From left to right, Uili Fecteau, Hon Mr Fosi,
Hon Mr Fosi, holding a 1914 map of Europe written
in Samoan, and Chief Archivist Greg Goulding.
Finding out about their past history and particularly the years from 1900 to 1914 when Samoa was administered by Germany was the highlight of a 10-strong Samoan Parliamentary delegation visit to Archives New Zealand on 2 April.
Led by the Hon Laauli Leuatea Polataivao Fosi, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, the group were given an overview of the documentation held by Archives relevant to Samoa and dating from the present back to 1847.
Archivist, Uili Fecteau, said the group was most impressed by being able to see original documentation from the 14-year German administrative period.
“Little is known of that time, because after World War One, the files were largely neglected and they greatly appreciated being able to see this documentation, “he said.
“The box of archives contained a number of handwritten letters which are extremely valuable in terms of cultural memory. Written in English, Samoan and German the documents keep them in touch with their countries’ past and its relationship with Germany and New Zealand.
“They also appreciated seeing the documents in three formats – the paper originals, the microfilm and the scans. The next step in the process is making these documents available in digital format.”
Currently Archives New Zealand and the German Federal Archive are working on a project to digitise all the Samoan documents. With funding from the German Government the documents are digitised and there are plans to make the files available electronically for research in Samoa, New Zealand and Germany.
This year is the 50th anniversary of Samoa’s independence from New Zealand and the delegation called into Archives as a first stop to a week long visit here.
Samoa’s history has been captured on film and these can be viewed at the Archives New Zealand channel on YouTube.