Questions about the Alaoa Dam project

Talofa Fonoti and Tuala,

I have the opinion pieced written by Fiu Mataese Elisara published n the Samoa Observer Newspaper on Monday. 

Historically as you two maybe aware the land currently owned by the GoS in Alaoa was gifted by Malietoa Tanumafili I during the New Zealand Administration for the purpose of a dam to provide water for Apia and gravel for the roads. 

It was part of the personal Estate of Malietoa Laupepa totaling 900 acres of land, which the Courts dispersed in 1900. The boundaries have not been fully sorted out since before independence. 

There were conditions of the gift such as preservation of our accesses to our land via the old road past the upper dam as marked on the picture provided. 

Access was calculated by our ancestors so as to avoid going over ancient burial sites associated with the ancient village of Alaoa and its neighbour Ataga on the adjoining ridge. Tuiataga Asi Semisi Blakelock can sort Ataga out for his family. Alaoa is my family’s main concern. 

The preservation of the Stone graves of Tooa Alaileula and Tooa Moeileula just down from the old dam just to name a few. Records can be found in the New Zealand archives in Wellington.

There are other concerns also but the one that is most important to us is the lack of consultation on this matter on land gifted to the NZ government with conditions for its use and inherited by the GoS on a huge project started in 2016

We have many concerns on the further daming of the Alaoa River and how it will impact on our land as the river flows via our property before it hits the upper dam.

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How your drilling will impact on the historical site of Alaoa like the star mounds used by the ancient village of Alaoa for seugalupe and observations, which are of great cultural and historical significance to the people of the Vaimauga and Samoa. 

The desecration of burial sites on the upper level where the old dam is. The battle grounds between Alaoa and Ataga to the east of the upper dam etc. These are historical treasure that we have been working on to declare as a heritage of man site. We have been very careful with the land as there are traditional sacred protocols (Tapu a Fanua) associated with the place that Malietoa Faiga (Na fai aso i ai Samoa) called home. There are reasons why people from Magiagi are careful not to venture too far west as Alaoa is a ghostly place. 

We would like to know where is the site of the new dam? And how close is it to the boundaries with our land?

Our family lawyer Iuni Sapolu, who represents 7 of the 11 children of the late Malietoa’s children, is also copied in this email.

Having been a project manager for the A.D.B., I am well versed in the A.D.B. complaint process for failure to consult broadly and widely and the negative impact on indigenous people of projects. 

It only takes two people to initiate the process... right now we have more then 30 family members and are in the process of recruiting more. 

To add to the equation we are also beneficiaries of the estate of Malietoa Tanumafili I and Masiofo Momoemamanu. MTI has 7 acres of freehold land at Ma’agao which was flooded during cyclone Evan and Masiofo Momoemamanu’s property in Fa’atoia of three acres was carved in two by the water. The building of such a dam will provide a constant threat to these properties as we experienced during Cyclone Evan. 

The danger inherent in the storage of such a huge amount of water in a country that has had massive earthquakes in the past is negligence just waiting to happen. 

It will have a negative impact on property values.  Not only for our property in Alaoa but also in Maagao and Faatoia and we have not even been given the courtesy of a consultation. 

Hope to hear from you or the A.D.B

 

Malietau Malietoa

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