18 May 2007

Samoans pay last respects to father of nation

3:22 pm on 18 May 2007

A heavy downpour in Apia has not deterred hundreds of Samoans from paying their last respects to Malietoa Tanumafili II who is lying in state at parliament.

The late Head of State died last week aged 94.

He followed his father to carry the Malietoa title and was made joint head of state when Samoa gained independence from New Zealand in 1962.

He became the sole head of state a year later when Tupua Tamasese Meaole died.

Our correspondent Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia says Samoans have come out to honour the man they see as the nation's father figure:

"Hundreds of school students and local people lining up on both sides of the road from the late Head of State's residence all the way to parliament house. There were hundreds and hundreds of people. And now his body is lying in state in parliament house so people are now going to pay their last respects before his burial service scheduled for tomorrow starting at 10 in the morning."

Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia