Reunions and celebrations in Samoa as international borders open

PMN Samoa producer Lorenzo Kaisara reports on what it's like to be home.

4th August, 2022

Khalia Strong

Reunions and celebrations in Samoa as international borders open

​The first arrivals from New Zealand were greeted in style at Faleolo Airport. Photo / PMN Samoa

​Samoa’s borders have opened to the world with fanfare, celebrations and happy reunions. 

PMN Samoa producer Lorenzo Kaisara says the Samoa Tourism Authority’s tagline for the reopening is perfect.

“The theme for this year’s reopening of the borders, ‘beautiful is back’ is suitable for all our Samoans. It’s for people that are residing overseas and just cannot wait to come back home to visit their families and their friends and just to be here in the environment.

He sums up his trip so far as "the best time of my life". 

“Really enjoying the hospitality, the environment, the people, the food, everything in Samoa right now is on the next level.

“Seeing Samoan people from Australia and New Zealand having a great time, the reunion of families and friends after a long three years is beautiful to see.”

The festivities started at the departure gate for yesterday’s sold out flight, continuing onboard and to the terminal. 

For Kaisara, being able to see his family again was beyond words. 

“Last night I got to go home, see my family, for the first time since 2018. It was just so good to see my Mum and Dad, my siblings. So good to touch their skin again, to kiss them.”

A delegation went over as part of Samoa commemorating 60 years of friendship with New Zealand, since they became independent. 

Kaisara says being shown around the Robert Louis Stevenson museum in Vailima was a highlight, and the emotion of being back was evident. 

“The way the tour guide explained and told the story - it was so emotional.  Everybody in the room cried yesterday. 

“Everything just hits different, tastes different, it’s just beautiful.”

Today they're at Mulifanua Wharf, exploring the bigger island of Savai'i. 

​Air New Zealand is reporting strong demand for flights through the next school holidays and the Christmas season.