Go to National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa
Volume 9, 1876
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Germany.

Germany is principally represented in the Pacific by the well-known firm of Messrs. Godefroy and Co., of Hamburg, who in 1858 established their head-quarters at Samoa. From Samoa they have “pushed their agencies southward into the Friendly Archipelago (Tonga) and other islands; northward, throughout the whole range of the Kingsmills and the isles in their neighbourhood, that is to say Tokelau, the Ellice, and Gilbert Groups, and the Marshalls or Rallicks, through the Carolines and to Yap, a great island at the entrance of the Luzon sea, where they purchased 3,000 acres of land, formed a settlement, and established a large depôt intended as an intermediate station between their trading posts at the Navigator Islands (Samoa) and their old-established agencies in China and Cochin. Between Samoa and Yap (one of the Pelew Islands), a distance of 3,000 miles, the firm have, or had lately, an agent at every productive island inhabited by the copper-colored race (Malay), upon which the natives are as yet sufficiently well disposed to permit a white man to reside.”*

The Germans make good settlers, although mere traders. It is doubtful whether they have added much to the colonization of the Pacific. They barter a certain quantity of fire-arms, or so much calico, for an equivalent

[Footnote] * H. B. Sterndale.

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in cobra (dried cocoa-nut, from which the oil is extracted after its arrival in Hamburg). In order to obtain a monopoly of this material one of the principal instructions to their agents is to oppose the missionary. The minds of Polynesian chiefs are systematically poisoned against missionary teaching. If it were possible, German traders would keep the natives in their present savage state in order to profit by their labour. Of course, the missionary prevents this. The result of German opposition to missionary teaching even in Samoa is lamentable, civil war amongst the native tribes being constant. The Germans fan the flames by supplying the belligerents with arms. In Fiji the German residents strongly supported Maafu in his opposition to King Thakambou, and the desire of the chiefs to cede the country to England. Had we not taken possession, Maafu, with German aid, would have been King of Fiji. The German settlement in Apia (Samoa) consists of some 25,000 acres of land, purchased at about ninepence per acre, and paid for by arms and ammunition. What this implies anyone acquainted with natives can easily understand. It is a pity that so enlightened a firm as Messrs. Godefroy should thus oppose the advance of civilization. A present profit may be made out of the civil war among the natives, but it will be of no advantage in the end, when Samoa becomes depopulated. As to the missionary, Messrs. Godefroy should remember that had it not been for his teaching they would not now be established where they are, and also the fact that every year the missionary is opening up new fields for commerce. The Germans treat their labourers well, but are not very particular as to how they are obtained. A German man-of-war occasionally visits the Pacific in order to look after the interests of the colonists. German policy at the present time is not a colonizing policy, otherwise Samoa would long since have fallen under their flag. At any moment, however, Germany may take possession of the group.