An Account of Samoan History up to 1918
The Native Department under New Zealand Administration
The Native Department under New Zealand Administration.
On the outbreak of War in 1914, Colonel Logan took over the Governorship of Western Samoa and was confronted with a difficult task. He was in charge of Snemy territory and had to control British, German and Samoan residents under war-time conditions. The German population gave him the most concern and after he had formulated his plans concerning them he settled down to study the question of the control of the Samoans. Unfortunately there were but few British residents who were capable of honestly advising him and as it was out of the question to employ enemy subjects he had to make the best use of the material he had. A few German officials were retained in their positions to assist him and with these and men chosen from amongst the troops he essayed to carry on. Much criticism has been levelled at Colonel Logan for his administration of these Islands, but nost of it has come from either disgruntled citizens or individuals who were not conversant with the conditions that existed and who failed to realise that he was governing the territory under wartime conditions and with a hopelessly incompetent staff. Those who were capable of judging are unanimous in the opinion that he was a natural born leader of natives and the Samoans themselves admit that he was their ideal of an Administrator - prompt-firm and just, and one who respected their rights and privileges.
Colonel Logan has left it on record that as far as lay in his power he carried on the Native administration on the German lines, and clearly recognised that after 14 years the Germans understood the natives and their wants better than he did. Unfortunately he had not the officers to replace the trained German officials and those he selected, although they were sadly lacking in either knowledge or general adaptability, were the best available. I remember him once remarking to me that excepting the men in the Post Office and the Customs Department, there was not one man he could rely on in the whole of his Administrative staff. New Zealand could not send the right class of men as they were all required for the front.page break
Captain Tottenham was the first appointee in the Native Department and he held the position of Judge of the Native Court. He was followed by Captain Cotton who held the same position until 1918 when he was appointed Secretary for Native Affairs as well. During this time Colonel Logan followed the German Governor's plan and visited the Native Office at Mulinu'u twice weekly to meet any native or natives and discuss with them their problems. The records prove that he met with undoubted success and like the German Governors he impressed on the natives that his decisions and instructions were issued to be carried out promptly. He also made an annual tour of inspection round both Islands and on these journeys was well and courteously received by the natives in whom he had instilled a wholesome respect for himself.
Unfortunately the routine work of the Native Department and Native Court commenced to retrogress immediately after New Zealand took over, and this is accounted for by the lack of experience of those conducting the Department. Not one of the New Zealand officials understood either the language or the customs of the people they were governing and the inevitable result was that the natives began to foster schemes for misleading the white officials. Such schemes were not of a serious nature and applied mostly to childish acts that are usual amngst any primitive peoples. They had the effect, however, of weakening the Government's control over the people and of lessening their respect for authority. Misinterpretation by Native Government officials was common and this was deliberately done to favour certain parties. Much harm had been brought about before the deceit was discovered and the dismissal of the offendeis did not check the abuse.
The work of the Land and Titles Commission was continued, but with much less experienced men and the decisions in many cases did not find favour with the disputing parties. It was inevitable that lacking a knowledge of the natives and their language and customs the conduct and work of the Commission would be seriously hampered.page break
The Judge of the Land and Titles Commission was one Chas. Roberts whose reputation in the Pacific, especially in Samoa, was a very unsavoury one. He certainly had not the respect of the Samoans and al though his long reaidence in the Islands gave him a certain knozl edge of the customs of the country, his reputation more than offset any ability he possessed.
It is desired to pass lightly over any shortcomings that were evident in the Administration of the Native Department or of the country generally during the war years as it is recognised that conditions were abnormal and as there was no knowledge of the ultimate fate of Samoa it was evident that no permanent policy could be laid down that the Administrator could follow. The period followig on the coming of civil Administration concerns us more.
When in 1921 a Constitution was written for Samoa, it became evident that troubled times were ahead. The framers of this Constitution had failed to profit by the experience or teachings of che German Government, and the Constitution in its Clauses fairly screaned disaster. Very little, if any, cognisance was taken of the fact that a primitive people as were the Samoans must not and could not have foisted on to them at a minute's notice, a complacated European system that denied thier customs and desires: and “The Samoa Act” of 1921 was just this. Here again did the New Zealand Government fail to recognise that skilled advice given by those with a knowledge of the Samoans was absolutely necessary. They went blindly ahead and concocted a weird medly of European laws that could not be operative in Samoa; and the number of Ordinances and Orders in Council that have been subsequently passed are legion. They are also inoperative to the extent of 50%.
