New Zealand in German Samoa

On 29 August 1914, New Zealand troops arrived in Samoa and seized it from German control. This turned out to be a reasonably simple expedition but at the time it was regarded as potentially risky, with unknown consequences.

Samoa had been under German rule since 1900, but the presence of Germany in Samoa predates this. In 1855 Germany expanded its trading into the Pacific, initiating large-scale production of coconut, cacao and hevea rubber in Samoa (then known as the Navigator Islands). America and the United Kingdom also had business interests in the Pacific and opposed the German activity, which lead to the Second Samoan Civil War in 1899. Following this war, the Samoan islands were divided between the three opposing powers, with Germany being awarded what is today known as Western Samoa. It became regarded as the ‘jewel’ of German colonialism.

At the outbreak of war in 1914, Samoa was of moderate strategic importance to Germany. Using the radio transmitter located in the hills above Apia, German troops were able to send Morse code signals to Berlin, as well as communicate with the 90 warships in Germany’s naval fleet. Britain wanted this threat neutralised and New Zealand agreed to seize Samoa from Germany.

officers
Officers attached to the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, Samoa. Tattersall, Alfred James, 1866-1951 :Photographs of Samoa. Ref: PAColl-3062-3-18. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23195986

New Zealand troops departed from Wellington on the morning of Saturday 15 August in two ships, Monowai and Moeraki. These two ships had been requisitioned from the Union Steam Ship Company as transports, and were therefore slow and unarmed. These two unlikely war ships left the New Zealand convoy extremely vulnerable as they travelled to Samoa, especially as the location of the German East Asia Squadron was unknown to the Allies throughout their two week journey.

moeraki
S S Moeraki leaving Wellington. Dickie, John, 1869-1942 :Collection of postcards, prints and negatives. Ref: 1/1-002258-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22460165

When the New Zealand convoy reached French New Caledonia, they were joined by the Royal Australian Navy’s battlecruiser HMAS Australia, the light cruiser HMAS Melbourne and the French armoured cruiser Montcalm. While the landing at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915 is acknowledged as the birth of the Anzac legend, the first Australian–New Zealand military operation of the First World War was actually the capture of German Samoa in August 1914.

landing
Tattersall, Alfred James, 1866-1951. New Zealand troops landing in Samoa during World War I. Making New Zealand :Negatives and prints from the Making New Zealand Centennial collection. Ref: MNZ-0366-1/4-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22716395

Upon reaching Samoa, it became known to the New Zealand convoy that the German defences there were in fact quite weak; they had only 20 troops and special constables armed with 50 aging rifles. The Samoa Advance Party of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force landed at Apia on 29 August with no opposition. It was later discovered that the German administration had received orders from Berlin not to oppose an Allied invasion.

camp
Part of camp, Malifa, Western Samoa. Hackworth, Philip Vernon, d 1960 :Photograph album. Ref: PA1-q-107-36-2. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22806414

A fortnight later, on 14 September, the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau arrived off Apia and the New Zealand garrison braced itself for large-calibre gunfire. Luckily, the cruisers left once their skippers realised that Samoa was no longer in German hands. Samoa was then declared to be under a New Zealand-run British military occupation. The British flag was raised outside the government building in Apia and Samoa became the second German territory, after Togoland in Africa, to fall to the Allies in the First World War.

troops
Star Boating Club :Photograph of members of the club who went to Samoa with Expeditionary Force, 1914.. Ref: PAColl-5216. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22348195

If you would like to learn more about New Zealand in German Samoa, we have some materials available:

Syndetics book coverFighting for empire: New Zealand and the Great War of 1914-1918 / Christopher Pugsley.
“One hundred thousand New Zealanders sailed to war between 1914 and 1918, and at the end of four years of conflict the country had suffered 60,000 casualties, including 18,000 dead. Dr Chris Pugsley’s account of the First World War (first published as a section in Scars on the Heart: 200 Years of NZ at War, Bateman, 1996), is a tale of learning about war the hard way, by bitter and costly experience, drawing on photographs, letters and diaries to examine the impact of war through the eyes of those involved. This lively mix of text, photographs and soldiers’ own accounts covers all aspects of the war: from NZ’s seizing German Samoa five days after war was declared, ANZAC Cove and Gallipoli, patriotism at home, Mounted Rifles in Sinai and Palestine, the role of our nurses, the Western Front, and ‘Sea Dogs and Flying Aces – how our sailors and airmen fought the war’.” (Syndetics summary)

THE SAMOA (N.Z.) EXPEDITIONARY FORCE
We have this book in our New Zealand Rare books collection. Published in 1924, it is in a fragile condition but may be viewed by request at the 2nd floor enquiries desk.

photoa 2photoa 1.jpga

Information sourced from NZ History and Wikipedia
Images sourced from Timeframes

Sprechen Sie Deutsch?

