The 1960 constitution, which formally came into force with independence from New Zealand in 1962, is based on the British pattern of parliamentary democracy, modified to take account of Samoan customs. The national modern Government of Samoa is referred to as the 'Malo'.
Health insurance, while recommended, is not mandatory. All health services available to locals are accessible to foreigners usually at minimal cost to the traveller. Emergency medical facilities are available at Moto'otua Hospital, in Apia. Private medical and dental treatment is also available.
Kava is also deeply imbedded in the culture. Kava bowls are sturdy, round wooden bowls made of varying sizes. Kava bowls have a number of short legs around it. The drink made from Kava is made up with water in the bowl and drunken socially using coconut shells to scoop up the drink. It is a ground natural extract from the pepper plant root and intended for medicinal and slightly aesthetic properties.