When Colonel Tate took over the civil administration of Samoa in 1921 he had associated with him as Secretary for Native Affairs Captain Cotton and this officer continued in charge until March, 1921 when he was superceded by Mr N.H. McDonald, a surveyor who had been in the Islands since the early nineties. Neither of these officials were conversant with the Samoan language although the latter had a better understanding of it than Captain Cotton and he nlsc had a sound knowledge of the geography of the country. He was page break married to a Samoan which ruined any chances he had of becoming a successfuh head of the Native Department. During the term of the two men mentioned, very little was done in the way of formulating a Native Policy and to put it bluntly, things just happened. Colonel Tate was aware that his term was drawing to a close and he made no effort to build up a native administration through the Native Department that would stand the test of time. He also lacked the requisite knowledge. The Samoans had for a considerable time been endeavouring to get representation in the goverment of themselves, such representation to be on a permanent footing and it was during Colonel Tate's administratorship that this was brought about. Unfortunately it was done in the way the Samoans least expected or desired. Their fono of Faipule to which were appointed 33 Faipule was given Statutory recognition but the method of exercising any say that the Faipule may have had was based on European ideas and had the effect of limiting instead of curtailing any representation after their own manner that they might have had. Those who were responsible for the drawing up of the law concerning this Fono had no conprehension of what the natives were demanding and consequently they missed the points of the natives desires. In effect, the Fono of Faipule as constituted resulted in less and less Samoan representation. Again we see the result of the lack of trained menthere was no one to advise either the Samoan Administration or the New Zealand Government and no one to advocate for the Samoans. The Administrator thought that he understood what the Samoans desired and they believed he did until they saw the results of their representations. This Fono of Faipule has probably caused more dissatisfaction and trouble than any other one factor in the Samoan Administration. Many attempts were also made to introduce laws based on New Zealand statutes which it was believed would facilitate the control of the Szamoans and when these laws and regulations were brought before the Fono of Faipule for ratification they were disappointed and attempted to explain their feelings. Finding this not possible they resorted to a well known habit of the people and acquiesced in the hope that at some future time they would be able to have the matter adjusted. The Samoan is a firm believer in the page break adage that time is a greatchanger of conditions.
General Richardson was appointed to succeed Colonel Tate in March, 1923 and his coming marked a radical change in both methods of administration and policies generally. It can be said that his administratorship of the territory brought to a head the dissatisfaction of the Samons with the control of New Zealand although it was not the sole cause nor the beginning of the trouble. For a time after his arrival he continued the practice of his predecessors and attended at Mulinu'u Native Office regularly to meet the natives and handle their various complaints and problems.. Mr Griffin was apnointed to be Secretary for Native Affairs in September, 1921, during the term of Colonel Tate but he had not much play for his abilities owing to the lack of interest of the then Administrator. Mr Griffin had been assiciated with the London Mission Society for thirty years and had a profound knowledge of the Samoan language and the customs of the people. He was an honest and untiring worker with probably a strong bias for the Missionary side of the native's welfare. In General Richardson he met a kindred spirit and very soon after the arrival of the latter man steps were taken to formulate a native policy that was by far the most comprehensive that had been attempted. It hao often been said that Griffin dictated the policy to the Administrator but there is no evidence that this is so and I personally know of many instances in which he was definitely and directly opposed to the desires of General Richardson. Again, it would have been very difficult for any person to have dictated any policy to the Administrator as he was by nature a head-strong man and had very little patience with any one who opposed his wishes. Griffin has also been accused of not soundly advising the Administrator but the same remarks would also apply to this question. General Richardson, shortly after his arrival, decided that he would work only through the Native Department and his instructions and actions were all directed with that object in view. He also decided that he could be approached only through the Native Office per medium of the Secretary for Native Affairs and he caeased to attend at Mulinu'u. The Samoans definitely and always wish to deal only with the “big” man and they were thus cut off from him except page break at special functions such as the Fono of Faipule and the annual malages. As matters of import had to be finally settled by the Administrator, this meant duplication and sometimes confusion and added to the growing unrest. With the exception of Mr Griffin there was still no European in the Native Department who could speak the language and the other whites employed through this lack of knowledge of times created serious difficulties for the