13 Mar 2006

Call for Samoa land court case to be deferred

2:20 pm on 13 March 2006

A New Zealand-based lawyer has asked for a court case about an historical land claim by Samoa's Siumu chiefs to be postponed until next month.

Olinda Woodroffe says the case was to open in the Supreme Court in Apia tomorrow.

Ms Woodroffe, who is acting for the chiefs, says the title for 2,000 acres of land was never legally transferred to colonial powers.

She says the land was passed on to the Samoan government, but she says nothing has been done to resolve the issue.

"I believe that this case won't go away. This matter has to be resolved by an independent body and a court is where the last meeting we had with the Prime Minister of Samoa, he directed the district to go to court. So we've done what the government directed and it won't go away. Its got to be resolved - one way or the other."

Olinda Woodroffe says Auckland Queens counsel Howard Keyte QC will also be working with her on this case.