The wireless station at Tafaigata, Samoa, 4-5 miles southwest of the capital Apia, began operation in 1913. The original callsign VMA changed to ZMA in 1927.
Approximate location of the wireless station
A Press Association report from Sydney on 7 August stated:
Island news states that the wireless station at Apia (Samoa) is expected to be working this month, and that the range will probably be 1200 miles.
The capture of German company Telefunken’s transmitter in the hills behind Apia was strategically important as it was capable of sending signals to Berlin and to the German fleet in the Pacific [during World War 1].
When New Zealand troops reached the wireless station [in 1914] it was found that some essential parts of the engines which drove the dynamo had been removed and some of the aerials tampered with. Preparations had also been made for the destruction of the wireless station using dynamite. The aerials were quickly repaired and communication restored by 30 August. (undated quote from Archives NZ)
The New Zealand Expeditionary Force sent to Samoa in 1914 included the following wireless men:
Sgt Major Ernest Dunwoodie appointed Commanding Officer.
Wireless communication on long waves between Awanui and Apia, Samoa, a distance of 1550 knots [sic], established shortly after the seizure of the Samoan group by the New Zealand Expeditionary Force on behalf of the Imperial Government on the outbreak of war, continues to be satisfactorily maintained.
– Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives: Post & Telegraph Department, 1916
Ernest Dunwoodie appointed Officer in Charge.
The proposed modernization of the radio-stations at Awanui (New Zealand) and Apia (Samoa) by the installation of continuous-wave transmitters in place of the present spark equipment is being held in abeyance pending possible developments in connection with the erection in New Zealand of a high-power station, which would probably incorporate the specific services at present performed by Radio Awanui…
In January last a direct-coupled semi-Diesel engine and charging generator were installed at Radio-Apia to replace the plant disabled by an accident in February, 1923.
A system of broadcasting meteorological forecasts and hurricane warnings throughout the Southern Pacific has been developed during the year by the Naval Department, and is now in operation. Radio-Apia receives meteorological reports daily from Tonga, Tahiti, Rarotonga, Fiji, Norfolk Island, New Hebrides, and New Zealand. These reports are correlated with the observations made at the Apia Observatory, and a forecast is broadcasted [sic] twice daily during the hurricane season, and once daily during the non-hurricane season.
– Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives: Post & Telegraph Department, 1924
Ernest Dunwoodie appointed Chief Postmaster and Superintendent of Radio.
Postmaster and Superintendent of Radio, Ernest Edward ‘Dun’ Dunwoodie retires.