Samoa Opera House on drawing board

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Isabella Meleane Moore, Jonathan Lemalu, Marlena Devoe and Amitai Pati.

Isabella Meleane Moore, Jonathan Lemalu, Marlena Devoe and Amitai Pati.

If all goes according to plan, Samoa will have its own Opera House at the Leifiifi State School Compound, sometime next year.

So revealed the Minister of Education, Loau Keneti Sio, who said construction of the multi-dollar centre would start before the end of the year.

According to RNZ, an opera house will be one of the facilities included in a cultural and art centre, to be built in Samoa with funds from a municipal government in China.

It said this is sure to delight opera fans as well as providing a fitting performance venue for Samoan opera singers such as Pene and Amitai Pati, and their baritone cousin Moses Mackay,  Isabella Meleane Moore, Jonathan Lemalu and Marlena Devoe to name a few.

Loau revealed that the old headquarters of the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture at the state school compound in Leifiifi, a few minutes inland of Apia, have been demolished to make way for the centre.

The construction of theaters, opera houses, and other cultural facilities by China as gifts to foreign countries is a part of China's foreign aid programme.  

In a white paper published by China in 2009 on its aid projects in the area of civil construction, the building of cultural facilities is one of the types identified among a total of 2,025 projects stated as built by a Chinese grant or no-interest loan to the recipient country.

The project is a gift from the Huizhou Municipal Government in Guangdong Province through a city sisterhood agreement signed in 2015.

During the signing of the Memorandums of Understanding the Chinese undertook to provide assistance in three areas.

Firstly, in terms of well-being projects, Huizhou offered assistance to Samoa in the construction of a multi-functional park as the symbol of China-Samoa friendship, as well as a culture and art center which would comprehensively serve as a library, opera house, artistic exhibition hall and recreational zone.

Secondly, in regards to educational cooperation, Huizhou would provide and install an electronic teaching platform for each of the 23 public colleges in Samoa – this project has already started and set up three computer laboratories for selected schools.

Huizhou would also assist Samoa in establishing scholarships to the value of $US81,700 a year for three consecutive years.

The Huizhou would present financial awards to 30 students with excellent academic performances and another 30 students from families with financial disadvantages. A future exchange visit by students of Huizhou Hualuogeng Secondary School and Samoa College was also planned as part of the sister- school relationship.

Thirdly, regarding health cooperation, Huizhou would provide medical equipment to the Ministry of Health of Samoa through a sister-hospital relationship with Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital of Samoa.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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