Ulu o Tokelau 2014 Statement
Opening of the General Fono
Monday 23 February 2015,
St Maletino Tepole Talikilagi, Nukunonu
|1.0 Tulou! Malo Ni! I acknowledge the presence of God's servant Father Aro and Deacon Pio Tuia. I would like to thank you Monsignor for the message of light and life to guide this occasion. We acknowledge God's enduring love that has brought us all safely to Nukunonu.
2.0 I acknowledge:
• Na Kau Hauatea [the elders]
• The Representative of the Administrator of Tokelau - Roger Cornforth and the Tokelau Development Manager: Maria Reynen Clayton;
• Chairperson of the General Fono;
• Members of the General Fono;
• Members of the Council of the Ongoing Government; and
• Members of the Public Service in the Villages and National.
3.0 I also want to acknowledge the children of Tokelau - Fanau a Matiti, Na Tupulaga, Fatupaepae and the family of Tokelau.
4.0 When I heard the voices of our children this morning I could not hold back my emotions thinking what does the future hold for them? I believe that their future should be in their hands- the future of Tokelau should be in the hands of all Tokelauans. We the General Fono, the Council and the Taupulega are merely custodians and guardians of their voices as it is their future! We have been welcomed by the village of Nukunonu; we have heard the words of encouragement from the Kau Hauatea; and we have heard the words of partnership and reassurances articulated through the statement of the Administrator of Tokelau - As your outgoing Ulu o Tokelau, I welcome the family of Tokelau. In the spirit of welcoming you let me also reassure you that Tokelau will stand tall and Tokelau will stand strong because we commit ourselves to working together for our future. Our unity is the strength that will bring us the new day.
5.0 Improving the quality of life for ALL our people should and must be at the heart of our unified commitment to serve Tokelau. This General Fono is going to be a family meeting that we will need to have that serious discussion about the quality of life for our people.
Outgoing Ulu Faipule Kuresa Nasau (left) congratulates Faipule Siopili Perez on becoming the new Ulu o Tokelau, standing under the Tokelau flag.
You have been presented with the Change Plan Report. The Administrator of Tokelau and myself, being co-sponsors acknowledge there were gaps in the process with which this work was carried out and that we could have done it better - we take full responsibility of the short-comings during the process. Having said that and without down playing any concerns you may have with the process, it is my sincere hope that we can look beyond the process and focus on how recommendations can be best framed and positioned to achieve a better quality of life for our people.
6.0 We cannot move forward unless we demonstrate two important pillars. First is our political commitment to urgently address the quality of life. Without our political will and commitment there can be no progress. The growing number of reviews that have been set aside due to the lack of political will is not a positive indicator of our role as 'decision makers'. Having said this I note the commitments demonstrated through the Education Review recommendations and the positive views expressed through the Health Review. The second pillar is community ownership. While the reports and reviews point to recommendations to improve the quality of life. we as a community, we as a family, we as constitutional partners, we are a people need to embrace the work to improve the quality of life 'as our own'.
7.0 In the deliberations in the next two days let us continue to remind ourselves of these two pillars. We will also have an opportunity to go through a number of important and strategic issues ranging from Budget Mid-Term Review, National Strategic Plan, Transport Solution, Trust Fund Distribution Policy, Infrastructure Development Project and other development issues that point to the quality of life for ALL our people.
8.0 We have in this General Fono session an opportunity to address the quality of life of our people in a very substantial way. The stars are aligned - our constitutional partner and development partners have assured us of their commitments to Tokelau's development. The General Fono, the Council, the representatives of the Administrator of Tokelau, the Tokelau Public Service -with our elders at the helm of the canoe, we can reach our destiny. The elders have expressed their commitment to urgently improve the quality of life. The task to make this real is ours today and let us not let them down.
9.0 There have been significant milestone achievements during my term as your Ulu o Tokelau. Having said that, I am the first to admit that there is still room for improvement in the way we work together. We need to be clear and accountable for our responsibilities. The responsibilities that the Taupulega are accountable for and those which the General Fono and Council need to account for. The public service need to account for their actions and be held responsible. I am glad to report that the performance review of all Directors and General Managers have commenced this year. In that same token I am pleased that work has also started on good governance training and guidelines to assist the clarification of roles and responsibilities for the Taupulega, General Fono, Council and NGOs.
10.0 I want to take a brief moment to address our relationship with New Zealand. New Zealand is our family. They challenge us because they are family. The journey that we are going through in terms of a better quality of life is a journey that belongs to Tokelau - but it is one that NZ shares as part of our family. I urge that whilst our aspirations towards self-determination should not whither, our commitment and bond with NZ must demonstrate our shared principles and values.
11.0 I would like to take this opportunity to encourage the incoming Ulu o Tokelau and all of us as we come close to an end of the current Strategic Plan term, end of the financial year, and the beginning of a calendar year. Let us prioritise! Let us plan! Let us persevere as a family! To the incoming Ulu o Tokelau, I believe that the platform for you to continue the journey has been set. This has been done through the hard work and dedication from the previous leaders of Tokelau before me - some of whom are no longer with us today. As God is our foundation I encourage you and bless you to take us to that fishing ground where our people will stand proud.
12.0 Finally, as we commence our General Fono tomorrow, I urge all of us to search deep into the reservoir of strength and the wisdom that will enlighten our deliberations on the quality of life. Let us make a change today by strengthening our unity in each other, a unity that finds its strength in achieving the same purpose and the care for one another. This is our legacy for now and future generations.
13.0 I wish to also take this time to thank all the people of Tokelau for your support during my term as the Ulu o Tokelau - I thank the Taupulega, the Fono Delegates, the Council and Public Servants. I also like to thank my family for enduring even without my presence. I also would like to thank the Administrator and the Government of New Zealand for their ongoing support. lt has been a challenging year but through your support and payers together with our Heavenly Father's guidance and blessings as Ulu o Tokelau for 2014 I believe Tokelau's journey is on the right path.
Ke ola ia Tokelau i te alofa o te Atua.
Faipule Kuresa Nasau, 23 February 2015