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close this section of the library Chambers, Kenneth Alexander


View the PDF document Native title and the torrens system : a comparative law analysis of tenure conversion in the Fiji Islands
Author:Chambers, Kenneth Alexander
Institution: University of the South Pacific.
Award: Ph.D.
Subject: Land titles -- Fiji, Torrens system -- Fiji, Land tenure -- Law and legislation -- Fiji, Fijians -- Land tenure
Date: 2015
Call No.: pac KVN 71 .35 C43 2015
BRN: 1202748
Copyright:Under 10% of this thesis may be copied without the authors written permission

Abstract: This thesis is a comparative law study addressing the thesis question: “Can Fijian land tenure policy include carefully regulated partial conversion of iTaukei land to freehold based on the Torrens system?” Central to this thesis is the proposition that the legal framework already exists for the conversion of iTaukei land to freehold: social, economic, political, and cultural dimensions impacting at policy level, giving peripheral texture to the thesis enquiry. Fiji is at a point in its development where the land system is not meeting social or economic expectations. Access to land and better utilization of the resources it contains is a core element in the human right to life and it is central to any sustainable development imperative but the outcomes of land policy providing for the conversion of native land to leasehold or freehold tenure is notoriously difficult to predict and there are well documented catastrophes. In 1840 there was not an acre of New Zealand which did not have an owner according to native custom and before cession in 1874 it was the same in Fiji. Colonial intervention delivered different outcomes, but both countries are well documented illustrations of tenure conversion. In Fiji, native title accounts for about 90% of the land mass and the impact of tenure conversion to leasehold has been relatively benign. New Zealand on the other hand was swamped by a colonial tsunami of conversion to freehold so that almost nothing is left of 66.4 million acres of Maori customary land: all that remains is the shadow and the socio-economic consequences. Tenure conversion ignited the land wars in New Zealand and in Fiji land tenure policy with the prospect of a similar outcome is arguably (albeit more often than not unarticulated) a component cause of all four military coups since 1987. Land tenure reform is a defining issue in Fiji.This thesis will show by comparative enquiry primarily focused on tenure conversion to freehold in New Zealand and Fiji, supplemented with an analysis of common law and recent native title law from other jurisdictions, that Fijian law already contemplates the conversion of iTaukei land to freehold, and that a limited tenure conversion process can be an important land tenure policy option.
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