Samoan village battles land claim
Sat, 02 Jun 2012 6:04p.m.
By Michael Morrah
A village on the outskirts of Samoa's capital is planning to send a petition to the New Zealand Government claiming land was unfairly taken during its administration of the country.
The land at Satapuala, near Samoa's main airport, is now under the control of the Samoan Government. But the village wants it returned as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations.
The festivities continued in Apia today, as Samoa marks 50 years of self-governance.
But away from the celebrations are the villages of Satapuala and Satuimalufilufi, land next to the airport which stretches kilometres up the coast that locals say has been forgotten.
They say it was taken during New Zealand's control of Samoa early last century, and that has never been acknowledged, nor have they been fairly compensated.
"The village is suffering because of that and we want it resolved so that the villages can move forward and not have to continue as our ancestors have been doing for the past 50 years," says opposition MP Toeolesulusulu Cedric Schuster.
Part of the land claim has already been thrown out by the Supreme Court.
But New Zealand Labour MP Su'a William Sio's family is from Satapuala, and he says he'll help the village in its campaign for recognition and table a petition in Parliament.
"When it comes to land issues, these elders are not going to give up,” says Mr Sio. “It's their heritage. It belongs to generations of people."
The Samoan Government is hoping the dispute will fade away. It wants to build a new hospital on part of the land.
The hospital is important because an increasing proportion of Samoa's population live below the poverty line – up to 30 percent in some areas, and the strain on health resources is immense.
Samoa's Prime Minister says the land claim is just political posturing.
"It sets a very dangerous precedent because once we make a decision making an exception for one village, then all the Government lands will be similarly affected," says Prime Minister Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in New Zealand has been made aware of the issue. The village people hope Prime Minister John Key will be briefed on the matter before he arrives in Samoa in August to mark the 50th Anniversary of the New Zealand-Samoa Treaty of Friendship.
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26/07/2012 7:11:45 a.m.
Corncerned Citizen wrote:
The government wants to take this particular land to build a new hospital. Tuilaepa heres my opionion to you. Instead of you taking away these people land, why dont you take that money you seem to have alot of and fix the other hospital in Motootua. Before you go out there and steal those people land, I suggest you should take a visit to the Motootua hospital and take inventory of what the hospital needs to be able to service your own samoan people. The government should worry about government issues but when it comes to customary land that has been passing down from generation to generation, it should leave it to the village to handle it because they have been doing it so I would strongly say that Tuilaepa AKA (THIEF) leave it alone. Your creating a huge mess and your hurting all those families they have been there since their forefathers.
5/06/2012 7:43:18 p.m.
Satapuala Citizen wrote:
The appeal has nothing to do with any $$$$ as perprevious comments. Its a heritage that citizens are entitled to and are entitled for a fair treatment (deal). We are not asking for financial compensation , we just want our land back.
4/06/2012 8:05:31 a.m.
Tim Durkin-Wright wrote:
They don't just through money away. They only give land to people who have a right to claim it, and so long as it's still goverment land. i.e not private land, the goverment should give back what they stole, we may have stolen it from the germens but they in turn stole it from Samoans and they have a right to be given it back as a people. They don't want money they want their Mama and te rangiteratanga back, the culture of the islands and Maori was strongly based upon land, in steeling it the Pakeha stole more than just a bit of bush. Wake up mate and read your history, we stole a lot of land both in the county and in places placed under our administration. They shouldn't they be given it back? I totally agree with this so long as no one lives there who will be forced to leave it this happens
3/06/2012 10:27:03 a.m.
OK, so the bottom lines are; They want money and they want us to be the people to pay it. We see this far too often. People approaching our government with their hands out wanting money for something that happened 100 years or more ago. Now it's not just people from within New Zealand. Now people from outside the country want to get in on the act? Our government's reputation for throwing money and anybody who asks for it under any pretense is clearly becoming widely known.
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