Mariko researches Samoa’s museum, cultural diversity

A first time visitor, Mariko Murata from Kyoto, Japan, flew into Samoa for a research project based on museums and cultural diversity. 

Mariko was at the Samoa Tourism Authority Cultural Village in Apia when Dear Tourist caught up with her.

“The purpose of my visit to Samoa was for research, we are currently doing a project on museums and cultural diversity and we have a friend who is working at one of the museums in Samoa,” she said. 

“We came to see her and ask about the museum and cultural activities here in Apia. I have discovered that Samoa has a very specific cultural identity that is different from other countries like Australia or New Zealand in reference to the relationship between the colonizers and the people of Samoa.”

Mariko said the Samoan people have not been deprived of their land or their language.

“I have been in Samoa for five days and today (yesterday) is my last day. I had the chance to visit Palolo Deep and sightseeing in most of the museums in Samoa.

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“We have seen the colonial architecture in the city and that was pretty interesting,” she said. 

The 44-year-old shared her opinion about the importance of having museums in Samoa.

“I was told that there were only three museums in Samoa and the people working there are trying to have the people of Samoa understand the meaning or significance of having museums and what it can do,” Mariko said. 

“I think that the significance of having museums in a country depends entirely on the country itself, because it is originally a western institution. 

“I think that over here, it should not function the same way as overseas countries, with that being said, I think it would be interesting to have it as a cultural hub or it could be an opportunity to give a place for people here that long for cultural expression.”

She added her favourite Samoan food is palusami, but then she has tried breadfruit and raw fish with coconut cream, which was also an interesting delicacy.

“I also tried the local made Samoan beers but I would have to say that I like the Manutagi beer.

“Samoa has a distinct way of functioning in terms of economy and culture I guess. Samoa is better off the way it is because it’s good that it is not too touristy, meaning really sophisticated or it would lose its cultural identity,” she added.

Mariko said the people of Samoa are very friendly, and she is definitely coming back because five days is not enough to really understand and explore what Samoa has to offer.

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