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New Zealand Takes Charge

New Zealand Takes Charge

This was the relation of Samoa to Germany at the time of the outbreak of the Great War when the New Zealand Expeditionary Forces landed in the month of August. 1914. The Samoan Chiefs took no part in the military operations between the New Zealand forces and the Germans in Samoa. They were especially advised by Dr. Schultz that the Samoans were to keep aloof, as the trouble did not concern them. A few weeks afterwards, when ex-King Malietoa offered to raise men to assist the New Zealand Forces in Samoa, the Military Administrator, Colonel Logan, gracefully declined the offer on the grounds that the Samoans were not required to participate in the quarrel between Great Britain and Germany. The Samoans remain an independent nation with a Protectorate over them exercised by one of the Great Powers, instead I of by the Three Powers under the Berlin Treaty. It has since been stated by persons on behalf of the Mandatory that the Samoans are a subdued people, having been conquered in war, and that their nationhood has been lost. This has caused great offence to the Samoans. and the idea of subjugation by the New Zealand Forces is strongly resented by them.

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With the outbreak of the War in 1914 came the military occupation by the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, and the hoisting of the British flag, with Colonel Logan installed as military Administrator. During this phase there was not the slightest trouble with either the Europeans or Natives, who had been under the German flag for fourteen years. Many Samoan-born joined up for service with the Allies, and business proceeded as usual. It was most unfortunate that the celebration of the Armistice, in 1918, was immediately followed by a terrible epidemic of influenza, which devastated the population, and some 8000 Samoans perished. Although pneumonic influenza was raging in New Zealand, the New Zealand boat brought it from there without any warning. American Samoa, a few hours' steam away, remained free of the plague, and proffered medical assistance, which was so desperately needed by us. This offer was rejected by our authorities, and the awful visitation swept through Western Samoa unchecked.