By: Susan Harris - Staff Writer
Published: May 9, 2021

Samoa Jumps Forward 24 Hours Into Future

Samoa Jumps Forward - It’s a new kink in the Pacific’s jagged international date line as Samoa jumps forward. The island nation of Samoa plans to leap 24 hours into the future so that it can be on the same weekday as Australia, New Zealand and eastern Asia.

It’ll be Back to the Future for the island nation, offsetting a decision it made 119 years ago to stay behind a day and align itself with U.S. traders based in California.

That has meant that when it’s dawn Sunday in Samoa, it’s already dawn Monday in adjacent Tonga and shortly before dawn Monday in nearby New Zealand, Australia and increasingly prominent eastern Asia trade partners such as China.

Samoa has found its interests lying more with the Asia-Pacific region and now wants to switch back to the west side of the line, which separates one calendar day from the next and runs roughly north-to-south through the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

“In doing business with New Zealand and Australia we’re losing out on two working days a week,” Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said in a statement. “While it’s Friday here, it’s Saturday in New Zealand and when we’re at church on Sunday, they’re already conducting business in Sydney and Brisbane.”

Samoa’s change will have a cost: The Polynesian nation has long marketed itself as the last place on Earth to see each day’s sunset.

“It will be really confusing for us. I just don’t see the point, and we don’t know the benefits yet,” multimedia company official Laufa Lesa, 30, told The Associated Press in an interview from the Samoan capital Apia.

“The government says it’s good for the economy, but it’s totally fine the way it is now,” Lesa said.

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