|1 June 2016
At dawn this morning, thousands of people awaited the arrival of the Head of State at Tuanaimato sports complex in Apia, for the official celebration of Samoa’s 54th Independence Day. Te Ulu o Tokelau, Aliki Faipule Afega Gaualofa and Ms Kilita Gaualofa were among the dignitaries with reserved places on the grandstand, to get a prime view of the morning’s activities. They were seated next to the Governor of American Samoa and the President of French Polynesia.
His Highness the Head of State, Afioga Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi arrived with her highness Masiofo Filifilia Tamasese and inspected the Guard of Honour. In his address, His Highness congratulated the people in maintaining their independence for such a long time now; his message was that our aspiration should be a journey that also happens in our minds and soul.
While the National Anthem of Samoa was played by the Police band, with a 21-gun salute firing, the flag was raised solemnly by Afioga Tama Aiga – Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II. This then marked the beginning of the march past the grandstand, led by the Police band.
First in line was the Lototaumafai Society for people with disabilities; many other schools followed (the Rhema bible school waving international flags among them), and organisations and government entities then presented themselves in close succession.
During and after lunch a wide variety of cultural activities took place. The day was to be concluded by the presentation of traditional gifts from the Independence Committee, and the concluding address by the Prime Minister of Samoa, Susuga Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Dr Sailele Malielegoi.
Pictures by Jaap ("iapi") Jasperse
|Dawn of 1 June 2016, the crowd awaits the arrival of the Samoa Head of State.|
|Thousands of people are waiting to join the parade.|
|At the arrival of His Highness the Head of State, Afioga Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi, with her highness Masiofo Filifilia Tamasese.|
|Inspection of the Guard of Honour by His Highness.|
|His Highness delivers the address.|
|Cabinet ministers listen in - in the centre the Prime Minister of Samoa, Susuga Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Dr Sailele Malielegoi.|
|Members of Parliament watching the proceedings.|
|Preparations for raising the flag|
|the flag being raised by Afioga Tama Aiga – Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II.|
|While the National Anthem of Samoa was played by the Police band, a 21-gun salute accompanied the raising of the flag.|
|The beginning of the march past the grandstand, led by the Police band and Guard of Honour.|
|First in line for the parade was the Lototaumafai Society for people with disabilities|
|The Rhema bible school illustrates its international nature by participant flags.|
|Te Ulu o Tokelau, Aliki Faipule Afega Gaualofa and Ms Kilita Gaualofa show their appreciation.|
|The march continues past the grandstand, many schools, organisations and government entities presenting themselves in close succession.|