1914: Samoa surrenders

Hoisting the Union Jack at the Apia Court House in Samoa, 30 August 1914
Hoisting the Union Jack at the Apia Court House in Samoa, 30 August 1914. Photo: Te Papa

Taranaki Daily News, 1 September 1914, p 5


Extraordinary (Press Association). London, August 30.

It is officially announced from Apia that German Samoa has surrendered to the British.

Wellington, August 31.

His Excellency the Governor received information this morning that Apia had surrendered to the Royal Navy at l0 a.m. on August 29 (western time), and that the New Zealand expeditionary force landed unopposed in the afternoon.

The Defence Minister says the Imperial message, on which the advance New Zealand force was sent, was regarded as of considerable importance, especially because of the wireless installation on the island being of considerable value. The Minister expressed gratitude to the Press for keeping matters secret in the interests of the Empire.

Mr. Allen said that there were more than enough men for another contingent. It would be the country’s duty to keep the expeditionary force up to the standard.

Ashburton Guardian, 1 September 1914, p 5


“It must be very satisfactory to the whole of the people of New Zealand,” said the Prime Minister this evening, “that we have been able to take possession of the island with so very little trouble. Apart altogether from the area, which, is approximately 1000 square miles, and the fertility of the islands, Samoa is of very great strategical importance to both New Zealand and Australia. There is already a very powerful wireless station some distance inland from Apia, probably the most powerful in the Pacific, and we have reason to believe that it is still intact. Though we have secured it much more easily than we expected we have to hold Samoa,” Mr Massey added, “a strong force will be required to garrison the island for some considerable time to come.”

Auckland Star, 1 September 1914, p 6


(By Telegraph – Special to ‘Star’)


WELLINGTON this day.

One of the most important features of the seizure of Samoa is that it affords the British an absolutely necessary link in the Imperial chain of wireless stations, now almost complete in accordance with the scheme of Empire defence.

Near Apia there is a powerful wireless station, similar in power and range to the station at Pennant Hills, Sydney. One of the main difficulties in the round the world wireless scheme has been to make up the break between Honolulu and Sydney or Awanui, the broad expanse of the Pacific presenting a difficulty, which, however, now seems about to be solved.

Communication across the Atlantic from the station at Poldhu, in Cornwall, and the high power station on Canada’s Atlantic coast has been established. Thence the All Red wireless route was carried over land lines to the Pacific at Victoria (BC).

Then came the gap to Honolulu filled by the erection of one of the finest stations in the world on the Hawaiian Islands.

Then camp the long break to Sydney or to Auckland, the only station to carry on the work being at Suva. This is a low power station which under favourable conditions has done good work.

A low power station, however comparatively close to Australia and New Zealand, is not all that could be desired from an Imperial point of view, so the acquisition of the Samoan station, which will in all probability be converted with comparative ease into the necessary high power link in the chain, is of great importance to the Empire and New Zealanders might well feel proud of the part their soldiers have so early played in the war.

[Paragraph spacing added to improve readability]