In a brief ceremony at the Office of the Governor, Lieutenant Colonel Michael Kumun, who serves as Defense Adviser at the Papua New Guinea High Commission in Wellington, New Zealand made the donation presentation to Lieutenant Governor Faoa on behalf of Prime Minister - Sir Michael Somare, and the people and government of Papua New Guinea.
"Honorable Lieutenant Governor Faoa, I extend special greetings from Prime Minister Somare, who very much wanted to personally visit American Samoa and make this presentation. But, due to pressing matters of government, he expressed his deep regrets that he was unable to visit at this time. The Prime Minister has asked me to convey to you and the people of American Samoa our sincere words of sympathy and especially words of hope as you rebuild your island community from the devastation of last year," said Lieutenant Colonel Kumun. "We know natural disasters very well and we are happy and proud to come to the aid of a Pacific brother because together we are part of the Pacific family."
Lieutenant Colonel Kumun also said Papua New Guinea has a special place in their hearts for American Samoa and Samoa because of the huge contribution of the Samoan missionaries in the past.
"The Samoans, not only did they come to spread the gospel, but they played a big role in the development of our country by building schools and hospitals and caring for our people. And we can never thank you enough for the love and sacrifice that your loved ones had made for our island home," said Lieutenant Colonel Kumun. "It is our hope that this check of a million New Zealand dollars will greatly assist all the families that were affected by the earthquake and tsunami in rebuilding their homes and lives in your island home."
Lieutenant Governor Faoa expressed his sincere gratitude for the kind donation and especially for reaching out to American Samoa as a Pacific neighbor.
"On behalf of Governor Togiola Tulafono, the people and government of American Samoa, I wish to thank you for this very kind and huge donation to help our families in their recovery efforts from the disaster. Lieutenant Colonel Kumun, I ask for your goodness in conveying to the honorable Prime Minister Somare, the people and government of Papua New Guinea our sincere thanks for this wonderful generosity. It is our prayer in American Samoa that God bless and keep Papua New Guinea safe and be gracious to you all for your love and compassion. May God abundantly replenish your love and kindness. Fa'afetai."
Lieutenant Colonel Kumun said the Papua New Guinea government also donated the same amount to Niue and Tonga to assist in post-disaster recovery efforts. NZ$1,000,000 when converted today to US dollars is US$726,300.
Joining Lieutenant Colonel Kumun at the donation presentation was Mr. Malcolm Langbein - Manager of Administration and Finance at the Papua New Guinea High Commission in Wellington, New Zealand.