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Kiwi occupation of German Samoa commemorated

Kiwi occupation of German Samoa commemorated 100 years ago tomorrow

The Kiwi occupation of German Samoa has inspired a New Zealander to lead a pilgrimage to Gallipoli and Turkey in time for the centenary in April 2015.


August 28, 2014.

The centenary of an event this week has inspired a pilgrimage to the other side of the world.

A Palmerston North man, in researching World War One, realised that so few New Zealanders know about the war where more armed servicemen were killed and wounded than in any other conflict since.

The event is the occupation of German Samoa on August 29, 1914, New Zealand’s first military action since war was declared earlier that month.
The British Government requested that New Zealand urgently seize the German wireless station near Apia which was defended by about 80 soldiers and a gunboat.

A 1,370-man force sailed on August 15 and landed at Apia a fortnight later. The German authorities offered no resistance and the occupation took place peacefully. German Samoa was only the second enemy territory to fall to British imperial forces, the first being the capture of Togoland in Africa four days earlier.

While German cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau were in the Pacific at the time, they realised that recapturing Samoa would have only been temporary before New Zealand sent a larger force, and instead sailed for Tahiti.

The soldiers occupied German Samoa until 1920 when New Zealand officially governed the islands until independence in 1962.

Sadly Samoa was the only New Zealand invasion during the First World War where no blood was shed.

Steve Parsons realised that, on the centenary of Great War, New Zealanders might want to retrace the steps of their ancestors who took part in the conflict and carnage overseas.

A family grandfather was a member of the Wellington Mounted Rifles who served at Gallipoli and Steve, a travel agent, started exploring the idea of organisation the official 100th commemorative tour of Gallipoli and Turkey in April 2015.

Together with the RSA national office, Stephen Parsons House of Travel has planned a nine day pilgrimage to Turkey and the Gallipoli Peninsula from April 19 to 27, 2015 which includes, for those successful in the government’s ballot, the Anzac Day dawn service at Anzac Cove and the New Zealand service at Chunuk Bair.

Since launching the tour nationally, Steve has received a hundred confirmations and anticipates another 40 when bookings close in October.

For the first time in our history New Zealand and Australian forces, while part of the British Empire, fought under their own flag Steve explains.

“Landing on the Gallipoli peninsula on April 25, 1915, the Anzacs, while initially feeling a sense of empire, developed the Anzac spirit which survives to this day,” he says.

“We’ll be participating in history as we commemorate the centenary of New Zealand becoming a nation and I wanted to be caught up in it because of family connections and use my experience to get people to where it happened.”

Together with researching the family connection to Gallipoli of people booked on the commemorative tour, Steve is also seeking the names of volunteers who occupied German Samoa so their service and sacrifice can also be acknowledged.


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