Do you enjoy reading German Literature or brushing up on your German?
Have a taste of the latest additions to our Community Languages section featuring a broad range of literary fiction, including biographies, romances, intriguing mysteries and more. Have fun!

german bookShanghai fern von wo : Roman / Ursula Krechel.
“Shanghai am Vorabend des Zweiten Weltkriegs. Für Tausende Juden ist es das letzte Schlupfloch. Sie kamen ohne Visum und Illusionen mit einem Koffer und zehn Reichsmark in der Tasche: Anwälte, Handwerker, Kunsthistoriker, und wenn sie in dieser überfüllten Stadt und dem feucht drückenden Klima zurechtkommen wollten, dann waren Erfindungsgabe und Tatkraft gefordert. Ursula Krechels bewegender Roman erzählt von Menschen, die versuchen, das Überleben zu lernen”. (Adapted from Amazon.de review).

Sommer der EntscheidungSommer der Entscheidung / Nele Neuhaus.
“Ein Leben ohne Pferde kann sich Elena nicht vorstellen. Wenn sie reitet, vergisst sie alles um sich herum. Alles außer Tim, den Jungen vom Nachbarhof, den sie liebt und mit dem sie doch nicht zusammen sein darf. Ein dunkles Familiengeheimnis zwingt die beiden, ihre Beziehung vor den anderen zu verbergen. Doch dann legt sich plötzlich ein Schatten über die Höfe der Gegend. Immer wieder verschwinden Pferde über Nacht, Elena und ihre Freunde geraten in tödliche Gefahr und es stellt sich die Frage, was stärker ist: Liebe oder Hass?” (Adapted from Amazon.de review).

3462044060_02___SCMZZZZZZZ_Bretonische Verhältnisse : ein Fall für Kommissar Dupin / Jean-Luc Bannalec.
“Im malerischen Künstlerdorf Pont Aven wird an einem heißen Julimorgen der Besitzer des berühmtesten Hotels am Platz brutal erstochen aufgefunden. Kommissar Dupin, eingefleischter Pariser und zwangsversetzt ans Ende der Welt, übernimmt den Fall und stößt in der bretonischen Sommeridylle auf ungeahnte Abgründe … Clever erzählt, komplex, spannend und mit vielen überraschenden Wendungen. ‘Bretonische Verhältnisse’ macht Lust auf die Bretagne und auf weitere Romane des Autors”. (Adapted from Amazon.de review).

german bookEr ist wieder da / Timur Vermes.
“Sommer 2011. Adolf Hitler erwacht auf einem leeren Grundstück in Berlin-Mitte. Ohne Krieg, ohne Partei, ohne Eva. Im tiefsten Frieden, unter Tausenden von Ausländern und Angela Merkel. 66 Jahre nach seinem vermeintlichen Ende strandet der Gröfaz in der Gegenwart und startet gegen jegliche Wahrscheinlichkeit eine neue Karriere – im Fernsehen. Dieser Hitler ist keine Witzfigur und gerade deshalb erschreckend real. Und das Land, auf das er trifft, ist es auch: zynisch, hemmungslos erfolgsgeil und auch trotz Jahrzehnten deutscher Demokratie vollkommen chancenlos gegenüber dem Demagogen und der Sucht nach Quoten, Klicks und “Gefällt mir”-Buttons. Eine Persiflage? Eine Satire? Polit-Comedy? All das und mehr: Timur Vermes’ Romandebüt ist ein literarisches Kabinettstück erster Güte”. (Adapted from Amazon.de review).

german bookSchneewittchen muss sterben : Kriminalroman / Nele Neuhaus.
“Sulzbach im Taunus: An einem regnerischen Novemberabend wird eine Frau von einer Brücke auf die Straße gestoßen. Die Ermittlungen führen Pia Kirchhoff und Oliver von Bodenstein in die Vergangenheit: Vor vielen Jahren verschwanden in dem kleinen Taunusort Altenhain zwei Mädchen. Ein Indizienprozess brachte den mutmaßlichen Täter hinter Gitter. Nun ist er in seinen Heimatort zurückgekehrt. Als erneut ein Mädchen vermisst wird, beginnt im Dorf eine Hexenjagd…” (Adapted from Amazon.de review).

