I am referring to an article “Renovation work disputed” published on page 7 of the Samoa Observer on 11 February 2016. Thank you for getting in touch with the German Honorary Consul in Samoa, Arne Schreiber, and for including his comments in the article. The whole matter indeed is an unfortunate misunderstanding and in the meantime has been clarified.
It is correct that Mr. Baukes undertook relevant refurbishing measures towards the German memorials in 2008. Due to constant exposure to wind, rain and sea the monuments last year again needed some refurbishment.
With the approval of the Samoan government, the German Embassy in Wellington commissioned a private company with the necessary works. As the project is financed with German taxpayers money, we put up a corresponding small sign after completion of the work.
In the process of the renovation works, the company unfortunately did paint over a small plaque mentioning Mr. Baukes’ dedication to the memorial.
This of course was never intended by the German Embassy and according to our information happened by accident.
As soon as we learned about the mishap, the German Honorary Consul got in touch with Mr. Baukes explaining the situation and apologizing for it. He also assured Mr. Baukes that the plaque recognizing his engagement was to be made visible again immediately.
The plaque was cleaned as soon as possible and can now be seen again at the German Flag Memorial at Mulinu’u.
I would like to underline that the private engagement of Mr. Baukes is very much welcomed by the German Embassy. In fact on 5 August 2008, the then German Ambassador Jörg Zimmermann wrote an official letter of thanks to Mr. Baukes and even sent a present acknowledging his private initiative to safeguard an important part of the German heritage in Samoa.
Unfortunately, the sign acknowledging the German Embassy’s renovation work was scratched in the meantime by unknown persons.
Dr Thomas Henzschel
Head of the Press Department