(Rev Dr. Kitiona Tausi)
Tuvalu commemorated the 2018’s Queen Birthday last Saturday, 16 June 2018. Because of bad weather, the program had to be adjusted and thus the parade used to be staged by the Police Force was cancelled and the program had to be done indoor at the Vaiaku Falekaupule.
Al the invited guests especially government dignitaries, representatives from island communities. non-governmental organizations, private sectors, religious bodies were at the hall waiting for the arrival of His Excellency the Governor-General, Sir Iakoba Taeia Italeli and Madame Italeli and the Rt Hon. Prime Minister, Enele Sosene Sopoaga and on arrival at the hall the program immediately began with a message and prayer from the President of the Ekalesia Kelisiano Tuvalu, Rev Penitusi Taeia and then a speech from the Governor General.
In fact, this year is the 92nd birthday of Queen Elizabeth the Second and her 66th year of reign. “The longevity of her life and her reign is an indication of success and a blessed reign, said His Excellency, Sir Taeia. Every year we celebrate the Queen’s Birthday in the month of June and this confirms the cordial and warm relationship between Tuvalu and England and her Majesty the Queen.”
“In April this year, the Rt Hon Prime Minister in his recent visit to London, had the opportunity to meet with the Duke of Manchester, Prince William. Prince William told the Rt. Hon Sopoaga that the Queen used to tell them about her joy, appreciation and fond memories of Tuvalu and especially when she had the opportunity to visit Tuvalu in 1982.”
In his speech, the Governor General wanted to acknowledge those who have brought us to where we are now through hard and difficult times and especially lack of resources. Tuvaluans and our nation were being blessed. “Now, we are witnessing with our own eyes the realization of their dreams and the fruits of their works.
“We have the belief that the realization of these dreams and works was a result of good working relationship between Tuvalu and our friends from abroad. The strengthening of this relationship can only be achieved through trust and confidence.”
The Governor General also highlighted the threats being posed by the impacts of climate change and that Tuvalu should well be protected from these impacts. “Protection from the impacts of climate change is synonymous with the protection from terrorism,” said the Governor General.
The Governor General also made mention of the upcoming Polynesian Leaders’ Meeting to be held here in Funafuti, and that “we are expecting the leaders to sign a declaration that will encourage Pacific leaders to support the 1.5 degree Celsius as accorded in the Paris Agreement.”
“In concluding, I would like to congratulate our leaders, the Rt Hon. Prime Minister and his Cabinet for continuing to work hard and lobbying for the protection of our rights as a nation and its people in international meetings and specially to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases and the impacts of climate change.”
After the Governor’s speech, refreshment followed and that was all for the day. In the evening, the Governor General hosted a dinner at the Funafuti Lagoon Hotel and then local dancing entertainment provided by the Nanumea and the Nui Community followed at the Vaiaku Falekaupule.
The Nui community on the capital has a lesser population than the Nanumea community, but in this evening’s performance, it looked as the Nui dancing group had a bigger number. Some of the Nui’s items Nui were in the Nui/Kiribati language.
While the Nui community performed as in the above picture, the Nanumea community dancing group watched the performance. The invited guests were also watching the performance.
This year’s Queen Birthday celebrations was also witnessed by two Tuvalu High Commissioners serving overseas; His Excellency, Temate Melitiana, Tuvalu’s High Commissioner to Fiji and His Excellency, Paulson Panapa, Tuvalu’s High Commissioner to New Zealand. The two High Commissioners are here at the invitation of government to participate in the Polynesian Leaders’ Group Meeting (PLGM) due to be held next week.
The two High Commissioners were accompanied to Tuvalu by their wives and they will return to their respective posts after the meeting.
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