New Australian envoy talks close links with Samoa

Head of State Tui Atua Efi chats with new High Commissioner of Australia, Susan Kim Langford and her partner

Head of State Tui Atua Efi chats with new High Commissioner of Australia, Susan Kim Langford and her partner

Alan Ah Mu

APIA: WEDNESDAY 19 FEBRUARY 2014: When heavyweight boxer Alex Leapai steps into the ring in April to fight for the world heavyweight boxing title, two whole countries will support him.

Namely Samoa, his country of birth, and Australia his country of residence.

To Aussies, Leapai is the Samoan bloke from Logan, an hour’s drive west of Brisbane, who earned his shot at the title through sporting lunacy which they love.He was called in for a bout against top contender Denis Boytsov who needed it to keep in trim late last year … and stunned fans by winning.

Today, Leapai arrives in Samoa to receive blessings from his village of Lauli’i and Government before he faces heavyweight champ Wladimir Klitschko on 26 April. He arrives the same day the new High Commissioner of Australia, Susan Kim Langford, presented her credentials to Head of State Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi.

“Our peoples share close family ties, and we have mutually contributed in many ways, to the development of our two countries,” Tui Atua said.

“This relationship and these linkages remain strong to this day,” he said.

“Australia is one of Samoa’s main traditional development partners.”

His Highness conveyed appreciation for the immense contribution Australia has made towards the development of Samoa.

Challenges remain.

“These include climate change and the consequential challenges of adaptation, environmental degradation, our vulnerability to natural disasters and other external shocks, sustainable development and issues relating to regional security, to name a few.”

His Highness said Samoa will continue to work closely with Australia at the national level, regional level in the Pacific Islands Forum and the international multilateral level of the United Nations and Commonwealth in pursuit of shared interests.

Ms Langford is a career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and is currently director in the International Security Division, where she has worked since March 2011.

Prior to this she has served as: Australian Federal Police as senior adviser, Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (2010-2011; Deputy Head of Mission, High Commission in Port Vila (2007 – 20002); First Secretary at the High Commission in Honiara (2000 – 2002); a mission to the Office of the Special Coordinator, Regional Assistance Mission in Solomon Islands (2003 – 2004); as a member of the Peace Monitoring Group, Bougainville (Feb – April 1998).

In DFAT Ms Langford has served as Executive Officer in the Indonesia Political and Strategic Section (July – November 2006), Papua New Guinea Section (2004 – 2006), Solomon Islands Section (Feb – June 2004), Korea Section (2002 – 2003), Trade Policy Coordination Section (January – July 2000) and Cultural Relations Section (December 1998 – January 2000.

She was also acting director for the New Zealand Section (June – September 2004).

Her Excellency holds a Masters degree in Foreign Affairs and Trade from Monash University and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in History from Australian National University.

She is accompanied by her partner and son.