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Encyclopedia > Mau movement

The Mau movement was the name given to the popular nonviolent movement for Samoan independence from colonial rule. Mau means "opinion" or "testimony" in Samoan. Nonviolence (or non-violence), whether held as a moral philosophy or only employed as an action strategy, rejects the use of physical violence in efforts to attain social, economic or political change. ... This article is about a type of political territory. ...

The Mau had its origins, in 1908, in a dispute between the German colonial administration and the Maloa o Samoa, or Samoan Council of Chiefs, over the establishment of a copra business owned and controlled by native Samoans. Year 1908 (MCMVIII) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a leap year starting on Tuesday of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... Copra drying in the sun Copra is the dried meat, or kernel, of the coconut. ...

The dispute led to the formation of a resistance movement on the island of Savai'i by Lauaki Namulauulu Mamoe, one of the chiefs deposed by the German Governor of Samoa, Wilhelm Solf. As well as deposing members of the Malo o Samoa, Solf called in two German warships as a show of strength. Faced with this demonstration of military force, and with the movement divided, Lauaki surrendered, and resistance faded. Lauaki and the other senior leaders were exiled to the German colonies in the Marianas (North West Pacific) where they were to stay until 1914, when New Zealand took over Samoa as part of its Empire duties at the outbreak of World War One. One the ship back to Samoa in late 1914, Lauaki died. Samoa Savai’i, the “soul of Samoa”, is the larger of the two main islands in the state of Samoa. ... Wilhelm Solf was a German Governor of Samoa in the early 20th century. ...


Influenza epidemic

The Samoan independence movement would not gain strength again until after New Zealand forces, unopposed by the German rulers, annexed Western Samoa in 1914, at the beginning of World War I. Military rule continued after the war ended, and in 1919, some 7,500 Samoans, around 22 per cent of the population died during an influenza epidemic. It was already known that Samoans were susceptible to the smallest European diseases as they had never encountered them before. When the ship Talune arrived in Apia with its crew and passengers obviously sick with influenza, they were allowed to dock by the New Zealanders. The Independent State of Samoa (conventional long form) or Samoa (conventional short form) is a country comprising a group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean. ... Year 1914 (MCMXIV) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Wednesday of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... “The Great War ” redirects here. ... Year 1919 (MCMXIX) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar). ... Flu redirects here. ...

Two days later the first deaths were reported. No attempt was made by the New Zealand administrators to quell or contain the spread and after one week it had spread through the whole of Samoa. Whole families were killed, with such alarming speed that corpses lay around for weeks without being buried. They were either thrown in mass graves or left in houses which were torched. However, in American Samoa where quarantine precaution measures had been adequately taken there were no deaths. Upon learning of the current situation in Western Samoa the American Governor offered help to Colonel Logan who was in charge, Logan was British born and hated Americans. He destroyed the telegram and cut off any other contact to American Samoa. The Americans had a large medical team who could have saved many lives.

This catastrophic event was to lay a new foundation for discontent with an administration already perceived as incompetent and dishonest by many Samoans. The clumsy handling of Samoa's governance, the slow and deliberate erosion of traditional Samoan social structures by successive administrators and a general failure to understand and respect Samoan culture also sowed the seeds for a revitalised resistance to colonial rule. Logan was replaced by Colonel Robert Tate.

O.F. Nelson

Samoans of mixed parentage, facing discrimination from both cultures but with the advantage of cross-cultural knowledge, would play a key role in the new movement.

Olaf Frederick Nelson, one of the leaders of the new Mau movement, was a successful merchant of mixed Swedish and Samoan heritage. Olaf Nelson was the richest man in Samoa at the time and also well-travelled, Nelson was frustrated by the colonial administration's exclusion of native and part-Samoans from governance. Notably, he was one of many who had lost a child to the influenza epidemic of 1919 also his mother, sister, only brother, and sister in-law died. Although classified as a European he considered himelf Samoan "by birth blood and sentiment" Taisi Olaf frederick Nelsonalso known as Taisi Olaf b. ...

In 1926, Nelson visited Wellington to lobby the New Zealand government on the issue of increased self-rule. During his visit, the Minister for External Affairs, William Nosworthy, promised to visit Samoa to investigate. When Nosworthy postponed his trip, Nelson organised two public meetings in Apia, which were attended by hundreds, and The Samoan League, or O le Mau, was formed. For the first Duke of Wellington, see Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington. ... William Nosworthy (1867 - 1946) was a New Zealand politician. ...

O le Mau published a newspaper, the Samoa Guardian, as a mouthpiece for the movement. To demonstrate the extent of popular support for the Mau Nelson organised a sports meeting for movement members on the King's Birthday, in parallel with the official event, and held a well attended ball at his home on the same night. Movement members had also begun to engage in acts of noncooperation, neglecting the compulsory weekly search for the rhinocerous beetle, enemy of the coconut palm, thereby threatening the lucrative copra industry. Genera See text. ... For other uses, see Coconut (disambiguation). ...

