Australian High Commissioner to Vanuatu
On behalf of the people and Government of Australia, I write to congratulate the Government and people of Vanuatu, from TORBA, SANMA, MALAMPA, PENAMA, SHEFA and TAFEA, on the historic milestone of the 40th anniversary of the Independence of the Republic of Vanuatu.
This year, as Vanuatu celebrates 40 years of Independence, Australia and Vanuatu also celebrate 40 years of diplomatic relations. Our partnership is broad-ranging and is underpinned by our shared values and the deep people-to-people links including through our churches, workforces, sports and cultures.
In 1980 Australia’s Governor-General congratulated President Sokomanu and welcomed the new nation of Vanuatu as “a new neighbour and an old friend”. Australia was proud to advocate for Vanuatu’s independence at the United Nations and we were one of the first countries in the world to recognise the newly independent state in 1980.
We were honoured to attend the original independence celebrations with a delegation led by Australia’s Foreign Minister and an Australian Naval Ship, HMAS Yarra, participating in the independence parade. HMAS Yarra also had the privilege to transport then Prime Minister Father Walter Lini to his home island of Pentecost to celebrate the historic occasion.
Forty years later, we remain proud to stand with the people and Government of Vanuatu in the face of challenges such as TC Harold and COVID-19 but also to celebrate Vanuatu’s history, its strengths and its achievements.
This week, while Australian Ministers have been unable to join celebrations in Vanuatu, we were proud to convey messages from them, together with our Governor-General and Prime Minister congratulating Vanuatu on this important occasion. We are also glad that HMA Ships Choules and Huon, are able to join in celebrations.
Last week, I was also honoured to join the vibrant Victory Parade march and celebrations with Prime Minister Bob Loughman, Vanuatu’s founding fathers and mothers, former Prime Ministers and Presidents and thousands of ni-Vanuatu. In my short six months in Vanuatu, I have been privileged to represent Australia and humbled by the warmth and generosity of the people that I meet every day. Vanuatu’s people have welcomed me into their families and overwhelmed me with their resilience, warmth and positivity. In just forty years Vanuatu has achieved a lot and it owes much of this to the spirit, strength and energy of its people.
Just as we stood with the people of Vanuatu during the founding of this modern nation, today we are proud to share a deep relationship founded on genuine partnership and to stand together in good times and in the face of challenges. In the spirit of this partnership, I have the great honour to congratulate every citizen of Vanuatu on this momentous occasion – the 40 year anniversary of Independence. Tugeta yumi stanap.