11 Feb 2019

Samoa PM calls matai titles bestowed abroad 'fake'

10:25 am on 11 February 2019

Samoa's prime minister has called matai titles bestowed abroad without the presence of village councils fake.

Samoa PM Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi

Samoa PM Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi Photo: RNZ Pacific /Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia

Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said they will not be officially recognised in Samoa.

He was responding to grievances raised by some people in New Zealand and Australia about a law change that doesn't recognise matai titles given outside of Samoa.

Tuilaepa told Auckland's Radio Samoa that for a bestowal to be legitimate, a traditional usu ceremony needs to be held by a village council.

Without this traditional element, he said, a matai title is illegitimate.