Administration. General Richardson inaugurated endless schemes for the supposed uplifting of the Samoans, such as higher education, increased planting of foodstuffs and saleable products, technical schools, water supplies electric light for villages, etc., etc., all without due consideration of the desires or XE requirements of the Samoans. Many of these schemes were foisted on to the people despite their objections, and where sums of money were demanded for the services rendered, much heartburning was the result. All these activities were negotiated through the Native Department and the staff was increased continually without due thought to the class of men employed. New and numerous native officials were appointed without an understanding of the native social system and in an alarming number of instances the men appoint—ed were minor chiefs who immediately commenced to lord it over their villages and assume and exercise authority they did not possess. Some 80 odd men were appointed to be Native members of the Land and Titles Commission and had they been chosen for their standing in the country probably not ten per cent would have been allowed to attend. The result could have been and certainly was only confusion and distrust. The Fono of Faipule also was magnified into an enormously important body by the Administrator and brass hats and swords were the order of the day. The Administrator never failed to impress on the Faipule that they were the cream of the territory and were his direct representatives in their districts. He armed them with all sorts of power which they did not fail to exercise and unfailingly exceed. Many of the Faipule were unsuitable to fill the yosition and would not have been the choice of their people had they had a free hand. The appointments were not in accord with either Sanoan custom or ability and distrust, dislike, complaints and even oven revolt often followed. Many of the reports that we read in the page break newspaners were inspired and merely recorded the aspirations of the Administration and the echoed “ayes” of the Faipule. These men had by this time lost all individuality and could not, in any sense, be accepted as representing their people. Trips to New Zealand, free feants and continued drunming into their willing ears the statements that they were of paramount importance in the Government of the country had comnletely turned their heads and they vociferously agreed with any and all the suggestions made to them. The Samoans of all the Polynesian races in the Pacific have probably retained more of their customs and characteristics than any others and it soon became evident that the murmurings heard on every hand were a mild form of resentment against the endless innovations and laws thhat were being foisted on an unwilling people especially as owing to the Fono of Faipule and the many untrained Europeans in the service of the Government, they had liltle if any say in the management of their own affairs. It is a deplorable fact, that at this time particularly, there were not men who could and would udvise and even refuse to carry out the activities of the Administration that clearly were indicating trouble ahead. The Native Department was fully occupied handling the routin e work that seemed endless, and most of this work had to do with wonderful and new schemes that seemed to issue endlessly from the Government machine. Villages were indvced to enter into contracts for water schemes, model villages, electric lighting etc without an understanding by them of what the resronsibility meant in the way of cash payments. In many instances they found themselves saddled with obligations running into the thovsands and covering repayment over a long number of years. One of the first things leanred of the natives is that they have short memories and shorter enthusiasm or continuity of effort and it should have been most patent that they would be reluctant to continue honouring their obligations, or at least obligations thrust upon them. All these things were arranged through the Faipule and later on when they were taxed with having let their people down they replied what had they not agreed to the suggestions of the Administrator they would have been superoceeded by others and they did not wish page break to loose their positions. In fact they were merely figureheads with definitely dangerous powers. The Pulenu'u, Pulefaatoaga, and all other native officials acted in a similar manner and to the unlearned it certainly appeared that matters were operating in a highly satisfactory manner. Underneath it all there was a serious current of unrest and the majority of the Samoans, tired of hoping for an understanding of their wishes, began to operate in a typically native manner. Small gatherings took place at which current affairs were discussed and suggestions made for overcoming the detrimental influence of the native officials and the policy of the Administration generally. These murmurings were aided and abetted by the higher chiefs and orators who had been overlooked in the lists of appointments and back of it all was the doubtful influence of the Tumua and Pule. The advent of the Europeans and halfcastes into the dispute was a matter entirely different and apart from the native discontent and the European element wielded its inrluence with the natives for its own ends. They thoroughly understood that they had a powerful weapon in the Natives to fight against the Government for their own ends. The natives were only too willing to fall in with the European malcontents but for a different reason. Thex history of events since the present dispute tocame pronounced is too well known to need further explanation.
