Front Page of Samoa Observer
Written by Marieta Heidi Ilalio
Sunday, 11 January 2009 18:50
A matai title dispute in Safua, Savai’i, has resulted in the family of Va’asilifiti Moelagi Jackson (pictured left) being ostracised.
The decision on the prominent businesswoman, who owns Safua Hotel, was handed down on Saturday 3 January, the village pulenu’u (mayor) told the Sunday Samoan.
“Va’asilifiti claims she owns these titles,” said the pulenu’u, who did not want to give his name.
The titles in question are Tupa’i and Lealali, both prominent titles in Safua. A third title, Tuisafua, is also involved in the intricacies of the dispute.
“Safua village rules and regulations set by our ancestors is that each family has to have a member who is bestowed with either of these titles,” said the pulenu’u.
“But Va’asilifiti has gone against these rules.
“When her family was planning a saofa’i (title bestowment ceremony), the village asked Va’asilifiti to allow the villagers to use their Tupa’i and Lealali titles, which she had stopped (through a petition in Court).
“Our request was that she allows the villagers to use their titles and the village will attend and bless her family’s new titleholders.”
The pulenu’u said the dispute has been simmering for years.
“We were hoping for a peaceful solution,” he said.
“But Va’asilifiti rejected our request. What’s worse is that when the village refused to attend their saofa’i on Friday 2 January, matai from other sub-villages were invited to bless the new titleholders. We felt insulted.
“So that is why we have made the decision.
“We have also resolved that the new titleholders of Va’asilifiti’s family will not be recognized in the village because the village council of Safua was not present during the saofa’i.”
Speaking from Auckland where she is attending a family reunion, Va’asilifiti told the Sunday Samoan that the pulenu’u’s claims were “unfounded.”
“According to my information, there is only one family that is misleading the whole village,” she said.
“There are only a couple of matai who are pushing the issue.”
Va’asilifiti confirmed that the dispute was a long-standing issue, dating back to 1983. She said the matter has been before the Land and Titles Court and “true heirs” of the title won the case.
“The problem is, the village council say they own the titles which is not true,” Va’asilifiti said.
“When they requested that I allow the villagers to use their Tupa’i and Lealali titles, I told them that I don’t own the titles. I said to them I had to go back to my family and consult with them.
“I did that and the answer from my family was no.”
Va’asilifiti said the decision to ostracise her family was the result of the village council’s lack of understanding of the law.
“It has a lot to do with education,” she said. “Obviously, there are channels for these things to be done.”
The businesswoman said she was disappointed but not bitter about the village council’s decision.
She said there were still some members of her family in Safua including a relative who coaches the rugby team.
Asked what her family is planning to do, she said: “I believe in the old saying e le po pea se nu’u (no village remains dark forever). At the moment, we are playing it by ear and see what happens.”
Haha...we're famous for a day once again, for all the wrong reasons: being faate'ad from our sub-village: Again.
Even though the courts had ruled that we are rightful owners of the titles Tuisafua, Vaasiliifiti, Tupa'imatuna, Tuapou, Lealali, and sa'o tamatai title Lagipoiva.
I blame all these problems on modern politics and the matais who manipulated the matai system for political ambition. This was at a time where only matais were allowed to vote.
The result is that the political leader at the time pushed matais from their contituencies to make up more matai titles:
i.e: the more matais, the more votes.
After decades of disagreements, where the village have always won, the matter was taken to the Land and Titles Court and the ruling was made that even though the politics at the time allows these idiots to be matais, the correction was made, and hugely supported by the district that ownership be returned to the "rightful owners" and to add insult to village injury, "soloia uma matai outside of the family" that is, "get rid of all those bullshit artists titles.
So on 2nd January, for the first time since 1974, the rightful owners bestowed titled upon the rightful heirs to the titles.
This is one of the reasons I started this avenue of expression in the first place, because I cannot express myself in the village from fear of being ostracised, but now that I am, choooohoooo, …lets open a can of anufes….
Now I’ll really tell you about what happens in my little cardboard paradise, unedited version …Auoi Kafefe!!!!’
For the coward who left me a message, i hope you understand this message I am typing..(try!)..I DON'T GIVE A DAMN.... If you are so so certain, they why aren't the Courts agreeing with you???????
tell me that and i rest my case,
thank you your honour...lol.