Speech at the Official Opening of the SPREP Pacific Climate Change Centre, Apia, Samoa

E nga mana, e nga iwi, e nga reo, e nga hau e wha, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa. Talofa lava, Kia orana tatou katoatoa, Malo e lelei, Fakalofa lahi atu, Taloha ni, Ni sa bula vinaka, Mauri, Bonjour, warm Pacific greetings to one and all.

If you wouldn’t mind giving me a few minutes.

Fa’afetai atu i le SPREP, e tusa o lenei avanoa taua ua tu’uina mai ia te au. E fai ai a’u ma sui o le malo Niu Sila, e faia se matou upu, e lagolagosua i le Afioga ile Palemia o Samoa, ma le afioga ile Amapasa ole Malo Iapani, faapea le Afioga ilea lii Pule ole SPREP, aua le tatalaina aloaia o lenei ofisa fou mo le Pasefika.

Talu ai ona o lea ua o’u tu i ele’ele o Samoa o le atunu’u tofi. O le a muamua fai sau tala i le Gagana Samoa, auā le tufa’itoa o Samoa potopoto. A mae’a lea, ona ou tautala lea i le gagana Fa’aperetania mo tatou malo mai atunu’u mamao, ae maise latou e le’o malamalama lelei lava ile Gagana a Agelu ole Lagi.

Ou te manatu o lea ua mapu i tu’igāolo le toa na laga tafa. Ua apata foi lupe o le Tala Lelei, ina ua sunu’i le alafale o le upu folafola i lenei taeao. O lele lā ua mapu i le vaimalu le ulima, ina ua ifo le u i le tologa. Ae tau ia, ina ia maua ni agaga aua le Atua ma lona finagalo, e tusa ma le tapuaiga o lenei taeao fou.

O le ā e’e ia i lagilaofie ma lelepa fa’ava’atiui vasā le maualuga o lenei aso, aua ou te talitonu. O lea ua mae’a ona papae fa’atunuma o lagi malofie, le paia o lenei taeao. O le a ou le toe tāfoeina ai fa’atalamataso’o, paia  maualuga, i le Susu o lau susuga i le ta’ita’i o le sauniga, lau Susuga Nu’uausala.

Afio lau Afioga i le alii Palemia o Samoa, Lau Susuga Tuilaepa Neioti Lupesoli’ai Sailele Malielegaoi ma le Paia i Minisita o lau Kapeneta. Afifio foi sui usufono o le Palemene Tutoatasi o Samoa. Afio lau Afioga Maugaoleatuolo Shinya Aoki, le Amapasa ole Malo Iapani. Afio lau Afioga Leota Kosi Latu, le Pule Sili ole SPREP. Afio lau afioga ile Hai Komesina o Niu Sila, lau Susuga Dr Trevor Matheson, faapea ma sui mamalu o Malo o Atunu’u mai e fafo.

Ae le gata i lea, o le paia ma le laveloa ua aofaga potopoto, e molimauina lenei fa’amoemoe.

E ui ona o le aso sa taupoina, ma tu’umumusu i le Atua e ala i la tatou tatalo ina ia fa’ataunuu, a’o le upu moni lava. O le foe fa’ae’e i le tau, pe ana leai le Atua.

Ona ou manatua ai lea o upu a le fai Salamo e sula ai le alofa o le Atua na ia fa’apea ane ai. Fa’afetai le Atua, aua ua tele le fiafia ua e tu’u i o matou loto, ae iti’iti i ona po e seleseleina ai la matou saito ma le uaina.

Ao lenei aso, ua tino le lafoga sa tatala i ai le tofa ma le fa’autaga a taitai o le Pasefika ile SPREP, ma le malo Samoa ma Iapani mo se Ofisa e fa’apitoa mo le fautuaina, ma tu malosi mo le lagolagoina ma fa’a-aupegaina o finagalo o Taitai o motu a le Pasefika, mo le sailia o ni tali lelei ma le mautinoa, i fesuiaiga o le lalolagi e a’afia ai ma lenei itulagi o le Pasefika.

E ui ina ua tatou iloa ua tulaga faigata le lalolagi ma ona suiga, peitai, ua le avea lea ma ala o le nofoa’i ai o taitai mataala o le Pasefika, ae ia saili pea manū mo le manuia o tagata. Ae le gata i lea, ia mafai ona tatala atu avanoa mo motu uma o le Pasefika, latou te manino ai, i auala ma faiga, e finauina ai manuia mo le mataupu lava lenei o Fesuiaiga ole Tau, mai lea taimi i lea taimi ( Climate Change).

