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False claim of Matai title a cultural affront

False claim of Matai title a cultural affront

National must explain why its candidate for Māngere Misa Fia Turner appears to be using a Matai title she is not entitled to, Labour’s MP for Māngere and Pacific Islands Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio says.

A Matai title is a legally-recognised chiefly title bestowed as an honour by Samoan families and their villages.

“The Samoan Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration says it has no one registered under the name of ‘Misa Fia Turner’,” Su’a William Sio says.

“The Ministry also says that under Samoa’s Lands and Titles Act 1981, ‘the use of an unregistered Matai title is illegal as it is considered an offence to wrongfully use such a Matai title’.

“Under Samoan law the ‘rightful holder’ is a person ‘who has been appointed in accordance with the customs and usage of the Samoan people’ which includes being recognised through a court judgment.

“The rightful holder also has to have had a traditional appointment in the village to which that name or title belongs.

“If National’s candidate is using a title she has not had, that is an affront to the people of Samoa and the Samoan community in New Zealand.

“The National Party must investigate the discrepancy between Misa Fia Turner’s title and the view of the Samoan Government,” Su’a William Sio says.


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