Palauli Heritage Tourism site to open in September

Archaeological remains in Vailoa and Vaito’omuli are being preserved and the land developed for heritage tourism, under a new partnership between the Palauli Heritage Trust and the National University of Samoa.

The N.U.S Centre for Samoan Studies and the trust will work together to develop the star mounds, house platforms, earthen ovens, walls and walkways of Palauli into heritage and ecologically minded tourism walking tours.

The Center was awarded a US$50,000 grant (T$132.84) by the United Nations Development Programme in 2017 for its project "Recording and Protecting Sāmoan Cultural Landscapes through Community Heritage Management". 

Now that the agreement between Palauli matai, pulenuu, sao tamaitai and land owners, and the C.S.S is finalised, the project should be open by September 2019.

This week, the P.H.T. is training with the C.S.S. on governance and management. They will visit tourist sites to learn about how heritage and cultural sites are managed.

During the opening of their training, C.S.S. Historian Dr. Brian Alofaituli said the heritage project is “ground breaking".

“As Samoan academics, we are extremely lucky because we get to study our own culture and past on our own terms, something that not everyone is able to do,” he said.

“We also get to re-imagine it in the 21st century, with the aid of technology and archaeological expertise, right here in Samoa. 

“It is an exciting time for anyone who wants to take a deeper look at Samoa’s history, and possibly re-write it.”

The sites will be practical places for Samoa’s archaeology students to study and experience fieldwork too.

N.U.S. Acting Vice Chancellor, Muagututi’a Dr. Ioana Chan Mow said already, throughout the agreement process, students have benefited from the partnership.

“They have had the opportunity to literally step into Samoa’s past, and now their present lives, and their future selves, are enhanced with the knowledge of Old Samoa.”

The U.N.D.P. grant is through the Global Environment Fund Small Grants Program (G.E.F-S.G.P).

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