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Samoan Independence to be celebrated at Pioneer Stadium

2 June 2006

Pioneer Stadium will host the city’s Samoan communities during celebrations of Samoa Independence Day on Monday, 5 June, with cultural performances by church and school groups throughout the day. Entry if free.

Starting at 10am, about 12 groups from all over the city will take part in cultural performances, along with well known musician and singer, Felise Mikaele from Samoa, and the Island Fever Band from Christchurch. Some of the winners of the Schools Samoan Speech Competitions would also feature, and traditional Samoan food stalls would provide for the hungry throngs.

On 1 January, 1962, Western Samoa became independent of New Zealand. The national holiday, however, is marked as Samoa Independence Day on 1 June, and  continues to be celebrated by the Samoan community in New Zealand.

New Zealand first occupied what was the German protectorate of Western Samoa at the outbreak of World War I in 1914, and continued to administer the islands as a mandate and then as a trust territory until 1962, when Samoa became the first Pacific nation to re-establish independence in the 20th century. Samoa dropped the "Western" from its name in 1997.

Tagaloa Su’a, the chair of the Samoan Council of Chiefs in Christchurch said the events were being hosted by the Council of Chiefs and Mafutaga o Faife’au (Combined Church Ministers’ Forum).
As was traditional, Samoans marked such days by thanking God with a combined church service at the EFKS church at the corner of Linwood Avenue and Dyer’s Pass Road on Sunday 4 June, followed by dancing, music and food the next day, 5 June, at Pioneer Stadium, she says.

“Everyone in the city is welcome. This is not just an occasion for Samoans but for our Canterbury brothers and sisters to come and learn a little bit more about what makes the Samoan community as proud and strong as it is.
“We are a very family and community-oriented people who continue those ties in the communities we migrate to. Hopefully, Christchurch city gains from such strength,” Tagaloa says.


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