On Friday 3 January, 2020 the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Hon Henry Tuakeu Puna presented, on behalf of the People of the Cook Islands, a cheque for SAT$148,045 to assist the Government of Samoa with its response to the Measles Epidemic.
The official presentation was held at the Samoa Fale in Mangere, Auckland.
The High Commissioner of Samoa HE Leasi Papali’i Scanlan received the Cook Islands donation on behalf of the Government of Samoa.
In presenting the cheque to High Commissioner Leasi, Prime Minister Puna expressed the condolences and sympathies of the Government and People of the Cook Islands on the loss of many young lives as a result of the Measles Epidemic.
The Prime Minister added that the thoughts and prayers of the Cook Islands People are with all the People of Samoa and especially with those families who have lost loved ones. Prime Minister Puna expressed the hope that no further lives would be lost, particularly following the more aggressive and extensive immunisation program that had been carried out by the Government of Samoa.
In receiving the cheque from the Prime Minister, High Commissioner Leasi acknowledged with much appreciation the generous donation from the People of the Cook Islands.
HE Leasi referred to the close relationship between the Polynesian people of the Cook Islands and Samoa, which continues to strengthen over the years with intermarriages, labour mobility movements and trade opportunities.
Prime Minister Puna was accompanied by his Chief of Staff Ben Ponia who is married to a Samoan as well as the Cook Islands Consul General Rosie Blake.