13 Aug 2012

Samoa PM gets honorary doctorate in NZ

12:37 pm on 13 August 2012

Samoa's Prime Minister is today receiving an honorary Doctorate of Laws from Victoria University in Wellington.

The university's vice-chancellor, Professor Pat Walsh, says Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi's contribution to Samoa has been immense.

The Pacific's longest serving political leader, he has been an MP since 1980, becoming deputy prime minister in 1991 and prime minister in 1998.

Tuilaepa is noted for his efforts in strengthening Samoa's relationships with other nations and advocating for regional approaches on key issues.

Last year, he helped establish the Polynesian Leaders Group, which aims to promote and protect Polynesian cultures, and achieve sustainable development and prosperity in the region.

Professor Walsh says it is particularly fitting that in the 50th anniversary of Samoan independence and the Treaty of Friendship between Samoa and New Zealand, the university can recognise Tuilaepa's enormous influence on Samoa.

Victoria University is also to extend a number of scholarship a co-operation arrangements with Samoa.