National Geographic : 1962 Oct
Legislators in Lava-lavas Gather to Guide a New Nation Speech from the Throne by Malietoa Tanu mafili opens the first session of Parliament. He speaks first in Samoan, then in English. Attentive lawmakers wear skirts of bark cloth. Malietoa and Tupua Tamasese, chiefs of two noble families, will serve for life as heads of state. Parliament eventually will elect a single successor for a five-year term. Bewigged and bemedaled, Chief Justice C. C. Marsack watches the ceremony after swearing in the new heads of state. A New Zealander, he retired soon after Western Samoa became independent. Gaily garbed celebrators fill the green at Mulinu'u, near Apia, center of much of Sa moa's history. Peaked roof at center iden tifies the Falefono, home of Parliament. For a time the new nation will look to New Zealand, its former administrator, for help in its foreign affairs. But Western Sa moa joins the world community as a fully independent state.