mutter&kinderUnter dem Herzen : Ansichten einer neugeborenen Mutter / Ildikó von Kürthy ; mit Zeichnungen von Stefan Werthmüller.
“Datum: 9. September Schwangerschaftswoche: 6 + 6 Tage Zustand: Babys Herzchen schlägt, und ich ringe mit mir, meinen Frauenarzt zu bitten, in unser Gästezimmer einzuziehen. Nur zur Sicherheit und bloß für die nächsten acht Monate. Ich bin drauf und dran, ein anderer Mensch zu werden. Einer, den ich bisher noch nicht kannte: eine Mutter. Nie weiß ich, wann mich der Hunger, die Angst, das Glück oder die Übelkeit überkommt. Denn genauso überwältigend wie die Furcht, das Kind zu verlieren, kann die Furcht sein, das Kind zu bekommen. Neulich kamen mir die Tränen, als ich im Internet auf die Umstandsunterhose «Schluppi» stieß, in Größe und Form einem Zwei-Mann-Zelt nicht unähnlich. Was erwartet mich für ein Glück? Was für eine Liebe? Eine bedingungslose? Werde ich meinen Sohn auch noch leiden können, wenn er hundertdreißig Kilo wiegt und Fahrlehrer werden will, oder meine Tochter, wenn sie mit achtzehn beschließt, sich ein Arschgeweih tätowieren zu lassen und Weihnachten bei den Eltern ihres Idioten-Freundes zu feiern? Ich horche angestrengt in mich hinein. Spüre ich, dass ich zwei bin? Nein. Was soll mein Kind von mir denken? Kaum gezeugt und schon vernachlässigt. Ob ich eine schlechte Mutter werde? Eine hyperventilierende Megaglucke? Eine militante Rohkostschnipplerin? Eine Rabenmutter, die ihr Baby im Autositz vergisst? Werde ich alles falsch machen? Oder nur fast alles? «Unter dem Herzen» ist aufrichtig, lustig, bewegend, ein Reisebegleiter in die unglaubliche Realität von Eltern, Babys und Feuchttüchern, in der tatsächlich Sätze fallen wie: «Muttermund tut Wahrheit kund!» Ungelogen”. (Adapted from Amazon.de review).

unter haienUnter Haien : Roman / Nele Neuhaus.
“New York, 1998: Die junge Investmentbankerin Alex Sontheim ist durch harte Arbeit und Zielstrebigkeit dort angekommen, wo sie immer hinwollte: ganz oben. Als sie den milliardenschweren Geschäftsmann Sergio Vitali kennenlernt, beginnt eine heiße Affäre. Alex genießt es, am Leben der wirklich Mächtigen teilzuhaben und gibt zunächst nichts auf die Stimmen, die sie vor Vitali warnen. Doch dann bringt eine ungeheuerliche Entdeckung Alex in tödliche Gefahr”. (Adapted from Amazon.de review).

die auswalDie Auswahl : Roman / Ally Condie ; aus dem Amerikanischen von Stefanie Schäfer.
“In search of a better life, Cassia joins a widespread rebellion against Society, where she is tasked with finding a cure to the threat of survival and must choose between Xander and Ky”– Provided by publisher.
The uprising begins so quickly in the finale of Condie’s Matched trilogy that Cassia, Ky, and Xander barely have enough time to register what is happening. Ky is still in the outer provinces, flying planes and waiting for orders. Cassia is now in the heart of the society, working as a sorter in Central and looking for clues that covertly signal the start of the rebellion. Xander works as a medical official and notes the beginnings of an outbreak: the plague that’s been engineered by the leader of the Rising, the Pilot, which only the Pilot himself can cure. In this powerful series send-off, Condie ignites a race against the clock to find a cure and, along the way, tests the beliefs of her weary protagonists and studies the moral implications of biological warfare. Even through trials, the love triangle between Cassia, Ky, and Xander remains fiercely romantic, poignant, and heartrending. There is an expected happy ending tucked neatly into the aftermath, sure to gladden fans eagerly anticipating this thought-provoking climax.–Jones, Courtney Copyright 2010 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.

