Head of State Congratulates First New Zealand High Commissioner of Samoan Decent

His Highness congratulated H.E. Ms. Si’alei Van Toor on becoming the first High Commissioner of Samoan descent to hold this post in Samoa"

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The new High Commissioner of New Zealand to the Independence State of Samoa, Her Excellency Ms. Si’alei Van Toor presented her Letter of Credence to the Head of State of Samoa, Afioga, Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II at a credential ceremony held on Tuesday 6th February 2024.

Since the signing of the Treaty of Friendship in 1962, Samoa and New Zealand have continued to foster cordial relations, rooted in trust, cooperation and mutual respect.

During the occasion, H.E. Ms. Si’alei Van Toor reaffirmed her commitment to working closely with the Government of Samoa and deepening the longstanding friendship enjoyed by both countries.

Presentation of Credentials, Tuesday 6 Feb 2024. Photos: Peseta Tusiga Taofiga, Government Press.

The High Commissioner expressed that New Zealand is keen to assist Samoa in its efforts in areas of economic and social development, combating the challenges of climate change and remains ready to support Samoa in hosting the 2024 CHOGM in October.

Afioga Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II in his responding remarks emphasized the close ties both countries continue to share, stating that “Samoa and New Zealand have a special and meaningful relationship underpinned by the Treaty of Friendship, a relationship based on friendship, mutual respect and equal partnership for the development and mutual benefits”.

The Head of State expressed Samoa’s appreciation for New Zealand’s active role as a development partner in helping Samoa achieve its development goals in areas of health, education, environment, sports and infrastructure.

His Highness congratulated H.E. Ms. Si’alei Van Toor on becoming the first High Commissioner of Samoan descent to hold this post in Samoa and expressed his confidence in her appointment which will yield many opportunities and further strengthen the existing relations between the two countries.

Her Excellency Ms. Si’alei Van Toor is a career diplomat having served in various positions within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Her Excellency served as Second Secretary, Trade/Economic, NZ Embassy, Beijing from 2006-2008 and later became a Senior Policy Officer, North Asia Division, Ministry of Foreign. From 2009 – 2013 she was appointed as the First Secretary, Trade/Economic, NZ Embassy, Beijing and later the Economic Consellor at the Embassy in 2013. H.E. Ms. Si’alei Van Toor continued her career as the Director, NZ Commerce and Industry Office in Taipei 2014 -2017 and returned to Wellington in January 2017 as Unit Manager, Asia Pacific Regional Division. In 2018 she was appointed as Senior Trade Advisor to the Minister for Trade and Export in Wellington.

She became the New Zealand Ambassador to Russia in 2020. In January 2022 she served as the Unit Manager, Europe Division (MFAT) in Wellington, and later became the Senior Foreign Affairs Advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Parliament Buildings in September 2022.

H.E. Ms. Si’alei arrived in Samoa on 1 February 2024 as successor to former High Commissioner, Dr Trevor Matheson.

Photos by Government of Samoa (Peseta Tusiga Taofiga).