Apia Radio (Samoa)

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

Wireless Station at Apia, c1916

Wireless Station at Apia, c1916. Skerman family album, Te Papa

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 operating desk at Apia Wireless Station, about the time it was seized by New Zealand

Operating desk at Apia Wireless Station, about the time it was seized by New Zealand forces in 1914. Click to enlarge.

The Telefunken wireless station at Apia, Samoa. Date unknown, but presumably during World War 1 given the presence of tents.

Apia Wireless Station. Date unknown, but presumably during World War 1 given the presence of tents.

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:

PO Spry, Engineer
JL Davies, Assistant Engineer
EE Dunwoodie, Operator
JB Scott, Operator

The Telefunken wireless station at Apia, Samoa. Date unknown

The Telefunken wireless station at Apia, Samoa. Date unknown

New Zealand's latest railway: Members of the 3rd, Auckland Regiment at Apia, Samoa, and the petrol engine and light railway formerly used by the Germans in carrying material for the construction of the wireless station

“New Zealand’s latest railway: Members of the 3rd, Auckland Regiment at Apia, Samoa, and the petrol engine and light railway formerly used by the Germans in carrying material for the construction of the wireless station.” AJ Tattersall Photo, Auckland Weekly News, 19 Nov 1914. Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19141119-45-1