Several visits have been paid by Native Officials to New Zealand since the coming into force of Civil Government in Samoa, and these officials have endeavoured to explain after their own fashion what was wrong with the New Zealand system of administration. Unfortunately they were not understood and a European interpmetation placed on their observations.
Early in 1927 Mr Griffin, Secretary for Native Affairs died and he was succeeded by the Rev. F.G. Lewis, who was a missionary in the services of the Methodist Mission in Samoa. This gentleman was possessed of a sound knowledge of the Samoan language and had a real sympathy with the people; but unfortunately he lacked the force of character to carry any weight with the Administrator and merely was his mouthpiece when required. He knew page break the cause of the trouble and had a sound nolicy for righting the trouble; but he could not bring himself to insist upon it being either presented or put into operation and he just allowed matters to drift. The native staff by this time had been saily depleted of the better men both native and European and the number of the former class who remained were natives of little consequence and they could not command the respect of those who attended at the Native office. Mr Lewis went so far as to repeatedly call the attention of the authorities to the necessity of having a staff of tmained officials, particularly Europeans, and although all sorts of schemes were drawn up to bring these plans into dperation, nothing came of them and after 16 years of New Zealand administration it was still common knowledge that there was not one man in the service of the Administration who could speak the Samoan language excepting Mr Lewis. (Europeans referred to.) Conditions during General Richardson's regime were not improved by the conduct of several European officials and he was particularly unfortunate in having several sexual cases of a bad nature arise within a short period. The Resident Commissioner of Savai'i shot hinself as a result of being discovered committing grossly indecent sexual offences with native boys, and two others in other positions were quilty of the same offence.
During Mr Lewis's term as Secretary for Native Affairs the political situation in the country became worse and he was unfortunately not able to influence the Administrator. Ultimately in April, 1928, General Richardson departed and he was succeeded by Colonel S.S. Allen. Although this gentleman was a military mar. he exhibited little if any of the characteristics usually associated with men of his rank and his deamearour was that of a particularly quiet scholar. He was an educated man and when one came to know him it was realsied that a calm exterior his an iron will which sometimes lead him into acts of pigheadedness. He had a very poor opinion of the ability of his staff and his sarcastic references to education left no doubt as to his thoughts on the subject. It is reasonable to suggest that he took and held the post of page break Administrator solely because he considered that as he had been asked to do so by the Government of his country it was his duty to meet the call. He very quickly summed up the position and on reporting the result of his findings to New Zealand the Government in Wellington sent send dovm a Commission of Enquiry and this Commission reported most adversely on conditions so far as the Administration of the territory by General Richardson was concerned.
Colonel Allen reinstituted the system of the Administrator attending at the Native Office once a week to meet the natives, possibly because he approved of the German method of doing so and also because he had not a great deal of faith in the ability of the then Secretary for Native Affairs. His attendance would also have the effect of re-establishing the confidence of the natives who could once again meet directly with the head of their Government. His action resulted in a much greater attendance at the Hative Office of natives on all matters and as Colonel Allen had grasped the fact that definite and clear answers were the essence of success with the Samoans, he managed to handle them well. It was obvious from listening to his remarks to them and also his rarely expressed opinion, that he had a very poor estimate of the Samoans and I should not be surprised if he did not believe that thay were a decadent race which one would sometimes think the case from the abnormal size of the female element.
Colonel Allen decided that as the Faipule were a source of annoyance and distrust in the country, that he would suspend them and also the Faamasino or Native Judges. This intention he advised the natives of In March, 1928 and the officials did not receive it kindly. One or two made sarcastic remarks but on the whole they accepted the position as being not possible of alteration and many of them leaned further towards the Mau. It is quite definite that this action was warranted but a splendid opportunity to institute the fono on the national lines of the country was lost and although the people had got rid of the Faipule Fono which they detested, they still had no more say in their affairs than before. page break It is quite possible that had Colonel Allen decided to formulate a policy to take the place of the one he was dsicarding and such a policy was in conformity with the aspirations of the people he would have been able to bring the Samoans together again and imbue them with the belief that he was endeavouring to govern the country with their social system as a basis. However, he did not do so, and the people were driven farther away.
