Don’t insult them, they’re Samoans

15 June 2018

Dear Ediotr,

Re: Nanai family at Sogi

Your tone is a bit brash and obnoxious, “...these guys are descended from Melanesian labourers, so they cannot argue customary land arguments...” 

Mr. Tokuma’s mother is Samoan. 

Besides, what does it matter if part of his heritage is Melanesian? 

Yes they were forced labourers who worked for a pittance to create wealth for the colonialists, on plantations and serving their economy, which in turn became the inherited property and vested wealth of the Samoan government. 

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And were they ever fully compensated by both the German governments and later the New Zealand governments? 

And what about our independent governments, have they recognized the near slave like conditions and circumstances that behooved their inherited, modern, capitalist, freehold, land-based (agricultural) economy? 

I don’t think so, but that’s beside the point. Samoa is diverse in its heritage. Some villages and districts still point to connections to Fiji, Tonga, Tahiti, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Niue, etc. underpinned by our Fa’aSamoa. 

And yet they are naturalised, inter-married, worldly and yet Samoan! 

So, yes, Mr. Tokuma should be treated as Samoan, no less. 

He has every right to contest the land generations of his family have grown up on and been buried in, even if its freehold land owned by the sovreign or government, ie. Mr. Tokuma would be considered a landholder who is “seised of” his estate. He has some legal right to hold, as well as a right to self-help or legal process.

 

S. Auimatagi 

15 June 2018

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