Premier Tagelagi is confident Niue has come of age in its relationship with New Zealand and the international community.
After 48 years of self-government in free association with New Zealand, and in the development of nation-building Premier Dalton Tagelagi has made it clear that Niue has come of age and is expanding its circle of friends by increasing the number of countries it has diplomatic relations with.
In his third constitution day speech, Premier Tagelagi firstly acknowledged the passing of Niue’s former Head of State Queen Elizabeth II and the former Speaker of the Fono Ekepule, Hon. Atapana Siakimotu who passed away last week and acknowledges Niue’s new Head of State and Sovereign King Charles III.
He acknowledged the presence of New Zealand’s Minister for Pacific People Aupito William Sio and Australia’s Foreign Minister Senator Penny Wong as well as the US Ambassador Thomas Udall and the Deputy Head of Japan’s Embassy, the official guests of the government at this year’s celebrations.
It has been some time since a New Zealand Cabinet Minister had visited and joined in the Niue constitution and flag-raising ceremonies so the presence of New Zealand’s Minister for Pacific Peoples and Associate Minister for Foreign Affairs Aupito William Sio was welcomed with applause at yesterdays celebrations.
Minister Sio’s presence provided the perfect opportunity for Premier Dalton Tagelagi to convey his government’s sentiments on the auspicious occasion of the 48th anniversary of self-government.
Tagelagi believes that Niue is no longer the child and ward of New Zealand but is now in the position to begin moving ‘away from the shadow of New Zealand’.
“Niue has a very strong bond with Aotearoa New Zealand and we treasure our mutual history and cultural values”.
Premier Tagelagi recalled during his visit to Wellington in July this year, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said ‘that we are family’.
“Now we are family as siblings. We are not family as a parent and a child, not anymore. We work together as a family towards a prosperous Niue”
He asked Hon. Aupito William Sio to convey “Niue’s warm greetings to the Daughter of Niue, The Right Honourable Jacinda Ardern.
“New Zealand has always been there for Niue in good and bad times by ensuring that the people of Niue are looked after and keeping them safe, especially with the Covid-19 pandemic. The support that we received is very much appreciated by all Niueans who live here”.
Premier Tagelagi acknowledged the work of the NZ High Commissioner to Niue H.E Helen Tunnah and Deputy HC Nigel Ewels who’ve ‘done a marvellous job’ working with Niue officials in the response to the pandemic.
In thanking the Minister for visiting Niue this week, Premier Tagelagi acknowledged Hon. Aupito Sio’s love and support of Niue people living in Auckland. “Minister, may I also thank you for your love and support for all Niueans living in Auckland, especially in your constituency of Mangere, South Auckland.
In welcoming Minister Penny Wong, Premier Tagelagi said “Senator, how great it is to see you. Australia’s presence here is very welcomed by myself, as we discussed at the Forum leaders meeting, how important it is for the countries that we always look up to, to be engaged, not once in a blue moon but at least three or four times a year”.
Acknowledging the establishment of the Australian High Commission on the island in 2020, Tagelagi said that this will only strengthen the relationship between the two countries with several major projects the Niue Waste management and Recycling plant and the new power station as well as the new commitment towards improving Niue’s water and sanitation infrastructure.
In acknowledgement of the US Ambassador Thomas Udall, Premier Tagelagi said that ‘it’s been a long time and that he is excited to work together towards the achievement of mutual goals.
“We did have some rocky days a few weeks back, but the announcement by President Biden to enter into diplomatic relations with Niue is something that we value and your visit here continues the momentum on revitalising our friendship and I look forward to some good news regarding the US Treaty and other regional initiatives that we have in place for the region”.
In acknowledging the presence of the Deputy Head of Mission of Japan’s Embassy in Wellington Premier Tagelagi said that Japan’s Ambassador Minister ITO Koichi was the first foreign dignitary to visit Niue in July when the borders opened.
Premier Tagelagi thanked the Japanese delegation for all the support for the grassroots projects and machinery donated by the government of Japan.
Premier Tagelagi proudly announced that when he first entered politics in 2008, aside from constitutional partner New Zealand, Niue only had one other diplomatic relationship with the Peoples’ Republic of China, fourteen years later, Niue signed diplomatic relations with eighteen countries.