The Samoans have been complaining for many years that there were too many laws in the country and certainly during General Richardson's regime he introduced an enormous number of Ordinances and endless by laws. The latter laws were like a red rag to a bull and were merely suggestions introduced by the Fono of Faipule and endorsed by the Administrator when they became laws. The people in many instances did not even know that the matters that had become law had been discussed either by their Faipule at the Fono or or by their own villages and districts. It was inevitable that many of them ran contrary to both Samoan custom and wishes and when a booklet was issued setting out all the laws that a Samoan had to observe the people viewed the publivation as a fearsome thing which deprived them of all freedom. There was a law governing their every act from building a house to playing cricket and going to church. Colonel Allen certainly did not make any attempt to enforce these laws but he would have earned the thanks of the people had he made it clearly known that he had repealed them all.
From 1927 onwards the regular issue of the Native newspaper, the Savali began to lag and instead of coming out every month a period as long as three and even four months elapsed between isaues. Even then it was full of threats and new laws that had no interest for the people and utterly failed to fulfil the purpose for which it was originally instituted.
The native staff also began to decrease in usefulness owing to the resignation of some of the more useful and capable men who had been in the Department from the German times. It ultimately arrived at the stage when there was only one capable man Tu'u'u in the office and he was becoming very tired of the futility of it all. The European staff also was weakened by the page break departure of one official who had been in the service for anumber of years and who was well acquainted with the natives and the country. He was replaced by a man over forty years of age who knew absolutely nothing of and cared less for the Samoans. The only result of his coming to the Department was to further annoy the natives. He was replaced by a youth from New Zealand who also was so impossible that he was sent back to Wellinston by the return boat. Following this man three others have been appointed in rotation during the past two years and none of them are left. No one with even a slight understanding of the country and the people would have chosen one of the men who have been sent down to the Native Department in the last five years. Always they are either unsuitably physically, or mentally and not one of them has had the slightest interest in the work beyond drawing his salary and doing as little as possible. Not one has made any attempt to learn the language or study the customs of the people - and so it goes on. In the meantime the position is becoming worse confounded and the natives seek the assistance of the Native Department less and less.
In 1930 Tu'u'u the interpreter resigned. He was a Samoan of exceptional ability and was trusted by all. He had served the Government for 19 years and was a mine of information and wholly reliable. He resigned for two reasons - one was that he was grossly underpaid and the other was that he had become convinced that the Native Department as constituted and the Government generally would never do anything but make a mess of its job and he declined any longer to associate with a Government whose actions were not for the welfare of his people.page break
From the commencement of the Civil Administration of Samoa in 1921, the position of Resident Commissioner of Savai'1, the second Island under New Zealand control, was brought more under the supervision of the Secretary for Native Affairs. Previous to this it had been more directly under the supervision of the Administrator. The laxity manifested and the growing weakness in the control and management of the office of Secretary for Native Affairs was also reflected in the position of Resident Commissioner of savai'1. Any shortoomings were exaggerated by the fact that the men chosen for the Savai'i position were in all respects entirely unfitted for the position. The first man appointed committed suicide when he was caught commiting buggery; the second was relieved of his position for incapacity; the third for the same reason in a more pronounced manner and the fourth was not better than his predecessors. Not one could speak the language nor understood the customs, aspirations or requirements of the natives. All consciously and unconsciously acted in a manner that could have but one result - the lowering of the prestige of the Government and the European in the eyes of the Samoans. The present holder of the position came to Samoa in 1928 as one of the hurriedly chosen Nilitary Police. previous to this he had been employed in labouring work in New Zealand. He too has no interest in his work and one wonders how he came to be appointed to the position.
