Faagata v. Taupo,

FAAGATA of Fagatogo, Plaintiff

 

 v.

 

TAUPO of Fagatogo, Defendant

 

[Matai Name: "Sologatua" of Fagatogo]

 

High Court of American Samoa

Civil Jurisdiction, Trial Division

 

No. 31-1947

 

August 19, 1947

 

__________

 

            Application to be registered as holder of matai title "Sologatua," to which there was one objector who stated that he did not want to be registered. Trial .Jurisdiction of the High Court, Chief .Justice Morrow, did not register objector against his wishes and did not register applicant because, having been born in Western Samoa and having failed to register before his thirteenth birthday in American Samoa, he was ineligible. Thus, title was left vacant.

              Application denied; title left vacant.

 

1. Matai Titles-Registration of Titles-Objection without Interposing Candidacy

Court will not order man registered as matai if he does not wish to be so registered.

2. Matai Titles-Determination of Matai-Eligibility Requirements

Code sets forth requirements for eligibility to hold matai title. (CAS 926.)

3. Matai Titles-Determination of Matai-Eligibility Requirements

Applicant to be registered as matai title holder who was born in Western Samoa and who was not registered in American Samoa within thirteen years after birth, is ineligible to become matai.

__________

 

ARTHUR A. MORROW, Chief Justice; LIUFAU, District Judge; and PULETU, District Judge.

[2ASR272]

 

DECISION

 

Heard at Fagatogo, August 15,1947.

Each party appeared pro se.

The facts sufficiently appear in the opinion.

 

MORROW, Chief Justice.

 

            This case involves the registration of the name Sologatua. The evidence showed clearly that Sologatua is a junior matai title in the Faagata family.

            Taupo filed his application to be registered as the Sologatua. Faagata filed an objection to such proposed registration. Hence this litigation. At the trial Faagata advised the Court that he did not desire to be registered as the Sologatua. He, however, claimed the pule over the name. It is not necessary for the court to determine whether his claim has any validity or not.

            [1] Since Faagata does not desire to be registered as the Sologatua, the court will not order that he be so registered. The question as to whether Taupo should be registered as the Sologatua remains to be determined.

            [2] Section 926 of the American Samoan Code reads as follows:

 

"No person not having all the following qualifications shall be eligible to succeed to any matai title.

(a) Must be at least three-quarters Samoan blood.

(b) Must have resided continuously within the limits of American Samoa for five years either immediately preceding the vacancy of the title, or before he becomes eligible for the title.

(c) Must live with Samoans as a Samoan.

(d) Must be a descendant of a Samoan family and chosen by his family for the title. (e) must have been born on American soil, except persons born of parents of Samoan blood who are (1) inhabitants of American Samoa or engaged in foreign travel at date of birth of such child and ...whose matai at any time "within 13 years after the birth aforementioned files with the Registrar of Titles a sworn declaration that [2ASR273] such child born outside of American Samoa now resides in American Samoa and desires such child to be an inhabitant of American Samoa”

 

            Taupo testified that he was born in Savaii and that his father and mother were both born in Savaii. In Answer to the question “Were all your ancestors born in Savaii? Taupo answered “Yes.” He was then asked “You are then a Savaii man and all your ancestors are Savaii people?” to which he answered “Yes”.

            [3] Since Savaii is an island of Western Samoa, the evidence, as given by Taupo himself, clearly indicates that he does not meet the requirements of Section 926(e) of the Code. Since Section 926 prescribes that “No person not having all of the following qualifications shall be eligible to succeed to any title” it is apparent that Taupo is not eligible to hold a matai title in American Samoa. Consequently he cannot be registered as the Sologatua.

It is ordered that the application of Taupo to be registered as the Sologatua be denied.

            Costs in the amount of $25.00 are hereby assessed against Taupo, the same to be paid within 30 days.

 

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