14 Mar 2020

Samoa court rules in customary land dispute

12:07 pm on 14 March 2020

The Samoa Lands and Titles court has ruled in favor of a petition to discontinue the lease of the Samoa Coconut Beach Resort.

A beach fale in Samoa.

A beach fale in Samoa. Photo: Sarah Kelemen [CC BY 2.0]

The resort is on customary land at Si'umu on Upolu Island, which has been the subject of a protracted dispute.

The court decision comes after several heirs of the chiefly title Atanoa, who have rights on the customary land, filed a petition not to renew the lease for a further 30 years.

A notice for renewal was published in the government's Savali newspaper in May last year with agreement from the heirs of the Luamanuvae matai title in Siumu.

But the court has put the renewal on hold until heirs of both families agree to terms and decide to negotiate with the resort owner.

The petitioners have argued that the first lease was endorsed back in 1989 without their consent.