We extend warm greetings from the Tiapapata Art Centre, a unique place where traditional and contemporary arts and crafts are taught and made. Founded in 1989, the art centre is located off the Cross Island Road, also known as Falealili Street. It is 15 – 20 minutes by car from Apia and is on the same road leading to the Bahá’í House of Worship. Our property comprises three acres and we have built three Airbnb units to accommodate visiting guests, artists in residence and, if available, WWOOFERs. We also have a multi-purpose art studio and kiln room, an art gallery and café, and traditional Samoan meeting house known as a faletalimālō. There are tropical fruit trees, guava and cherry guava, native oranges, bananas, papaya, and soursop to name a few, and a kitchen garden which you will look after if you join us as a WWOOFER.
Wendy and Galumalemana Steven Percival
During your stay with us, you will be able to learn a lot about Samoa, its history and aspects of its rich culture and biodiversity, including some Samoa’s tangible and intangible heritage. If you enjoy exploring your creativity, you may want to make use of the studio facilities and the art programs we offer which include pottery, printmaking, drawing and painting, papermaking using plant fibres, and bone, wood and stone carving. You will be surrounded by nature and art for the whole time you stay with us, waking and sleeping to the melodic bird song of the Ma’oma’o, an endemic and endangered
giant honeyeater. The Iao, the Wattled honeyeater, and the Segasegamau’u, the Cardinal honeyeater, are also active in the area.
The usual working week is Monday – Saturday, from 7:00am – 12:00pm, with
Sundays free or traded for any other day of the week.
As a WWOFER at the Tiapapata Art Centre, you will be expected to do general gardening work such as weeding, pruning, preparing beds and planting if you are with us at the right time, landscaping and other outdoor tasks as required. The working hours make for a short day but there can be flexibility. For example, you may prefer to work a few hours in the morning and, when it gets very hot towards midday, continue later in the afternoon. This may be decided on as and when the need arises. Sunday is a free day but again, you may want to do some gardening on Sundays and have a break on any other day of the week.
The kitchen garden is located just outside the back door of the Café. In the tropics, weeds grow really quickly and the garden need to be weeded regularly to keep them under control, at least every two to three weeks. We do not use any commercial chemicals but do make and use our own organic fertilizers and insecticides using local plants, spices and herbs. Knowledge of organic farming is an advantage. Insecticides need to be sprayed once or twice a week on certain crops such as lettuce, Chinese cabbage, round cabbage, cucumbers and long beans.
In addition to general gardening, we will also need help with pruning our fruit trees from time to time and also doing other tasks that may be required. It would also be great if you have experience with landscaping as this is an area we are looking to develop. We are passionate about healthy lifestyles and it would be great if you are also. We mainly eat a plant-based diet and because there is a rich variety and abundance of local foods, you will always be well nourished with fresh, locally grown organic foods. A gardener who is also a good or who likes to cook and experiment with new recipes is on a winning ticket.
On rainy days we can use your help in the kitchen or in the art studio and may even have some carpentry jobs happening during your stay.
School Kitchen Gardens
The Tiapapata Art Centre has started a project with some schools where we have established school kitchen gardens. WWOOFERs may be asked to monitor and provide help to maintain these gardens which we hope will instill a love for gardening and eating vegetables among children. Samoa, along with many other Pacific Island nations, is suffering from epidemic levels of chronic, diet-related diseases that are better termed “socially transmitted conditions” rather non- communicable diseases, the term they are commonly described as.
The Tiapapata Art Centre is located 8km from Apia, the capital of Samoa, a 15 – 20 minutes drive. It is also a 25 - 30 minute drive to the closest beaches on the South Coast. Public transport is available from early morning hours and operates almost every thirty minutes both ways. The Art Centre has vehicles you may also be able to use from time to time.
The main place of stay for WWOOFERS is a downstairs apartment located in the residence. You have your own front and back door access (lockable). The apartment is self-contained and has a private bathroom and kitchen. There are other accommodation spaces that may be available but these are listed on Airbnb and are becoming increasingly booked by short-term visitors. Mosquito netting and bedding are provided.
As we live in the mountain range almost in the middle of the island of Upolu, there are a lot of interesting sites located north and south:
Bahá’í House of Worship
Opposite our property is the Bahá’í House of Worship, surrounded by over 20 acres of land and gardens. It is a short walk from the Art Centre.
Robert Louis Stevenson Museum and botanical gardens
This site also has a hiking trail to the top of Mount Vaea where Robert Louis Stevenson’s grave is located, the sailor home from the sea, the hunter home from the hills.
Malololelei view point
This lookout is also within walking distance or a short drive. It offers views of the Vaisigano valley to the coast and the city of Apia.
This charming café is located over the Vaisigano river and is surrounded by lush tropical forest. The river has a number of waterfalls up and down the river.
Lake Lanuto'o is a pea-green crater lake whose depths have yet to be plumbed. Visiting the the lake is a drive and a long walk over the hill and dale, around an hour at a good pace.
The city of Apia is a 15 - 20 minute drive by car or you can catch the village busses both ways.
The closest south coast beaches are 25 – 30 minutes away. There are also great resorts on the south coast such as the Sinalei Reef Resort and Spa.
Other activities at the Tiapapata Art Centre
We usually have 2 – 3 art exhibitions featuring new work every year, often art that is created by artists-in-residence working with local artists.
We host movie nights, often on a monthly basis, and a dinner is offered to match the country the movie is set in. The movies are often interesting documentaries, art-house type films, and sometimes comedies, dramas and romance films. Quite often the movies are international films is foreign languages with subtitles. The Tiapapata Art Centre also makes documentary films and these can also be screened from time to time.
We have a number of telescopes and every now and again we invite people to join us observe the moon and the stars, planets and constellations, often coinciding with astronomical events such as lunar eclipses. With little incidental lighting in the area, the night sky is truly magnificent.