On a chilly Auckland afternoon, the Samoan High Commissioner offered greetings from warm Pacific Samoa at a friendly event marking the centenary of New Zealand's occupation of Samoa.
Following the announcement of war on 4 August 1914, New Zealand moved quickly to land a force of approximately 1400 at German Samoa.
One hundred years on, representatives from Samoa, New Zealand, Germany, Britain and Australia laid wreaths at Auckland Cenotaph to mark the centenary of New Zealand's occupation of Samoa on 29 August 1914.
His Excellency Lieutenant General the Right Honourable Sir Jerry Mateparae, GNZM, QSO, Governor-General of New Zealand and His Excellency Leasi Papali’i Tommy Scanlan, High Commissioner for Samoa both read historical excerpts that provided perspectives on the past.
The warm friendship between the countries continued in the poem read by college students Leorida Peters and Ben Gatting. The poem Remembering WW1 in Samoa is by Karlo Milo whose father served in the 1914 force, his wife was Samoan:
a fate combined
in which mistakes were made
even love awakened,
and the ocean between us
to become a pathway...
Members of the Royal New Zealand Navy formed a Guard of Honour and the choir from De La Salle College performed items in Samoan and Maori to an exceptional standard.
The programme for this ceremony is available here http://ww100.govt.nz/national-ceremonies.
The High Commissioner for Samoa, His Excellency Leasi Papali'i Tommy Scanlan, recites an historic reading during the ceremony. Crown Copyright © NZDF
Ben Gatting and Leorida Peters recite a poem during the ceremony. Crown Copyright © NZDF.
The De La Salle College sing during the ceremony. Crown Copyright © NZDF.
Guard of honour at the Cenotaph, Auckland Domain