In 1927, alarmed at the growing strength of the Mau, George Richardson, the administrator of Samoa, changed the law to allow the deportation of Europeans or part-Europeans charged with fomenting unrest. This action was presumably taken on the assumption that the growing movement was merely a product of self-interested Europeans agitating the native Samoans. Year 1927 (MCMXXVII) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...

In reality, however, the Mau was built upon the traditional forms of Samoan political organisation. In each village that joined the movement, a committee was formed, consisting of the chiefs and "talking men". These committees formed the basic element of an alternative system of governance, and the tendency of Samoans to unite under traditional leadership meant that by the mid to late 1920s, around eighty-five per cent of the Samoan population was involved in open resistance.

Following another visit to New Zealand to petition the Government, Nelson was exiled from Samoa along with two other part-European Mau leaders. The petition, which lead to the formation of a joint select committee to investigate the situation in Samoa, quoted an ancient Samoan proverb: "We are moved by love, but never driven by intimidation."

Civil disobedience

The Mau remained true to this sentiment, and despite the exile of Nelson, continued to use civil disobedience to oppose the New Zealand administration. They boycotted imported products, refused to pay taxes and formed their own "police force", picketing stores in Apia to prevent the payment of customs to the authorities. Village committees established by the administration ceased to meet and government officials were ignored when they went on tour. Births and deaths went unregistered. Coconuts went unharvested, and the banana plantations were neglected. For other uses, see Civil disobedience (disambiguation). ...

As the select committee was forced to admit, "a very substantial proportion of Samoans had joined the Mau, a number quite sufficient, if they determined to resist and thwart the activities of the Administration, to paralyse the functions of government."

Richardson sent a warship and a 70-strong force of marines to quell the largely non-violent resistance. 400 Mau members were arrested, but others responded by giving themselves up in such numbers that there were insufficient jail cells to detain them all, and the prisoners came and went as they pleased. One group of prisoners found themselves in a three-sided "cell" which faced the ocean, and were able to swim away to tend to their gardens and visit their families.

With his attempt at repression turning to ridicule, Richard offered pardons to all those arrested; however, arrestees demanded to be dealt with by the court, and then refused to enter pleas to demonstrate their rejection of the court's jurisdiction.

Black Saturday

The new administrator, Stephen Allen, replaced the marines with a special force of New Zealand police, and began to target the leaders of the movement. Tupua Tamasese Lealofi III, who had led the movement following the exile of Nelson, was arrested for non-payment of taxes and imprisoned for six months. On 28 December, 1929 – which would be know thereafter as "Black Saturday" –New Zealand military police fired upon a peaceful demonstration which had assembled to welcome home A.G. Smyth, a European movement leader returning to Samoa after a two year exile. Reports of the massacre are sketchy because the official cover-up for the incident was so effective. Tupua Tamasese Lealofi III had rushed to the front of the crowd and turned to face his people, he called for peace from them because some were throwing stones at the police. With his back to the police calling for peace he was shot in the back, another Samoan who rushed to help him was shot in both legs while cradling his head. Another who had attempted to shield his body from the bullets was shot. 2 more rushing to help were killed before they could reach him. Shooting stopped at around 6.30 am. 8 had died 3 would later die and about 50 were wounded. One policeman had also been killed from a single blow to his head. Among the wounded were terrified women and children who had fled to a market place for cover from New Zealand police firing from the verandah of the station, one of them wielding a Lewis machinegun. Stephen Allen (July 2, 1767 - July 28, 1852) was the Mayor of New York from for three terms from December 1821 through 1824[1] Under the new constitution the Mayor was appointed by the Common Council, as opposed to the governor, leading to Allen being the first elected Mayor. ...

As he lay dying, Tamesese III made this statement to his followers: "My blood has been spilt for Samoa. I am proud to give it. Do not dream of avenging it, as it was spilt in peace. If I die, peace must be maintained at any price."

Following the massacre, male Mau members fled to the mountains, the traditional retreat of those defeated in war. The resistance continued by other means, with the emergence of a women's Mau to continue the councils, parades and symbolic protests that the men now could not. For the women's movement, even the game of cricket represented an act of defiance inviting official harassment. This article is about the sport. ...

The day after his funeral his village was raided by New Zealand military police, they ransacked houses including those of the Tamasese's mourning widow and children. Colonel Allen requested reinforcements from New Zealand after he claimed 2000 Mau had caused a riot. On the 12th of January 1930 the Royal New Zealand Navy flagship Dunedin brought marines to hunt down members of The Mau. The Mau who were fully committed to Passive Resistance easily slipped through the jungle, the marines were slow because they were carrying too much weaponry and didn't know the bush like The Mau. The Mau no longer trusted New Zealand police, this fear only got worse after a 16 year old un-armed Samoan was shot and killed while running away from a marine, whose excuse he thought the boy was going to throw a stone was accepted as an adequate defence and no charges were laid.

