Samoa leaps ahead with date change
Monday 09 May 2011
The South Pacific island nation of Samoa has announced it will jump forward in time by one day by switching to the west side of the international dateline - 119 years after it moved the other way in a bid to boost its trade and economy.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi cited the same reasons for shifting back, saying moving forward a day will make doing business with key partners Australia and New Zealand "far, far easier and more convenient."
The move will see the independent Polynesian nation share the same date and a similar time as its Pacific neighbours, including Australia and New Zealand.
Samoa and neighbouring American Samoa lay west of the international dateline until 1892, when a US business trader convinced both to switch to the east, moving back to the previous day's date. Samoa has long marketed itself as the last place on earth to see the sun each day.
"A local trader lobbied successfully for the change as it was convenient for trading ships from Europe and the United States that were servicing Samoa at the time," Mr Tuilaepa said.
"But our trading partners have dramatically changed since, and today we do a lot more business with New Zealand and Australia, China and Pacific Rim countries such as Singapore."
He said Samoa is currently losing out on two working days a week doing business with New Zealand and Australia.
"While it's Friday here, it's Saturday in New Zealand, and when we're at church Sunday, they're already conducting business in Sydney and Brisbane," he said.
The shift will put the dateline between Samoa and American Samoa, a US territory, but Mr Tuilaepa said that would create "exciting tourism opportunities."
"You can have two birthdays, two weddings and two wedding anniversaries on the same date - on separate days - in less than an hour's flight across, without leaving the Samoan chain," he said.
In 2009, Tuilaepa enacted a law switching drivers to the left side of the road instead of the right, to bring Samoa in line with Australia and New Zealand.
Samoa, a nation of 180,000 people, is located about halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii.
- 1 Jeremy Clarkson 'sees no problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC
- 2 'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
- 4 London restaurant 34 creates champagne glass modelled on Kate Moss’ left breast
- 5 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
£30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost...
£30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Lea...
£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: SQL Developer (TSQL, S...