1914: Capture of Samoa

Taranaki Daily News, 3 September 1914, p 4


Those of the Samoa Islands which were by treaty ceded to Germany by Great Britain in 1899 have once more teen placed under British sovereignty. On Sunday morning last, the New Zealand Expeditionary Force took possession of Apia, which was surrendered without a blow being struck, and this practically means that what is known as German Samoa is now British territory. To New Zealand’s sons belongs the honor of capturing the first portion of German territory and annexing it to the Empire, and in all probability this coup will be followed by the capture of the whole of Germany’s possessions in the Pacific.

New Zealand is directly interested in Samoan trade, and there are a number of New Zealand traders and planters there. In addition to this, the islands are of considerable strategic importance to Australasia, and inland from Apia there is one of the most powerful wireless stations, so that as a link in the Imperial chain the possession of Samoa has become a practical necessity, and its capture all the more a source of gratification.

Although when the expedition left Wellington the greatest secrecy was observed as to its destination, yet it was rumored on very good grounds that its objective was Samoa. The press, however, very properly displayed a reticence that has been gracefully acknowledged by the authorities and now our boys will have the honor and duty of holding the prize for the Imperial Government.

Altogether, there are eight islands in the German group, the chief being Upolu (the seat of Government) and Savaii. Apia, where the contingent landed, is approached by a deep water channel through coral reefs, but the populated portion of the town is within the range of the guns of warships outside the reef, so that it will be necessary to keep a naval protective force in the vicinity, but this will not in any way weaken the North Sea fleet. The many congratulations which have been sent to the New Zealand Government on this important seizure of German possessions are very gratifying.

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