NEW ZEALAND DIGNITARIES AT NIUE FLAG DAY FESTIVITIES

ALOFI, Niue (October 17, 2001 – Niue Economic Review)---Pacific Island Affairs Minister Mark Gosche and Local Government Minister Sandra Lee are to represent the New Zealand government at celebrations in Niue this weekend, marking 100 years of association between the two countries.

The pair will be part of a delegation led by the Governor General, Dame Silvia Cartwright.

Dame Silvia is the Governor General of Niue as well as New Zealand.

The delegation will also include Te Tai Tonga MP Mahara Okeroa, Opposition MPs, senior Maori community leaders, the Taniwharau Maori Cultural Group and representatives of the Niuean community in New Zealand.

The Maori Queen, Dame Te Atairangikahu, is also attending the celebrations.

The Niuean representatives from New Zealand include Wally Ranfurly from Porirua, an active senior member of the Niuean community and a member of the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs Community Reference Group; Sally Ikinofo, an Auckland legal executive active in sports; Holona Lui, the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs’ communications manager; and Ettie Fanovaha, an Auckland student.

Mark Gosche said he was particularly pleased that Otahuhu College year 12 student Ettie Fanovaha was able to join the Governor General's group.

"Ettie is an active member of her school's Niuean cultural group and her parents are Niuean. She has spoken Niuean since she was five but this is the first time she has visited Niue. This trip will give her an opportunity to learn more about her cultural heritage."

A group of students from Mangere Central School's Niuean bilingual unit, Toka Motu ma Niue, are also attending the celebrations with their teacher, Feofanaki Pocock. Toka Motu ma Niue is New Zealand's only school-based Niuean bilingual unit.

As well as celebrating the 100 years of association, it will be the 27th anniversary of Niue attaining self-government.

"Niue has always had a very close relationship with New Zealand since it was annexed in 1901. There are now more than 18,000 Niueans living here, compared to 1,800 people on the island itself."

Niueans make up approximately 8.5% of the Pacific islanders living in New Zealand.

For additional reports from the Niue Economic Review, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Magazines/Journals/Niue Economic Review.

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