23 Jul 2018

Samoa's constitution not designed to support new land law

9:37 am on 23 July 2018

An academic says Samoa's constitution was never designed to support a controversial land law that came into force a decade ago.

There are still concerns the 2008 Land Titles Registration Act, or LTRA, alienates Samoans from their customary land rights.

Otago University political scientist Iati Iati recently completed research into customary land laws, which he said provides important insights into an issue that has divided many Samoans.

Dr Iati said Samoa's constitution was drawn up when the land system was based on deeds.

"The basic gist of my argument is if you were to look at the context at the frame in which it operated in, whereby the deed system prevailed during the time of the constitutional formation period that is the kind of leasing they had in mind when they made it an exception, not what is now done under the LTRA 2008," he said.

Iati Iati said his research would be published soon.