Manele congratulates New Zealand on the occasion of Waitangi Day
Caretaker Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Jeremiah Manele has congratulated the New Zealand Government and its people on the commemoration of its national day known as Waitangi Day.
Speaking at the Wantangi day reception yesterday, Mr. Manele said for Solomon Islands, New Zealand’s national day is a celebration of friendship between neighbors of the Blue Pacific Continent.
“Our shared history is connected by the ocean, culture and people,” he said.
Mr. Manele said the early work of New Zealand missionaries in particular New Zealand’s first Anglican Bishop, Bishop Selwyn, is one of early pioneers that brought the gospel to Solomon Islands.
“The Anglican Church of New Zealand for 126 years looked after the Church of Melanesia until it became a Province in 1975” he said.
He said the church of Melanesia today continues to have a rich connection with New Zealand.
“Selwyn College up at West Guadalcanal is named after New Zealand Bishop Selwyn, the Church of Melanesia’s University also at West Guadalcanal has a Maori name “Kohimarama” reflecting the strong bond with Kohimarama in Auckland New Zealand and Solomon Islands,” he said.
Mr. Manele said New Zealand has been a long standing partner in supporting Solomon Islands national election and looks forward to welcoming New Zealand election observers and other logistic support in making the election a success.
He then assured the High Commissioner to Solomon Islands his Excellency Jonathan Schwass of Solomon Islands’ commitment to foster a strong, mutually beneficial and equal partner with New Zealand.
“Solomon Islands looks forward to working closely with you and the staff of the New Zealand High Commission as we advance our common vision for a vibrant and prosperous Blue Pacific,” he added.
Meanwhile, his Excellency Jonathan Schwass said Waitangi day is usually held to commemorate the anniversary of the initial signing of the Treaty of Waitangi on 6th February 1840 between a British crown and Maori chiefs.
H.E Schwass said the treaty is a founding document of their nation with two visions, the Maori language and the English but both say the same thing.
He added New Zealand is committed to work closely with the pacific countries and regional bodies towards addressing the issues faced within the Blue Pacific continent including Solomon Islands.
“We are looking forward to ensuring our policing and defense support continues to align with the security challenges faced in Solomon Islands,” he said.
He said New Zealand has a bilateral program support of over $100 million Solomon dollars per year and it covers a whole range of sectors from infrastructures, fisheries, youth development, public sector, financial management and more.
By Ian Kaukui