The Minister for Pacific Peoples and Associate Foreign Affairs Minister Aupito William Sio will represent the Government of Aotearoa New Zealand at Niue’s Constitution Day commemorations this week.
“Constitution Day on 19 October is the most important event in Niue’s calendar, and I am looking forward to sharing this day with the Government and the people of Niue”, Minister Sio said.
“After the disruption caused by COVID-19 border closures, this is another opportunity to reconnect with our closest Pacific partners and re-affirm our enduring links with Niue and our friends from the region.
“Aotearoa New Zealand’s relationship with Niue stretches back more than a century and was cosolidated in 1974 when Niue elected self-government in free association with New Zealand. Constitution Day is an opportunity to reflect not only on our common history, but our shared partnership and deep whakapapa connections. Our family ties are real”.
In Niue, Minister Sio will meet with Premier Dalton Tagelagi and Niue’s Minister of Social Services Sauni Tongatule, and the wider Cabinet. He will also meet with officials at the forefront of Niue’s COVID-19 response, and progress cooperation in revitalising the Vagahau Niue language.
“Niue’s management of the pandemic over more than two years and since borders opened has been extraordinary. Aotearoa has supported Niue closely during the pandemic, and my visit will enable me to pass on our Government’s appreciation to all those who have worked tirelessly to keep Niue safe.
Niue has high vaccination rates, aided by the provision of vaccines through the Polynesian Health Corridors programme, and this has assisted the health team and community. That Niue has only ever recorded around 80 cases of the virus, and has just two cases currently is a credit to its border and health management, village community leaders and health sector workers.
In line with the Niue-New Zealand Statement of Partnership Minister Sio will also meet with language and cultural leaders to discuss the preservation and revitalisation of Taoga Niue and Vagahau Niue.
“Investing in the preservation and resilience of Taoga Niue and Vagahau Niue is a priority for the New Zealand Government and the Niuean community who have long advocated for, and supported the recently launched Pacific Languages Strategy. Our commitment reflects our support for intergenerational and cultural resilience in the Pacific and the importance of language to all our well-being.
“My discussions in Niue will enable us to better reflect on how we can better support generations of Niueans, both in Niue and Aotearoa New Zealand to strengthen pathways and resources for learning Vagahau Niue,” said Aupito William Sio.