Samoa Speaker: Replacement For Old Fono Building Still Planned

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3 years after demolition, promised monument at site yet to be built

By Pai Mulitalo Ale

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Aug. 20, 2015) –A promise to erect a monument on the location of Samoa’s original Maota Fono at Mulinu’u has not been forgotten.

That’s the assurance from the Speaker of Parliament, La’auli Leuatea Polata’ivao, who made the promise.

Before the old Fale Fono at Mulinu’u was demolished in 2012, La’auli said the government was looking at the replacing the fale with a monument to honour the country’s first Maota Fono.

"Make no mistake we are not demolishing history, just making it better," he said then. "We will put a monument (as a reminder of) our history where this house stands."

Three years later, nothing has materialised.

Asked for an update, Speaker La’auli said the monument is still in its planning stages.

"Yes we are still planning for it," he said. "Anything that was said on air will go through."

According to the Speaker, all the materials from the fale are being stored.

"Nothing has been thrown away," he said. "The foundation of the house is still here, and all the materials of the original house are still under my care."

La’auli said everything would be preserved for future generations of Samoa. These include the original speaker’s desk and the desks and chairs used by Members of Parliament then.

"I also have pictures of the first Prime Minister, I have collected their suits, shoes and others things which will be featured in this house," he said. "So everything is being cared for."

La’auli said part of the plan is a museum to display this vital part of Samoa’s history. He said they want to use this for Parliament archives, recordings of the initial Parliament session and other key historical documents.

The Speaker said he does not just want a monument; he wants something more tangible and meaningful where Samoans and future generations can be educated, motivated and learn from their history.

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