Fa’afetai i lau Susuga Tuilaepa, lau Afioga ile Palemia o Samoa, o lea lava ua taulamua le Malo o Samoa i lenei galuega. Ua tu’u mai iai le tauau lagolago ole Malo Iapani mo le fauina ole Maota fou. Ua aapa mai  fo’i, lima fesoasoani ole Malo Niu Sila aua le totogiina o nisi ole aufaigaluega fa’apitoa o le a galulue ai, mo leisi tolu tausaga, mo le manuia o tagata o le Pasefika.

O le fa’amoemoe maualuga, ia faia lenei ofisa ma totonugalemu o le vaituloto o fa’amanuiaga, e mafai ai ona tatala atu fa’amatalaga tonu, ma auala manuia, e tali atu ai i suiga ogaoga o le lalolagi ua i ai nei, ina ia lava tā oso ai ta’ita’i o le Pasefika, e tali atu ai i nei suiga, ma finau atu i Atunu’u tetele, ia manatu mai ile Pasefika.

E le gata ole fa’aaogaina ole malamalama fa’asai-enitisi fa’aonaponei, ae ia fa’ataua foi le faaogaina ole poto ma le malamalama faaleaganu’u taua o tagata ole Pasefika, aua le puipuiga o tatou alamanuia o loo fusia fa’atasi e le tatou siosiomaga o eleele, vaomatua, vaitafe ma le ogasami.

O le tatalo, ia maua mai i lenei fale ni anofale taua, mo le fa’amanuiaina o atumotu o le Pasefika, nei ma le lumanai.

Fai mai Tavita i lona atalii o Solomona “ o le mea lea ua ou avatua ai mo le fale o lau lava oloa, e fa’aopo’opo i mea uma ua saunia mo le fale.

I wish now to say a few words in English for the benefit of those who do not yet understand the language of the Angels of Heaven.

Your Excellencies. The Rt Hon Prime Minister of Samoa

The Ambassador of Japan to Samoa

The Deputy Prime Minister of Samoa and Chair of the 29th SPREP Meeting

The Director-General of SPREP

My ministerial colleagues from across the Pacific region

His Excellency the High Commissioner of New Zealand to Samoa, Dr Trevor Matheson and members of the diplomatic corp.

Distinguished guests, our traditional leaders, our chiefs and orators

Ladies & gentlemen.

As the New Zealand Minister for Pacific Peoples, there are 400,000 Pacific peoples who call Aotearoa their home, with 50% of Samoan heritage, all who have an interest in what happens in this region. It is an immense pleasure for me to join with you this morning.

New Zealand recognises that SPREP is the leading voice for environment and conservation issues in the Pacific, and a key pillar of the region’s efforts to adapt to, and mitigate the impacts of, climate change.

We see first-hand, alongside the Pacific leaders of our region, the impacts and implications of the climate change crisis facing our Pacific Island Nations. We acknowledge the ambitious action on climate change that the region has been calling for.

These challenges will require regional leadership and cooperation. I want to acknowledge the important collaborative role that both the Samoa Government and the Government of Japan are taking in their approach to SPREP’s Pacific Climate Change Centre.  The opening of this centre is an important milestone in enhancing regional coordination on climate change issues.  We in New Zealand are only too pleased to support this project, in cooperation with the Government of Samoa, Japan and SPREP.

New Zealand’s contribution is to fund key staff positions, including the Manger of the Pacific Climate Change Centre; a Readiness Adviser, to help SPREP member countries to access climate change financing; and technical advisers to coordinate knowledge management and apply science to real life challenges.

Our intention in funding these positions is to support the Centre to meet its important objectives of knowledge brokerage, support for applied research, capacity building and supporting innovation.

The Government of Japan, has supported the build of the Centre and will provide a programme of technical advisory training on adaptation and mitigation. New Zealand has a close and cooperative relationship with Japan, and this is an opportunity for us to collaborate with them on a practical initiative.

A key issue of importance for the Pacific is the role of the Centre in weaving together scientific and traditional knowledge, to find local solutions fit for local contexts.

I believe in order to build a strong body of indigenous knowledge, the next crop of Pacific scientists must be confident in their own Pacific languages, cultures and stories.

The Centre will also support our young Pacific scientists to address the challenges that matter to them, and to provide information that can help Pacific decision-makers to deal with climate change challenges.

We look forward to continuing to collaborate in the region including through supporting a Blue Pacific pavilion at COP25, working with SPREP and other CROP agencies, and Fiji as Chair of the Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS).

I commend the Governments of Samoa and Japan, as well as SPREP, for their vision and persistence in driving the construction of the Pacific Climate Change Centre.

We look forward to deepening our partnership over the next three years and beyond.

I want to convey to all of you the best wishes from our Prime Minister and the peoples of New Zealand.

Fa’afetai. Ia soifua.