Tupuola Conferred Tupua Title

To mark the 40th Anniversary of the Samoa Observer, a series of selected articles printed over the last 40 years will be re-published in the next two weeks, to show our readers the issues covered by this newspaper over the years and the personalities that made the headlines. 

First Published: Friday 27th April 1984

The conferring of the TUPUA TAMASESE title on Taisi Tupuola Efi by Sa Fenunuivao generates keen interest not only because of the Tama-a-aiga status of the title. 

For instance, what are the implications of Moeono’s disassociation which has become an issue because 2AP focuses on it. 

Judging from the turn out on Wednesday, the two newly confirmed Leutele and Salanoa were there, Iuni and perhaps 99% of Falefa matais were there, the Salani contingent (minus sideliners) was solid. 

Sa Fenunuivao’s commitment is firm and irrevocable. Latest reports say that Moeono’s disassociation  relates to internal village differences.

What of Satuala and Aiga-o-Mavaega (the other two political families linked with the tile TUPUA TAMASESE). 

In a Lands and Titles confrontation (re Tupua Tamasese title) in the mid sixties, Tupua Efi backed by Satuala and Aiga-o-Mavaega and the majority of heirs, lost to Lealofi backed by Sa Fenunuivao. 

The decision was an overwhelming victory for the victors as it was a crushing defeat for the defeated. 

The court confirmed Lealofi’s appointment to the title but even more significantly decided that Sa Fenunuivao has the exclusive right to appoint a candidateand confer the title. 

The latter part of the decision meant the paramount issue involed in Tama-a-aiga cases i.e. in whose keeping, political families or heirs is vested in the authority to appoint, the Court came down in favour of political families. 

The heirs do not even have the right to be consulted.  Sa Tuala and Aiga-o-Mavaega who argued that the heirs had the right to appoint (the majority view prevailing); Satuala Sa Fenunuivao and Aiga-o-Mavaega sharing the honours in conferring the title, lost any link to the Tama-a-Aiga title i.e. a link recognized by the Lands and Titles Court.

The Court decision also separated the Tupua and Tamasese titles thus compounding an anomaly that applies especially to Sa Tupua tama-a-aiga titleholders. Before the involvement of Europeans in Samoa.

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