SPC top visits Te Ulu in Tokelau office

A chance meeting in Apia led to a formal visit by the Director-General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Dr Colin Tukuitonga, and Te Ulu o Tokelau, Aliki Faipule Afega Gaualofa today in the Tokelau Apia Liaison Office. The Director-General was accompanied by an SPC Deputy Director, Leituala Kuiniselani Toelupe Tago-Elisara.

Te Ulu Gaualofa and his team of the Office of the Council for the Ongoing Government of Tokelau (OCOG) welcomed the visitors. He stated that, as a full member country, Tokelau was keen to see SPC further develop into a world class organisation that had the trust and financial support of global organisations and sponsors. "That way, we all stand to benefit", Te Ulu said.

Tokelau reaffirms its commitment towards SPC, he said, and looks forward to working collaboratively and cooperatively on matters of joint interest.This includes developing the Country Programme for Tokelau, to align with SPC's Strategic Plan for 2016-2020. Te Ulu then invited Dr Colin to visit Tokelau at the next opportunity.

In response, Dr Colin Tukuitonga said he was keen to visit Tokelau for the first time. He said he had always regretted having missed out on an earlier opportunity. He also stated that it was important for Tokelau to set its own targets with which SPC could align itself. 

"SPC needs to adjust its sails to suit the members' canoes", Dr Colin stated, "and the best way to do that is for developing country programmes with a 3-year horizon". 

Te  Ulu o Tokelau, Aliki Faipule Afega Gaualofa, shares a light moment with Director-General of the SPC, Dr Colin Tukuitonga
Right to left: Mrs Tago-Elisara, Dr Tupuitonga, Te Ulu Gaualofa, and Mr Suveinakama.
Other points of mutual interest were then raised by Mr Jovelisi Suveinakama (General Manager, Apia - National Public Service),  and several staff members present: Mrs Ake Puka (Secretary to the Council), Mrs Margaret Sapolu (Planning), Mrs Liza Lui (Health), Mrs Paula Faiva (Climate change), Mr Kele Lui and Dr Jaap Jasperse (both: Statistics).

All have worked with SPC on a range of topics and expressed the hope this may continue in future.