Mr Lawis resigned from the position of Secretary for Native Affairs on the 6th of March, 1931, and he was replaced by Mr W. MoBride, Assistant Registrar of Lands from Christohurch. New Zealand. This gentleman was 36 years of age and had passed his legal examinations. He had no knowledge whatever of the position to which he had been appointed and had had no tropical experience or experience of native peoples. He was constitutionally unsuited for the Tropics and mentally of the type that relies on red tape and rules for the conduct of his office. Within three months of his taking over his new office he fell ill and was absent from duty for the page break best part of two months. His anxiety to fill the role of Secretary of the Native Department and his fear of criticism due to his lack of knowledge of the work caused him to attemp to overthrow all that had been' built up by his predecessors and to rely on his training in the Lands Department in New Zealand. He did not seek advice of those who had some experience and his whole demeanour was that of one who already knew all that there was to be learned of the work. Those who could have assisted him felt slighted and the native staff quickly summed up the position. A month or so subsequent to MoBride taking over the position, General Hart arrived to replace Colonel Allen who retired having served three years. Colonel Allen's task was a hopeless one as all authority had been delegated to a few clerks in Wellington since his arrival in 1928 and he felt that it was futile attempting to carry on. His farewell was as good as could be expected considering the political state of the territory and it can be truthfully said that his interest in the natives and his desire to see a capable service operating were based on a keen sense of duty. He may not have been popular in certain directions but he was at least a gentleman and gentlemen have been as scarce as hen's teeth in Samoa since 1914. The reception to General Hart was a poor one and the arrangements made by the Native Department were sadly lacking. McBride, the now secretary was at his wits end as to what should be done and any advice he sought was from those as lgnoarant of the matter as himself. The usual meaningless phrases were uttered at this reception and General Hart had evidently been advised that honeyed words and proverbial sayings were the open sesame to the hearts of the Samoans. The only participants at the reception were native officials and a few stragglers who came out of curiosity. To a new arrival the function appeared to be a successful one; but to those who understood, it was a pitiful affair. General Hart soon discovered after settling down that the Secretary for Native Affairs and the other Executive Officers in the Administration knew very little more than he did of the people and the one man on whom he should have been able to rely, the aforesaid Secretary for Native Affairs, could offer him no advice. It was soon evident that the new Administrator had little liking for the job, nor was he the type who was prepared to knuckle down and understand the people. Admittedly he was pleasant and kindly disposed, page break and he sought to get in touch with the leaders of the malcontents. The people, however, had summed him up and quickly realised that not only did he not understand them, but that he had no authority to decide weighty matters. General Hart continued to attend at Mulinu'u. at the office of the Native Department, on Wednesday mornings to hear the troubles of the Samoans, but it became increasingly evident that the natives had lost faith in the Administrator and only those who had minor complaints such as worries concerning pigs and bananas put in appearance. The Secretary for Native Affairs was also a Commissioner of the High Court but from the commencement of his control he evidenced a marked dislike of hearing Court Cases. Possibly he feared the criticism of Nelson and the newspaper the Samoan Guardian, The Chief Judge, J.H. Luxford, who was an inordinately conceited man and considered that his position as Chief Justice of the Territory was rendered less dignified when Commissioners of the Court heard cases at the Native Office, constantly endeavoured to belittle the work of the Commissioners. He found that the Secretary for Native Affairs agreed with him but for a different reason and the result was that at the latter end of 1931, instructions were issued that all cases dealing with Samoans must be heard at the High Court. Thus was taken away from the Native Department one of its strongest and most efficient means of dealing with native matters. The Native Court had been long instituted and was respected by the Natives who realised that their troubles were decided and advised upon in conformity with native custom. The judicial side of the work of the Native Department also accounted for 50% of the total business done by this Department and the loss of this work besides seriously handicapping the efficincy of the Department, found several of the staff with little or nothing to do. The effect of this change may perhaps be better understood when it is explained that the number of Court cases heard each year averaged from 350 to 450. The appointment of the Commissioners was not abolished: they were merely instructed not to hear cases and when the Samoans attended at the Native Office to make complaints and to ask that their troubles be heard before the Court, they were referred to the Police Department or the High Court. They were bewildered and constantly asked why their own Court could not be utilised. page break The effect of referring native litigants to other departments was to drive them into seeking assistance from the legal fratenity who naturally were only concerned with their fees and who did not understand the natives or their complaints. In many cases that were heard before the High Court the Samoan sense of justice was outraged and decisions were given without any consideration whatever for Native-custom. Cases were adjudged on purely European grounds and it because increasingly evident that the Samoan could expect no justice from the Court in so far as his rights as a chief were concerned, Several attempts were attempt made by the orginasation known as the Mau to prevent the people from attending the European Courts. They even went so far us to fine anyone so doing and they quietly built up a judicial system of their own which they are still admistering. Just recently two parties who appeared before the Land and nitles Commission were fined for their action and the people were warned that they must not recognise the Europear. Court. Unquestionably this is wrong and should not be tolerated but it is a clear indication of the temper of the people and of their opinion of the Administration. The Native Judges had been abolished some time previously and although repeated requests had been made for their reinstatement the pleas had been ignored. The Samoans pointed out that their own judges understood them far better than any European did and were most unlikely to make decisions that did not conform to native custom.
