Remembrance service at Auckland Cenotaph (© Auckland War Memorial Museum - Tāmaki Paenga Hira)

New Zealand marks centenary of occupying Samoa

Posted on on 02 September 2014
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New Zealand has held commemorations to mark the occupation of Samoa at the start of the First World War.

An expeditionary force of 1400 troops captured the German Pacific colony without a fight on August 29th 1914. It was New Zealand's first military action of the war.

The 100th anniversary of the operation was remembered with a service at Auckland Cenotaph, led by the Governor-General of New Zealand, Sir Jerry Mateparae, and the Samoan High Commissioner, Leasi Papali’i Tommy Scanlan.

Germany, the UK and Australia were also represented. 

In August 1914, Britain asked New Zealand to seize Samoa as a ‘great and urgent Imperial service’.

The aim was to neutralise a wireless station of use to the German Navy in the Pacific. 

Australian, British and French warships escorted the expeditionary force to the Samoan capital, Apia. The Germans offered no resistance when it landed.

Samoa was the second German colony to fall to the allies following the occupation of Togoland in West Africa on August 7th 1914.

Sources: New Zealand Culture Ministry WW100 programme; Wikipedia

Images © Auckland War Memorial Museum - Tāmaki Paenga Hira

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News