Bill to restore citizenship supported in Parliament

Southern Samoan advisory council spokesman Afamasaga Pavihi. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Southern Samoan advisory council spokesman Afamasaga Pavihi. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
After years of fighting for justice, the southern Samoan community’s prayers for thousands to have their New Zealand citizenships restored are finally closer to being answered.

In 1982, about 5000 people born in then Western Samoa between 1924 and 1949 had their New Zealand citizenships removed by law.

This week, Green Party MP Teanau Tuiono read the bill, Restoring Citizenship Removed by Citizenship (Western Samoa) Act 1982 Bill in parliament.

The Bill was supported by the Act party and New Zealand First as well as Labour.

Dunedin, Invercargill and Canterbury Samoan advisory council spokesman Afamasaga Pavihi said he wanted to express the southern Samoan community’s longing for the issue to be raised in parliament.

"It’s about time the government have compassion and heart to look at this thing.

"We have been alienated for many years."

He said he was very happy and wanted to thank the representatives from the parties who supported the bill.

In the past he had written letters to Act and New Zealand First party leaders David Seymour and Winston Peters lobbying for their support.

"We’ve been praying and waiting for this moment to come"

Mr Pavihi said the struggle was for the people applying to come to New Zealand who would only be limited to a three-month permit with no medical or financial benefits.

"We’re not crying baby for that but we are crying for our rights at the time and yet we are in the treaty of friendship of New Zealand."

He said a lot of people in the south were waiting for parents and grandparents to have their citizenship restored.