Lord Fakafanua claims Pātangata land is his, asks govt to reconsider land distribution

PHOTO: Left – Lord Maʻafu Tonga’s Minister of Land and Survey, R – Lord Fakafanua Tonga’s Former Speaker of the House

Lord Fakafanua has written to Tonga’s Minister of Land and Survey, Lord Maʻafu, asking him to reconsider the government’s decision to distribute the land at the village of Pātanga to its settlers.

The land at Pātangata was redistributed earlier this year so electricity could be connected to the village.

According to a report in Tālanga newspaper this week,  Lord Fakafanua believes the estate is his.

However, Lord Maʻafu said the government stood by its decision and that Pātangata was a government estate.

Lord Fakafanua, the noble of Maʻofanga estate, said he believed Pātanga village was one of his estates because of the outcome of a series of Land Court cases brought  by his grandfather.

Tālanga has since denied stories in other Tongan news outlets that Lord Fakafanua had taken legal action against the government.

The newspaper said the noble only wrote to the Minister of Land and Survey, claiming the estate was his and asking the government to review its decision.

It has been claimed that Pātangata, which is also popularly known as Tukutonga, was joined to another block of land called Finepani.

The lands were claimed by Fakafanua Kisione Lēlea, Lord Fakafanua’s great grandfather but was rejected in a Land Court Case in 1924 according to Kakalu-‘O-Tonga newspaper.

Fakafanua Lēlea divided Finepani into two and gave the lands to two of his heralds, Sōsefo Kātoa and Kēlepi Veʻehala, Tālanga reported.

Kātoa and Veʻehala registered the lands with the Ministry of Land and Survey in December 1928 and January 1929.

Tukutonga was leased by Lord Fakafanua’s grandfather to an American citizen named Drucker with the approval of the cabinet – decision number 1041- on January 1, 1971.

However, in 1972 the cabinet changed its decision and declared that Tukutonga was part of the government’s estates.

Fakafanua took the government to court in 1975 and won his case before Chief Justice H.S.Roberts.

However, his victory in the Land Court Case – number 13 of 1975 – was appealed by the government which took it to the Privy Council.

Kakalu-‘O-Tonga quoted Lord Ma’afu as saying the government won in its appeal.

Fakafanua then began another legal action, but the case stalled and has not been pursued since then.

Lord Maʻafu reportedly said the government would stand by its decision on the distribution of Pātangata and Lord Fakafanua was free to take any legal action against government.

He said only a court decision could change the government’s decision.

The main points

  • Lord Fakafanua has written to Tonga’s Minister of Land and Survey, Lord Mā’afu, asking him to reconsider the government’s decision to distribute the land at the village of Patanga to its settlers.
  • The land at Patangata was redistributed earlier this year so electricity could be connected to the village.
  • According to a report in Talanga newspaper this week, Lord Fakafanua believes the estate is his.
  • However, Lord Ma’afu said the government stood by its decision and that Patangata was a government estate.

For more information

Tongan legal and court system (South Pacific Lawyers’ Association) 

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