Old Apia Courthouse completely demolished

The cement foundation of the Apia Courthouse is all that remains of Samoa’s 118-year-old structure after a contractor completed the demolition of the building.

The site on Apia's Beach Road will become the new premises of Government agency, Samoa International Finance Authority (S.I.F.A.), according to local contractor, Schwartz Construction Ltd, which was the sole bidder for a $72,990 tender to undertake the demolition. 

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, in response to appeals last year for the country’s oldest public building structure to be saved, said the old Courthouse will be remodelled to reflect its originality. 

“S.I.F.A. will be responsible for the remodelling of the old Courthouse to reflect its originality,” he said.

When the Samoa Observer visited the demolished site on Saturday, men were seen loading rubble onto two open-back trucks, as a front loader perched in the middle of the building’s cement foundation continued to dig the foundation.

Temukisa Atali, a 59-year-old local resident who lives within the vicinity of the old Apia Courthouse and saw the demolition firsthand, decried its demise and said it was “sad” seeing the exercise.

“I live just around the area and it’s sad to witness one of the country’s historic buildings going down just like that,” she told Samoa Observer that day.

Samoan historian and National University of Samoa (N.U.S.) academic, Leasiolagi Dr. Malama Meleisea, told the Samoa Observer last month that various attempts in the past to save the historical building were unsuccessful. 

“A delegation went to Germany to solicit financial support but was unsuccessful. Other attempts were made to attract support from some of the diplomatic offices in Apia but these too failed,” Leasiolagi said in an email response.

“Some small funds were raised locally but were only enough to pay for expenses of some overseas experts to provide reports on the structure, the condition the building was in and estimates to restore.”

He further reiterated that attempts to save the old Apia Courthouse "may be too late" as the Government was not convinced of its historical value.

Attempts by the Samoa Observer on Saturday to get comments from Schwartz Construction Ltd Managing Director, Alai'asa Schwartz Hunt, were not successful.

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