Story: Citizenship

The citizenship of Western Samoans

The citizenship of Western Samoans

From 1920 until 1962, New Zealand administered Western Samoa under League of Nations and United Nations mandates. After Western Samoa became independent in 1962, the status of its citizens in New Zealand was uncertain. In a key legal case, Falema‘i Lesa pressed her claim to be a New Zealand citizen as far as the Privy Council. It ruled in 1982 that all Western Samoans born between 1924 and 1948 were British subjects, and that in 1949 they and their descendants had become New Zealand citizens. In this picture Falema‘i Lesa welcomes the Privy Council’s decision.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library, Dominion Post Collection (PAColl-7327)
Reference: EP/1982/2359
Photograph by Peter Avery

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

David Green, 'Citizenship - Aliens and citizens', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 27 July 2021)

Story by David Green, published 8 Feb 2005