A truce was declared on the 12th of March 1930, after another child was killed by New Zealand marines who were now suffering heat exhaustion and tropical infections. The male Mau members returned to their homes, on the condition that they retain their right to engage in non-cooperation. Meanwhile, Nelson and other exiled leaders continued to lobby the New Zealand Government and communicate their progress to the Mau. In 1931, news of the growing resistance to the British rule of India reached many Samoan villages. Year 1930 (MCMXXX) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display 1930 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1931 (MCMXXXI) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display full 1931 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...

Moving towards independence

The Mau movement had not gone unnoticed by the population of New Zealand, and the treatment of Samoans at the hands of the administration had become a contentious issue in some New Zealand electorates during the 1929 election. 1936 marked a turning point for Samoa, with the election of a Labour Government in New Zealand and the subsequent relaxation of repression by the Samoan administration. Under the new Government, there was slow movement towards greater involvement of Samoans in the administration of their own country. Year 1929 (MCMXXIX) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1936 (MCMXXXVI) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... The New Zealand Labour Party is a New Zealand political party. ...

When Western Samoa finally gained its independence in 1962, Tupua Tamasese Meaole, son of the Mau movement leader, became its first co-head of state with Malietoa Tanumafili II. It was to be 4 decades later in 2002 that Helen Clark, Prime Minister of New Zealand apologised for wrongs during New Zealand rule. Year 1962 (MCMLXII) was a common year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1962 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...

An American Samoa Mau

There was also an American Samoa Mau that took place in Tutuila in American Samoa in the 1920s. This movement received a lot of press in the United States, both favourable and unfavourable. The leader of the movement, Samuelu Ripley of Leone, Tutuila, was in effect exiled from American Samoa, when he was barred by the US Navy authorities from disembarking from a ship returning to Pagopago from California, and he was never allowed to return to his homeland. He eventually became the mayor of Richmond, California. The United States sent a committee to American Samoa in 1930, including US citizens from Hawai'i who had a prominent role in the overthrow of the Hawaiian kingdom and Queen Lili'uokalani. Their report, favourable to the US position, had a considerable influence on US policy, and the American Samoa Mau was totally suppressed by the US. Its influence however continued to be felt. Today American Samoa is on the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories. State nickname: The Aloha State Other U.S. States Capital Honolulu Largest city Honolulu Governor Linda Lingle Official languages Hawaiian and English Area 28,337 km² (43rd)  - Land 16,649 km²  - Water 11,672 km² (41. ... Princess Victoria Ka‘iulani, a member of the Kalakaua Dynasty, was in line to become Queen of Hawai‘i when her kingdom was overthrown by local American businessmen with the aid of the United States Marine Corps The Kingdom of Hawai‘i was established in 1810 upon the unification of... Liliuokalani, Queen of Hawaii (September 2, 1838 – November 11, 1917), originally named Lydia Kamakaeha, and Lydia Liliuokalani Paki. ... Map of the countries in the UN list:  current  former The United Nations maintains a list of territories that do not govern themselves. ...

The Mau (Hip Hop)

A Samoan hip hop group that was founded in 1990 by Kosmo, MC 'Khas the Fieldstyle Orator' and DJ Rockit V. The Mau was named for the Mau movement. The motto of the group became the same as the motto of the Mau movement; Samoa Mo Samoa, or Samoa for Samoans. The Mau has now reformed as the group Rough Opinion. The group still carries the message of the Mau movement as their theme. [1]

See also

  • History of Samoa

Chromograph map of Samoa - George Cram 1896 People from the Lau islands in Fiji and Tonga arrived to Samoa islands approximately 3500 years ago and from there settled most of Polynesia. ...

External links

  • ‘Guardians and Wards’ : (A study of the origins, causes, and the first two years of the Mau in Western Samoa.) by Albert Wendt

  Results from FactBites:
Mau movement - Biocrawler (1320 words)
The dispute led to the formation of a resistance movement on the island of Savai'i by Mamoe, one of the chiefs deposed by the German Governor of Samoa, Wilhelm Solf.
Movement members had also begun to engage in acts of noncooperation, neglecting the compulsory weekly search for the rhinosaurus beetle, enemy of the coconut palm, thereby threatening the lucrative copra industry.
The Mau movement had not gone unnoticed by the population of New Zealand, and the treatment of Samoans at the hands of the administration had become a contentious issue in some New Zealand electorates during the 1929 election.
The Mau Mau Movement (919 words)
As British troops fought the Mau Mau in the forests, the colonial government took strict measures against civilians.
Mau Mau made it perfectly clear that the Africans of Kenya knew their rights and were prepared to fight and die for them.
The Mau Mau War put an end to the hopes of white settlers for independence under the white minority rule.
  More results at FactBites »



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