DVD’s

Syndetics book coverHell [videorecording].
“Once the source of life, light and warmth, the sun has now turned the entire world into a baked and barren wasteland. Forests are scorched. Animal carcasses line the roads. Even the nights are dazzlingly bright. Maria, her little sister Leonie, and Philip are heading for the mountains in seach of rumoured water. Along the way they meet the mysterioius Tom, who proves indispensible, but will be betray them at the next opportunity? As the tension grows, their paths cross with a new group of people and now their real battle for survival begins”–Container.

3 [videorecording] / a film by Tom Tykwer.
“Hanna and Simon, a couple in their early forties, live together in Berlin. With their 20th anniversary looming, they both become restless despite being truly and deeply in love. Unbeknownst to one another, they separately become acquainted with Adam, a younger man, and fall in love with him. Clearly not your typical 1930’s romp, this reinvention of those classic films … is a playful update: an intellectual study of a modern couple looking for redefinition in a world of absolutes”–Container.

Re-visiting the Past

This month we have interesting new history books for you to borrow:

Syndetics book coverRomantic revolutionary / Robert Harvey.
“Simon Bolivar was the archetypal romantic revolutionary. Born into privilege and nurtured in the Rousseau’s philosophy of the Homme Sauvage, it was not until the young colonial visited Europe that the taper of revolution was lit that sent the young man on a death-defying quest to fight for the people of his homeland, and eventually liberate the whole of continental South America.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBehind the palace doors : five centuries of sex, adventure, vice, treachery, and folly from royal Britain / Michael Farquhar.
“From the truth behind the supposed madness of King George to Queen Victoria’s surprisingly daring taste in sculpture, Behind the Palace Doors ventures beyond the rumors to tell the unvarnished history of Britain’s monarchs, highlighting the unique mix of tragedy, comedy, romance, heroism, and incompetence that has made the British throne a seat of such unparalleled fascination.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRed heat : conspiracy, murder, and the Cold War in the Caribbean / Alex von Tunzelmann.
“America’s secret war in the Caribbean during the Cold War is revealed as never before in this riveting story of the machinations and blunders of superpowers.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverExorcising Hitler : the occupation and denazification of Germany / Frederick Taylor.
“In Exorcising Hitler, Frederick Taylor tells the story of Germany’s year zero and what came after. As he describes the final Allied campaign, the hunting down of the Nazi resistance, the vast displacement of peoples in central and eastern Europe, the attitudes of the conquerors, the competition between Soviet Russia and the West, the hunger and near starvation of a once proud people, the initially naive attempt at expunging Nazism from all aspects of German life and the later more pragmatic approach, we begin to understand that despite almost total destruction, a combination of conservatism, enterprise and pragmatism in relation to former Nazis enabled the economic miracle of the 1950s.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverYoung Henry : the rise to power of Henry VIII / Robert Hutchinson.
“Henry VIII always had problems with women. Born on 28 June 1491, he lived in the shadow of his elder brother Arthur and his dour and autocratic father, Henry VII. Elizabeth of York, Henry’s mother, died when he was twelve and thereafter he lived under the thumb of his formidable grandmother, Lady Margaret Beaufort, who beneath a pious exterior was the arch-conspirator of the last days of the Wars of the Roses. Everything changed when Arthur died of tuberculosis at Ludlow Castle in 1502, less than six months after his marriage to the Spanish princess, Catherine of Aragon.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGoodbye Sarajevo : a true story of courage, love and survival / Atka Reid & Hana Schofield.
“May, 1992. Hana is twelve years old when she is put on one of the last UN evacuation buses fleeing the besieged city of Sarajevo. Her twenty-one-year-old sister, Atka, staying behind to look after their five younger siblings, is there to say goodbye. Thinking that they will be apart for only a few weeks, they make a promise to each other to be brave. But as the Bosnian war escalates and months go by without contact, their promise to each other becomes deeply significant.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWolfram : the boy who went to war / Giles Milton.
“Wolfram Aïchele was nine years old when Hitler came to power: his formative years were spent in the shadow of the Third Reich. He and his parents – free-thinking artists – were to have first hand experience of living under one of the most brutal regimes in history. Wolfram: The Boy Who Went to War overturns all the clichés about life under Hitler. It is a powerful story of warfare and human survival and a reminder that civilians on all sides suffered the consequences of Hitler’s war. It is also an eloquent testimony to the fact that even in times of exceptional darkness there remains a brilliant spark of humanity that can never be totally extinguished.” (amazon.co.uk summary)