Who ‘Owns’ Customary Land?

In this episode of The Customary Land Podcast we explore who ‘owns’ Customary Land… and it isn’t as obvious as you may think!

The episode is built around an article that I co-authored with a former lawyer colleague, Krishn Shah, in which we explored customary land ownership using Fiji as a case study. Using Fiji is helpful, as Native Land Records have been kept since the time of the Deed of Cession to Queen Victoria in 1874. This sets Fiji apart from its Pacific neighbours, as well as many over Indigenous groups. Moreover, since 1940 indigenous ‘landowners’ in Fiji have had their surplus land managed by the Native Land Trust Board (now the iTaukei Land Trust Board), meaning the customary ‘landowners’ have benefited from having legal and property specialists representing then in all land dealings.

Paper by Spike Boydell & Krishn Shah
‘An inquiry into the nature of land ownership in Fiji’

Paper by Joeli Balendrokadroka
‘The Fijian Understanding of the Deed of Cession Treaty 1874’

If you prefer to watch, rather than just listen, you can view the podcast episode here.