• Short Summary

    WEST SAMOA - "CENTRE OF THE WORLD" - WHERE JUST OVER 100,000 PEOPLE, LIVING IN A SUNBATHED SETTING OF PALM TREES, AND BLUE LAGOONS, WILL START THE NEW YEAR AS CITIZENS OF THE FIRST INDEPENDENT ISLAND TERRITORY IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC.

  • Description

    WEST SAMOA - "CENTRE OF THE WORLD" - WHERE JUST OVER 100,000 PEOPLE, LIVING IN A SUNBATHED SETTING OF PALM TREES, AND BLUE LAGOONS, WILL START THE NEW YEAR AS CITIZENS OF THE FIRST INDEPENDENT ISLAND TERRITORY IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC.

    THE MAP SHOWS THERE ARE TWO ISLAND GROUPS - EASTERN OR AMERICAN SAMOA AND WESTERN SAMOA, GOVERNED BY NEW ZEALAND. A WARD OF NEW ZEALAND SINCE 1914, THE ISLANDS HAVE BEEN GOVERNED AS A UNITED NATIONS TRUST TERRITORY FOR THE PAST 15 YEARS. ITS PEOPLE DECIDED IN A PLEBISCITE IN MAY THAT THEY WANTED INDEPENDENCE.

    SAMOANS ARE A YOUNG PEOPLE - ON THE CRICKET FIELD WITH THEIR HOME-MADE EQUIPMENT - AND AT WORK ON THE TERRITORY'S MAIN EXPORT - COPRA, COCOA AND BANANAS. THE POPULATION IS PROBABLY THE FASTEST GROWING IN THE WORLD. IN LESS THAN 20 YEARS THE FIGURE IS EXPECTED TO BE OVER 200,000. OVER HALF THE PRESIDENT POPULATION IS UNDER 21 YEARS OF AGE.

    WESTERN SAMOA, WITH ITS CAPITAL, APIA, ON THE NORTHERN ISLAND OF UPOLU, IS OUTSIDE THE NORMAL TRACK OF HURRICANES. BUT ONE WHICH STRUCK 70 YEARS AGO WHEN THE TERRITORY WAS GOVERNED BY GERMANY, DESTROYED SIX VISITING NAVAL SHIPS; THE WRECKED GERMAN VESSEL "ADLER" CAN STILL BE SEEN TODAY.

    ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON, THE BRITISH ESSAYIST, NOVELIST AND POET, SPENT THE LAST FOUR YEARS OF HIS LIFE IN WEST SAMOA. ON DECEMBER 3RD, 1894, HE WAS TALKING ON THE VERANDAH OF HIS HOUSE AT VAILIMA WHEN HE HAD AN APOPLECTIC STROKE FROM WHICH HE NEVER RECOVERED CONSCIOUSNESS. HIS BODY WAS CARRIED NEXT DAY BY SIXTY STURDY SAMOANS, WHO REGARDED STEVENSON AS THEIR CHIEF, TO THE SUMMIT OF THE PRECIPITIOUS PEAK OF VAEA, WHERE HE HAD WISHED TO BE BURIED WITH THE PACIFIC OCEAN AT HIS FEET.

    ALTHOUGH THERE IS NO GREAT TOURIST INDUSTRY APIA IS A BUSY TOWN WITH FOUR HOTELS AND 45 CHURCHES ON THE 20 MILE DRIVE FROM THE AIRPORT TO THE CAPITAL. A LARGE LIBRARY AND A FLOURISHING RADIO SERVICE IS ALSO PROVIDED FOR THE SAMOANS. ONE OF ITS IMPORTANT JOBS IS TO BROADCAST THE PROCEEDINGS OF THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY.

    AT THE FALE FONO OR PARLIAMENT HOUSE THE NEW ZEALAND AND SAMOAN FLAGS FLY SIDE BY SIDE. FORTY-SIX LEGISLATIVE MEMBERS, FIVE OF THEM EUROPEAN, STAND AS THE SERGEANT-AT-ARMS CARRIES IN THE CEREMONIAL MACE - A GIFT BY THE NEW ZEALAND GOVERNMENT. THE SPEAKER OF THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY, THILAGI SIMI, STARTS THE MEETING WITH A PRAYER. THE PRIME MINISTER IS THE HON. FIAME MATA AFA, ONE OF WEST SAMOA'S FOUR PARAMOUNT CHIEFS. DURING BREAKS IN DEBATE MEMBERS DRINK A LOCAL BEVERAGE CALLED KAVA WHICH IS NON-ALCOHOLIC.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA515HZCULSFFS2QPRFB2MQXR32
    Media URN:
    VLVA515HZCULSFFS2QPRFB2MQXR32
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    24/12/1961
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Black & White
    Duration:
    00:02:46:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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