Dr. Kitiona Tausi
The 2018 Polynesian Leaders Group Summit was hosted by Tuvalu on Thursday, 28 June 2018. It was also opened by the Governor General, Sir Iakoba Italeli Taeia at the Talimalie II on Funafuti.
Before the opening address delivered by His Excellency the Governor General, as usual and in line with Polynesian culture, The President of the Mainline Christian Church in Tuvalu, Rev Penitusi Taeia was given the opportunity to conduct the devotion. He reflected on the Gospel of Luke chapter 2 which is the narrative concerning the Birth of Christ.”
He said, “to find the realities and fullness of life, we turn to the context of the Galilean Jesus to see how he reacted and resisted the empire. Domination for Jesus is most unacceptable and a blashphemy.
“In the living tradition of Jesus, to know and to love God is to resist and overcome the empire.” In his message he challenged the PLG delegates as to “when are we prepared conditions of those who continue to dominate.
In his opening speech, His Excellency, Governor Iakoba Taeia welcomed all the delegates and especially the Hono Prime Minister of Samoa and his delegation, who arrived on Wednesday on a special Air Samoa flight despite the fact that he had conveyed his apology for not attending due to other circumstances, but in fact he did turn up, it is to “show his commitment to the cause of Polynesia’, said His Excellency.
His Excellency again reminded the PLG about the initial formation of this PLG dated back to 2011. He said the formation of such a group was “based on our aspirations to:
“Encourage sharing of knowledge and experiences, in awareness and education to promote and protect cultures, traditions and languages;
“Encourage respect for the quality of governance, observance of democratic values and human rights, the rule of law, and support the right for self-determination; and
“Encourage the strengthening of connections with institutions, regional and international cooperation.”
The theme for this year’s PLG meeting is “ Polynesian Connection” Taina Faka-Polinesia or The Polynesian Brotherhood of Sisterhood.
The Governor General proceeded to explain the summit’s logo:
“The logo a special bird called the Tavakelau known locally as an early riser to head long distances over the sea to fish. The bird will not return until it has caught enough and some return even at ightfall where the distinct sound they make provide quidance on the direction of land for fishmaen to head back.”
Returning t the issue of climate change, he said “We know of the main threat of climate change in our sautalaga over the last two days. It is affecting our very survival.”
He continued by saying, “Our oceans and waters our livelihood. The Pacific Ocean, which we ae all part of, covers 30 percent of the Earths’s surface, making it the largest water mass on the planet – larger than the land
mass of all the continents combined, Our oceans are inextricably and relationallly linked to the oceans. Our languages, cultures, tradittions, beliefs, survival and sustainability depend on the oceans. We are the oceans and the ocean is us. As a major source of carbn sink, we need to protect and preserve it.”
With pleasure and strong sense of optimism, His Excellency finally declare the 8th Ploymesia Leaders Group Summit open.