Western Samoa’s old Court House – Lest we forget

Dear Editor,

The history of Samoa’s struggle for freedom was something that every “true” Samoan should learn by heart and should be very proud of.  

Samoa’s path to independence had hurt a lot of people and many unsung heroes even gave up their lives for the cause.  The then NZ government’s colonial and militaristic approach in governing the Samoa people at the time was comparable to the apartheid era of South Africa, though to a lesser extent.  I can safely say that having read many years back “MAU:  Samoa’s Struggle for Freedom” by Michael Field and recently “TAUTAI: Samoa, World History and the Life of Ta’isi O.F. Nelson” by Patricia O’Brien.  

Those who “fought” for our independence should be remembered in whatever way possible and Samoa’s Old Court House holds an exceptionally significant place in that area.  

And since the government is planning to “tear” this building down (remember the old Fono House at Mulinuu), “there is nothing anybody can do about it” (recall the words from the PM in CCCS v’s Govt).   But I have a proposition to share with you dear readers and wish the government will consider it.  

If it’s a museum/hotel that would take the place of this historical icon, I propose a memorial site (say 10m x 10m) fronting the new construction indicating exactly where the honourable Tupua Tamasese was shot and later died. This site should be a masterpiece of art and should include a memorial stone dedicated for those who perish in the “Black Saturday” aftermath.  

If funding allows, stone (or whatever) figures of Tupua and other casualties can be erected there too.  And for me personally, I love to see the machine gun that was fired indiscriminately to the Mau crowd by the NZ government soldier, right in the middle of all that.  

Wouldn’t that be a perfect tribute for all who gave anything for “you and me to be FREE”?  I believe so. It’s also a wonderful story for our children and our tour guides in the tourism industry, a true  story not a legend or myth.  And by the way, that museum/hotel thing must be named “IA FILEMU SAMOA” in honour of Black Saturday and further we need to honour 28th December 1929 every year just as we honour and remember ANZAC day – Lest we forget!


Tuulima Laiti


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