Mayor Len Brown yesterday received the title of Taua'aletoa in honour of his service to the Samoan communities of Auckland and the Pacific.
The title was conferred on Mr Brown by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi at his village of Lepa in a full traditional ceremony.
Mr Brown wore an "ula tupe", or money necklace made of $10 notes, headband and was dressed in ceremonial wear.
"I know the significance of the title, the commitment and expectation it carries," he told Talamua News Online. "I may be a 'palagi' by colour but my heart is with the Pacific people."
Mr Brown is the latest New Zealand politician to have been made an ali'i or high chief. Others include David Lange, Phil Goff, John Key and Winston Peters.
The mayor received an "igoa ali'i" title, which means he does not have to speak at events. The other type of chiefly title, "tulafale" - an orator - is for someone whose duty it is to speak at events and ceremonies.
"I was humbled to receive this title as mayor of the city with the largest population of Samoans in the world," said Mr Brown. "Aukilani's Samoan community retains very strong links back to the islands and it's been great to strengthen those ties on this delegation."
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Samoan independence from New Zealand and the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Friendship between the two countries. Auckland Council has taken the opportunity to re-sign a Memorandum of Co-operation with the Samoan Government.
Mr Brown is leading the council's first trade delegation to Samoa, Tonga and the Cook Islands to foster stronger business links with the city.
Organisations from the infrastructure, education and food and beverage sectors are represented on the mission, which yesterday left Samoa for Tonga. It heads to the Cook Islands next week.By Amelia Wade Email Amelia