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Falealili District Signs Sister City Agreement with Hastings

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA – 24 MAY 2023: The district of Falealili has signed a Sister City Agreement (SCA) with Hastings in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand to enhance relationships with communities that supply RSE workers to the region.

The Agreement was signed yesterday after the district bestowed the chiefly title To’asavili on the Hastings Mayor, Sandra Hazlehurst who is leading a delegation that targets building people to people relationships.

According to the Mayor, the last time Hastings entered such an agreement with a foreign country was 40 years ago with a province in China.

“The agreement signed today is about the Sister City relationships. Hasting only has one such agreement in the last 40 years, and the opportunity now is for us to build a relationship with Falealili,” said Hazlehurst.

She said what was signed will give both parties all opportunities of development together in the future.

“We will look at all sorts of ways we can support each other and this is just the beginning,” she said.

The mayor is the third person from Hastings to be bestowed the chiefly title, To’asavili, the title that was also bestowed upon former Prime Minister John Key.

Hasting Falealili chiefs sign
Hasting Falealili chiefs sign

Poutasi & Falealili chiefs, Leasiolagi Malama Meleisea and Tuatagaloa Joe Annandale sign the employment agreement with the Kiwi Company of Hastings, Hawkes Bay.

Top among the relationship is the provision of workers from the district under the RSE scheme. Last season, 150 workers from Falealili district were employed in the Bay area where its horticulture industry had been seriously impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle and the RSE works will play a big part in the regions recovery.

Long before the RSE scheme was established between New Zealand, Australia and Samoa, Falealili had been sending workers for various companies and mainly in horticulture, in the Hawkes Bay for the past 17 years.

Spearheading the program from the beginning was the Falealili high chief Tuatagaloa Joe Annandale.

2 Agreements signed
There were two agreements signed yesterday. One was between the Kiwi Company based in Hastings and the village of Poutasi and the other was between Hastings and the Falealili district.

Signing for the Falealili village were the high chiefs Leasiolagi Malama Meleisea and Tuatagaloa Joe Annandale and chiefs of the village.

“What is important about these agreements is the connection and utilising the connection,” said Tuatagaloa.

Hasting Mayor signs
Hasting Mayor signs

Hastings Mayor To’asavili Sandra Hazlehurst signing the Sister City Agreement with the Falealili District.