31 May 2012

Samoans make final touches ahead of independence day celebrations

5:15 am on 31 May 2012

The people of Samoa are making the final touches ahead of celebrations tomorrow to mark 50 years since independence from New Zealand.

Visiting dignitaries will be welcomed this afternoon with an ava, or kava, ceremony.

Philippa Tolley reports from Apia.

"Villages surrounding the capital, Apia, are already decorated with blue and red bunting, the colours of Samoa's flag. And flags small and large are hanging from poles along the roadside. At the end of work, people were out painting edgings, rooves and walls to make sure everything is looking smart for the five days of festivities which start tomorrow."

New Zealand's Governor General, Lieutenant General Sir Jerry Mateparae, told a reception at the New Zealand High Commissioner's residence, that people to people links were at the forefront of the bond between the two nations. In reply, Samoa's Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, described the relationship between New Zealand and Samoa as unique.