Samoa’s Lepea historical building reopens

Celebrations marked the completion of the rebuilding and christening of one of Samoa’s oldest and most historical buildings recently.

Maota o Faaumuina at Lepea is the home of a significant and high-ranking matai chief title Faaumuina and is the traditional residence for the title in Lepea.

The family title has been held by important national leaders in the country's history including Samoa's first ever Prime Minister, Fiame Mataafa Faaumuina Mulinuu II (1921 – 1975) who lived in the village and whose state funeral was also held at the residence in Lepea.

The reconstruction was done in the same design, same style and same picture as the old house and its' cost could not be disclosed to the media according to Faaumuina Opapo.

The foundation was build a few feet higher than the original foundation due to heavy flooding and severe weather conditions.

According to the Vae o le Nofoasā, A'i Pualetoa, the reconstruction of the building follows unsafe conditions of the house for the Faaumuina.

Asked about the affects this new look may have on the history and values of the house, A'i said they will remain with the newly christened house.

“Safety is much more important although the history and stories of this house will remain valued and respected by everyone in this house as how it was with the old maota,” he said.

Families as well as the whole village crowded the malae in front of the maota to celebrate the new residence for Faaumuina.

It is understood that some relatives and non-relatives are concerned that the old residence's demolition might take away its history and values.

The first Prime Minister of Samoa and the second title holder to have resided in the residence is the father of the current Prime Minister, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa. 

Faaumuina II's father, Mataafa Fiame Faaumuina Mulinuu I who is a leader of the country's pro-independence Mau movement was also a paramount chief in Lepea and a previous holder of the title.

Faaumuina Opape Oeti is the most recent and current title holder of the Faaumuina title and is residing in the residence.

The tiered stone tomb of paramount chief and Mau leader, Tupua Tamasese Lealofi III is beside the main road in Lepea.


Talaia Mika