Samoa's Jubilee Church finally opens

A brand new multi-million church in Samoa finally opened this week after a series of building delays and problems financing the build.

The opening of the Jubilee Church at Malua saw hundreds of Samoa Congregational Christian Church members and special guests attended celebrations on Upolu.

After several years of construction and delays, the church opening began with formalities including the presentation of traditional gifts like expensive fine mats and monetary gifts.

Among the envelopes was close to US$400,000, or one million Samoan Tala, given from the church's women's council to mark the church opening.

RNZI reports about 1000 people attended the church service and feast to mark the occasion.

The cost of the church's construction was close to US $6.7 million, or 17 million tala and a multi-million dollar loan from the Samoa National Provident Fund was required to help finance the build.

The church first agreed to the construction four years ago but our correspondent said its completion and official opening was supposed to have been last year.

The church had contracted the Chinese company, Shanghai construction, as their main builder, but a New Zealand company based in Levin that manufactures laminated timber products ended up having to design and manufacture the church roof.

Techlam spokesperson Nathan Simmons said roof beams spanning 22-metres had to be constructed to fit perfectly onto massive concrete walls that had already been put into place by another company.

"It's a growing area for us to the islands and certainly a lot of interesting projects up there and for us, each project has a lot of challenges as far as engineering and cost expectations and delivery."

He said they also needed to make sure the roof met cyclone standards.

"The design was probably the most challenging," he said.