Auckland’s mayor, Len Brown, has been bestowed the title of Taua’aletoa in recognition of his service to the Samoan communities in Auckland and in the Pacific.
The mayor, or Pulenuu, is currently on visit to to Samoa, Tonga and the Cook Island, leading Auckland Council’s first trade delegation to foster stronger business links. Organisations from the infrastructure, education and food and beverage sectors are present on the mission.
The title was given to the mayor by Prime Minister Hon. Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi on behalf of his village of Lepa in a traditional ceremony.
“I was humbled to receive this title as Mayor of the city with the largest population of Samoans in the world,” says Len.
“Aukilani’s Samoan community retains very strong links back to the islands and it’s been great to strengthen those ties on this delegation.”
Close to 200,000 people live on the islands of Samoa and a further 131,000 live in New Zealand, 100,000 of those residing in Auckland. Two-way trade between New Zealand and Samoa was $138 million in 2011.
“Trade with the Pacific is good for Auckland businesses and good for the islands. There is potential for development in the islands and Auckland is well placed to support that growth.”
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Samoan independence from New Zealand and of the signing of the Treaty of Friendship between the two countries. Auckland Council has taken the opportunity to re-sign a Memorandum of Cooperation with the Government of Samoa.
“Auckland’s many Pacific communities give our region a unique spirit. I’m committed to serving those communities and celebrating their contribution to our region,” says Len.
The trade delegation departed Samoa today for Tonga. It heads to the Cook Islands next week.