Samoa PM calls matai titles bestowed abroad 'fake'

Samoa's prime minister has called matai titles bestowed abroad without the presence of village councils fake.

Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said they will not be officially recognised in Samoa.

He was responding to grievances raised by some people in New Zealand and Australia about a law change that doesn't recognise matai titles given outside of Samoa.

Tuilaepa told Auckland's Radio Samoa that for a bestowal to be legitimate, a traditional usu ceremony needs to be held by a village council.

Without this traditional element, he said, a matai title is illegitimate.