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An Inquiry into the Nature of Land Ownership in Fiji

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Boydell, Spike; Shah, Krishn
Conference: Traditional Lands in the Pacific Region: Indigenous Common Property Resources in Convulsion or Cohesion
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Conf. Date: September 7-9, 2003
Date: 2003
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/2266
Sector: Land Tenure & Use
Region: Pacific and Australia
Subject(s): IASC
land tenure and use
customary law
indigenous institutions
property rights
Abstract: "Through a philosophical inquiry into the nature of communal land ownership, this paper questions the myth and embeddedness surrounding native title in Fiji. Can we identify an owner of native land? There are many who claim to be native landowners; indeed as members of the Vanua, they actually believe themselves to be landowners. There is sometimes a difference between belief and actuality. "The philosophical inquiry is grounded in legal precedent. Land tenure systems are manmade, but legal clarification is sometimes required to assist in determining rights. The three cases of Meli Kaliavu v NLTB, Timoci Bavandra v NLTB, and Naimisio Dikau v NLTB provide a valuable legal interpretation. "When the ordinary individual, who has been seduced by myth and the embeddedness of misunderstanding, comes to realise that they do not own anything other than a lifelong right of occupation and an obligation for prudent stewardship, there may be a revolution and a clarion call for modification of the land tenure system. This will only happen when the majority decide where they want to be placed between the extremes of traditional customary ways and Western materialism. This is both a societal and nation changing decision, and one that must not be taken lightly."

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