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Preserving historical and culture treasures

Monday 12 September 2022 | Written by Ruta Tangiiau Mave | Published in Opinion

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Preserving historical and culture treasures
Ruta Tangiiau Mave. Photo: CI NEWS

We have an award for a new designed waterfront area of climate change calculations that promises future protection, one hopes this is the case. We have a sad history of building buildings that don’t build confidence in this sector, writes Ruta Mave.

All roads lead to Rome, the eternal city that wasn’t built in a day so the sayings go. Standing beside the Colosseum built in AD 70 years after the death of Christ nearly 2000 years ago, it is the sheer colossal size of the building as it towers 48 metres above you made from small handmade brick slats, large wooden beams, marble slabs that takes your breath away. The fact it is still standing the test of time, nature, war and the ravages of human kind stealing it or polluting it, is a true marvel of material endurance and engineering. Throughout the whole Italian countryside are Roman walls, roads, citadels, shops, homes, piazza’s – squares and amphitheaters – all denoting historical events and all standing as strong as they were when they were built. There were no large mechanical cranes, road trucks and diggers during this time, it was all carved by hand and lifted by pulleys pulled by many hands but created with exacting precision and forward thinking to last forever in the name of whomever was building it.

Imagine living in a country that values time and history. In the southern area of Perugia there are 61 million olive trees – those that are 100 plus years old are protected and kept with small GPS devices in their trunks to track them if they are transplanted elsewhere. Roman roads are uncovered and displayed to show the wearing of chariot wheels into the stone over the years and if a wall appears during your excavating to build a house, shop or office you must build around it or incorporate it into your design.

History is protected, the ancients are acknowledged. We have some monuments to our history in the islands. There is evidence of human presence in the Southern Cooks dated to around 1000 AD – an archeological marvel of paved road way by Toi which is now unrecognisable although still in use, we call “the back road”. We have some ruins of coral limestone houses around but it’s the large white limestone churches the missionaries directed to build with coral from the local beaches which remain fully functional housing – the Cook Island Christian Churches are our testament of time.

Like the early Roman structures they too relied on people and rudimentary pulleys and levers to construct them, they stand stoic and look able to do another 100 years, compared to the modern structures we were gifted from the Chinese, both stadiums, the Justice and Police station that were breaking down months after completion. Similarly, the water system of poor workmanship had to be replaced, redone and revived by a New Zealand company.

We have an award for a new designed waterfront area of climate change calculations that promises future protection, one hopes this is the case. We have a sad history of building buildings that don’t build confidence in this sector. We had $30 million from New Zealand to build classrooms for Tereora College, the design was modern but not practical for our climate. Small narrow window doors, no air flow when it rains so they use fans and air conditioning units. The “gift” to modernise and economise created a crippling power bill because attention was not paid to those who have to work in it.

The Colosseum which could hold 50,000 people was designed in a way that it could be filled and emptied of people in a matter of minutes. Compare that to our stadium built less than 20 years ago. Our national Olympic committee, CISNOC has pledged a budget of $9 million for replacing of the synthetic track, rusting grandstand and the grass turf. The new government offices will cost $68 million. None of our projects have stayed within budget so we wait with anticipated “taxpaying breath” how much more debt we will take.

With the amount of money being pilfered throughout our government departments you have to wonder how much of these millions are going to end up somewhere else. 

Then once built with all our modern technology, will we have the workmanship and materials to ensure they last longer than one to two years before needing repair? Are we capable of producing quality?

The world lost a great monument to history with the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, the last icon of the 20th century. They certainly don’t build them like her anymore. Working with elegance and dignity in her last days by swearing in the new Prime Minister for Britain, the Queen, is as timeless as the Pantheon built to recognise all people equally. We can only hope that we as a generation can produce an enduring nation in culture, language and community she would be proud of.