FIJI VILLAGERS WANT RETURN OF NADI AIRPORT LAND

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By Fred Wesley

SUVA, Fiji Islands (October 7, 1998 - Daily Post/Pasifik Nius/Niuswire)--- Saunaka landowners want back the land which Fiji's Nadi International Airport sits on, the Daily Post reports.

The landowners say that the land has been used for commercial purposes and not the "public purposes" it was originally secured for.

Former national rugby union team coach and Taukei Naua, Ratu Josateki Sovau, said that a written demand and submission was served on the authorities yesterday for the return of Nadi International Airport land to its traditional native owners.

Landowners are prepared to take the Fiji Government and authorities concerned to court over the issue.

The landowners, however, say there is no threat to tourism and the business sector.

Ratu Josateki yesterday acknowledged the importance of the land in question to the country, especially in relation to the business and tourism sectors.

He said there are no plans to disrupt services at the airport.

Title -- 1750 LAND RIGHTS: Nadi airport landowners want land back Date -- 8 October 1998 Byline -- Fred Wesley Origin -- niusedita@pactok.net.au

Source -- Daily Post (Fiji), 8/10/98 Copyright - DP Status - Abridged

This document is for educational and personal use only. Recipients should seek permission from the copyright source before reprinting. PASIFIK NIUS service is provided by the niusedita via the Journalism Program, University of the South Pacific. Please acknowledge Pasifik Nius: niusedita@pactok.net.au http://www.usp.ac.fj/journ/nius/

LANDOWNERS IN FIJI SAY THEY WANT TO RECLAIM NADI AIRPORT SITE

NADI, Fiji Islands (October 8, 1998 - Radio Australia)---Traditional landowners in Fiji say they want to claim back the site of the country's international airport.

Radio Australia Pacific correspondent, Richard Dinnen, reports the landowners say they do not approve of the increasingly commercial nature of operations at the airport:

"Nadi International Airport is the major gateway into Fiji.

"It stands on land compulsorily acquired from its traditional owners under emergency powers during World War Two, without their consent.

"The land was to be used for public purposes, but the land-owners say the corporatization of the airport and its use by businesses breaches the definition of public use.

"The land-owners have met with Aviation Minister David Pickering, saying they want to re-claim title to the land and compensation for its use, and they'll work closely with the Native Lands Trust Board to pursue their claim.

"They say they understand the importance of the airport and will not disrupt operations there, but have given the Government about six weeks to respond to their claim."

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