The British flag is hoisted at the courthouse in Sāmoa's capital, Apia, August 30th 1914 (Courtesy of Archives New Zealand - Alfred James Tattersall - Ref: ACHK 16604, G49/10, R19162313)

'Entangled Islands' - New Zealand/Sāmoa WW1 exhibition displayed in Sāmoan capital

Posted on on 22 August 2015
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An exhibition exploring the shared First World War history of New Zealand and Sāmoa has opened at the Museum of Sāmoa.

It tells the story of New Zealand's occupation of the Pacific state, then a German colony, in the opening weeks of the Great War in 1914.

The exhibition has been gifted by Auckland War Memorial Museum and adapted for long-term display in the Sāmoan capital, Apia. 

'Entangled Islands: Sāmoa, New Zealand and the First World War was Auckland Museum’s first exhibition in a series commemorating the WW1 centenary. 

New Zealand’s initial action of 1914-18 is told using the 'many perspectives and experiences of those involved', says the Museum.

New Zealand troops captured Sāmoa at Britain's request, seizing a radio station of use to the German Navy in the Pacific Ocean.

The islands were taken without a fight on August 29th 1914, remaining under New Zealand administration until 1962 when Sāmoa gained independence.


'Entangled Islands' was originally developed by Auckland War Memorial Museum with Associate Professor Damon Salesa, a specialist in the Pacific islands and colonialism, at the University of Auckland.

Following its conclusion, the exhibition has been adapted for Sāmoa in partnership with the Museum of Sāmoa. 

Sāmoan language writers and translators, Muliagatele Vavao Fetui and Melegalenu’u Ah Sam, have translated a large part of the exhibition to Sāmoan.

Auckland Museum Director Roy Clare welcomed the opportunity to work collaboratively to share an important history.

He said: "This is the beginning of a special friendship between Auckland Museum and the Museum of Sāmoa, and we are privileged to be able to share this exhibition with the people of Sāmoa, helping to provide a richer understanding of our shared history."

'Entangled Islands' opened at the Museum of Sāmoa in Apia on August 3rd 2015 as part of New Zealand-Sāmoa Friendship Week. The project has had support and funding from the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Source: Auckland War Memorial Museum

Images courtesy of Archives New Zealand - Alfred James Tattersall 1866-1951 (Archives Ref: ACHK 16604, G49/10, R19162313)

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News