Until this time it had been customary for all native officials to attend at the Native Office every quarter to receive their salaries. Advantage was taken of this gathering to examine into the work of the officials, to instruct them in their duties and to learn from them what was happening in their villages. This procedure had the effect of keeping the officials up to date and of convincing them that they were under constant supervision. For some badly conceived reason this system was abolished and the natives paid in their own villages. It consequence the rative Office does not see or hear of their officials from one years and to the other and the officials sensing that there is no control over them, take little if any interest in their work and a great number are not even in their villages or districts. As a result the value page break of all mative officials as officials is non existent. It is not an exaggeration to state that 90% of them are members of the Mau organisation and merely allow themselves to be called Government officials for the purpose of drawing their pay.
When the native judges were abolished they were replaced by seven District Officers who were appointed from the Military Police. These District Officers were for the purpose of enforming law and order in who various districts and were under dual control. They were supposed to take their instructions from the Sept. of Police on purely police matters and to be attached to the Mative Department and carry out the work of the suspended native officials. It is impossible to put a military uniform on a man and expect the natives to believe that he is not a soldier. The Samoans viewed the District officers as being soldiers who had been sent to their districts to annoy them and their value to the Mative Department was nil; in fact they were a serious handicap. They were, moreover, of a type that should not have been allowed to have any contact with the Samoans. All of them were taken from the ranks of the military police sent to Samoa in 1928 and onwards and the majority were morally unsound. Drunkenness, gambling, cohabiting with the native women and general stupidity characterised them all. At the moment this is being written two district officers who have come in from their districts are staggering about on the main road hopelessly drunk and making themselves objectionable. The Administration apparently taken not note of these happenings and a suggestion that the Native Department cannot function whilst such conduct is tolerated merely brings some inane evasion. Under such conditions did the Native Department carry on until the arrival of the Public Service Commissioner and the Secretary for External Affairs in July, 1933, Up to this time it was common knowledge in the country that the Native Department was functionless and this opinion was immediately brought to the ears of the Commissioner. Just prior to their arrival the Governor and the Secretary for Native Affairs had commenced their annual visit round the main Island. The first day away from Apia the Secretary for Native Affairs fall and returned to hospital. Whilst he was there, the Commissioner and Mr Berendsen paid a visit to the Native Office and asked for a plain statement of what the Department was doing. They page break got it, As a result, the European staff which numbered 6, was reduced to three, and the native Staff lost one man immediately and more are to follow. The Department is still overstaffed for it can be said without fear of contradiction that the total work performed by the Department could be comfortably handled by two Europeans and five natives provided they were men who could speak the language and had some interest in their work.
During the visit of the Cormissioner he insisted on the Secretary for Native Affairs being medically examined and as a result of this examination Mr KcBride was ordered back to New Zealand permanently. The public was advised that his return was necessitated by his illness but such a statement did not convince anyone. General unsuitability was the reason and his replacement had been decided upon before the Commissioner arrived in Samoa. He was replaced by Mr C. KcKay who had been in the territory for five or six years and had acted in the capacity of Assistant Secretary to the Administration. He has a workable knowledge of the native language, a keen interest in his work and good health. He should prove a much better Secretary than the last one but his influence will be lenssened because of his youth and his desire to please all parties. His type of diplomacy is such that people fear his judgments and he is a stickler for routine and red tape.
Such then is a brief history of the Native Department. From a splendid organistation, respected by the Samoans, it has developed into a Department that is scorned by the natives and ridiculed by the Europeans; it is functionless. The New Zealand Government and the Samoan Administration have not yet learned that there is no economy in endeavouring to make a department out of material that has not potentiality above that of a parrot. Plain common sense people find it comparativoly easy to detect where the trouble is, but highly paid myopic minds merely place their heads in sacks and hope for the best. The challenge of the times -yesteryears, today and the future is honesty, understanding and economy but there must be a revolution before this will be brought about in Samoa, and the signs are not favourable.