are expected to wear black and white for the next two days to show respect and to honour the late Head of State, Malietoa Tanumafili II, before his state funeral takes place at the week-end.

The government has encouraged people around the country to wear a black lavalava or sulu and a white top with traditional elei patterns plus the national teuila flower.

More than 130,000 people of Samoan descent live in New Zealand.

The Auckland Samoa Advisory Council will hold a memorial service for the former Head of State on Friday and other services are expected to be held around the country.

New Zealand's Prime minister, Helen Clark, will attend the funeral in Apia.