Historical building to become S.I.F.A’s new headquarters

By Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu ,

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RENOVATIONS SOON: The building will be remodeled but much of its ancient look and design will be kept to maintain its historical significance.

RENOVATIONS SOON: The building will be remodeled but much of its ancient look and design will be kept to maintain its historical significance. (Photo: Misiona Simo / Samoa Observer)

One of the oldest and most significant buildings on Beach Road, the old Court House, will soon become the new home of the Samoa International Finance Authority (S.I.F.A.). 

This was confirmed by Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi.

“S.I.F.A. will be responsible for the re-modeling of the old Court house to reflect its originality,” Tuilaepa said. 

The Prime Minister added that materials of the highest quality would be used in the renovation so the building would be protected from natural and man-made disasters.

Tuilaepa said the government understands the importance of the building and they want it to remain protected.

“It is relatively important for its original form to remain intact,” he said, pointing out that the building has been around since Samoa was colonized by Germany and New Zealand.

The old Court House is a treasure trove of history.

“It’s also the place where the New Zealand Police shot and killed Tupua Tamasese Lealofi,” said Tuilaepa.  

The late Tupua was the leader of the Mau movement who died back in December 1929, during a peaceful protest. 

The main part of the building was constructed in 1906 as a Central Office for the German Colonial Government. This is according to Samoa’s Museum website.

“The Architect was Mr Albert Schaaffhausen, the Government Architecture for the German Administration.” Furthermore the website says the building’s style is a mixture of historism (a copy of Old European building style) and Art Deco, which was in fashion in Europe at that time.

“The Building was used originally as a court house and administration building, also for the British and New Zealand administration. 

“When the British/NZ Occupation Force took over Samoa from the Germans in 1914, the Union Jack Flag was raised in a special ceremony in front of the Building. 

“The leader of the Mau Independence Movement, Tupua Tamasese Lealofi II was shot at its doorsteps on “Black Saturday”1929. After Independence (1962), the place was used as the main office of the Government of the Independent State of Western Samoa. 

“Until 1993, the actual area that the museum used to occupy was the seat of the Samoan Prime Minister’s Office and Cabinet. 

“This part of the building is a later addition. 

“Many changes have been made in the structure and outlook of this place, many of them without written documentation. 

“It is often difficult to say how old a certain part of the building really is,” says the Museum’s website. 

Emails for comments sent to S.I.F.A. have not been responded to at press time.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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