Petition to save courthouse launched
A new petition submitted on Friday by Samoa Tofia Inc. will seek to save the old Samoan courthouse in downtown Apia.
Samoa Tofia Inc is an organisation founded in 2018 by Taloto Obed Unasa.
“As of yesterday, we have filed our submission to stop the Government from removing this landmark,” said Mr. Unasa.
“Our island nation is special and the courthouse serves great significance because it reminds us of how hard our ancestors fought for our freedom.”
To support the “Save the Apia courthouse campaign 2020” people are signing a petition. 2000 people have currently signed the petition.
The courthouse was built in 1902 during the German colonial period of 1900-1914.
“We launched this campaign to preserve the buildings historical significance. This place is a testimony of our history. Once the building is demolished, it’s gone forever and there’s no turning back. The Government should look into the fact that this building is part of our heritage,” Mr. Unasa said.
“The building can easily be renovated and serve as a historical site which would also be good for tourism. There are already interested parties that are willing to renovate it.
“Currently Samoa Tofia Inc has 400,000 followers and we promote our campaign on social media. People from all over the world are backing our campaign.
“We have the motivation to fight for our measina. The monument is part of our heritage and identity. We want to remind the government that the courthouse is also owned by the people of Samoa. We can work together to restore the Apia courthouse for future generations and to remind them of the sacrifice and courage made by those before us.”
The building itself is associated with modern Samoan history.
It is the place where the German flag was lowered for the British flag to be raised. This is also the very spot where Tupua Tamasese Lealofi III (the leader of the Mau Movement) was fatally shot by New Zealand police while leading a peaceful protest.
The Parliament announced early in 2018 that the building had been ordered for demolition due to what it said was its dilapidated condition.
“How can the government say that if they want to destroy our heritage landmarks like the Apia courthouse? The Government needs to ensure the people that their heritage is protected,” said Mr. Unasa.