From left: Dean of the Diplomatic Corps and Samoa High Commissioner (HE Leasi Papali'i T. Scanlan), the Governor General of New Zealand (H.E. the Rt Hon Dame Cindy Kiro) and other members of the New Zealand Diplomatic Corps.
Photo by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade
On Friday 24th June 2022, the Governor General of New Zealand (H.E. the Rt Hon Dame Cindy Kiro) and Dr Richard Davies hosted the Diplomatic Corps to the first Official Reception to celebrate the Festival of Matariki. This is the first time that New Zealand has declared a public holiday to recognise and commemorate Matariki and it was a privilege for the members of the Diplomatic Corps to be invited to celebrate with their Excellencies at Government House. The Speakers for the evening were the Governor General, the Samoa High Commissioner & Dean of the Diplomatic Corps and the High Commissioner of Malaysia. In his speech, the Samoa High Commissioner referred to Matariki as Mata’ali’i in Samoan, which means the ‘eyes of the chiefs’. These are the same chiefs or ancestors who safely guided the people of Polynesia in their voyages hundreds of years ago to find new Territories with some landing in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Samoans also refer to God as ‘Ali’i’, and Mata’ali’i can also mean the ‘Eyes of God’ watching over the peoples of Samoa and the Pacific. The Dean ended by again thanking their Excellencies for hosting the Diplomatic Corps at Government House. It was a beautiful evening of sharing and warm fellowship, which ended with the singing of waiatas firstly by Dame Cindy and her staff followed by the waiata by the Members of the Diplomatic Corps.