Ideas for 4 October 2009: Tonga in Focus: Land Reform
Part two of three on Tonga in Focus: Land Reform. Tonga's land tenure system is unique in the Pacific and probably the world. In 1862 Tonga's first king, George Tupou I, abolished a system of semi-serfdom and declared all land to be the property of the Crown. Thirty three nobles were granted estates and commoner males were guaranteed a garden and town plot. It's a system that remains virtually unchanged to this day. Early in 2009 the recently crowned King George Tupou V announced the establishment of a Royal Land Commission would spend the next two years reviewing the laws surrounding land tenure. Ideas hears that some people fear the changes will see Tongan land falling into the hands of foreigners for the first time in history.