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Perspective of reporter Haas on Pousima Afeaki
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Andrew Afeaki arrives for education in NZ
Early Tongans at Victoria University of Wellington
King Dick, the British and Tonga
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Lifiting our game - 2003



Social Studies Level 7, Social Organisation:



King Dick, the British and Tonga

DecisionMaker sound:

Click here to listen to this oral archive

Andrew Afeaki says:
We obviously found out about that (New Zealand’s imperial ideas) a lot later. At the time New Zealand did not feature in the fears of annexation that Tonga might have had. Certainly at the turn of the 20th century, the early 1900s, the British Empire and its ability to take over places was very much in evidence, and Tongan fears would have been about that, not New Zealand. That was the consciousness here. And of course we had the British Consul here, and the Treaty of Friendship, as it were, with England. But no, we would not have been worried about what New Zealand could or would have done here at the time.


Siu Ki Moana Exhibit says about New Zealand’s Focus on Trade with the Pacific Islands in the 1880s:

Julius Vogel, active in New Zealand politics in the 1870s and 80s, had an ambitious vision for New Zealand. According to the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, “he believed that New Zealand’s destiny lay in the Pacific, foreseeing a time when New Zealand would be the centre of a great Pacific empire, controlling the trade and defence of the region.”

In June of 1885, members of the Chamber of Commerce set up a ‘Pacific Islands Trade Reconnaissance Voyage’. A result of the effort, was the setting up of a scheduled monthly run through the islands by the Union Steamship Company, one which would allow the transport of goods as well as people across the south Pacific on a regular basis.

A year before that in an effort to boost New Zealand’s potential pre-eminence in the southwest Pacific, a group of New Zealand parliamentarians joined passengers on the maiden voyage of the SS Wairarapa’s ‘South Sea Excursion’ cruises through the Pacific Islands. On board the same steamer in 1884 was a Dunedin photographer, Alfred Burton. The name of his Dunedin-based firm, Burton Brothers, is found on many photographic portrayals of that journey.


Siu Ki Moana Exhibit says about Richard Seddon's surprise visit to Tonga:

The Kingdom of Tonga was not on the formal itinerary when Premier Richard Seddon visited some of the Pacific Islands in late May 1900. Support for the annexation of the Cook Islands and Niue was an objective of his visit, but this diplomatic journey also served as an excuse to take a break from his hectic political life at a time when he was suffering from ill health. Accompanied by some of his family and friends, Seddon set out from New Zealand in late May 1900 aboard the S.S. Tutanekai.

The voyage included Fiji (the seat of Britain’s Western Pacific High Commission), Savage Island (Niue) and the Cook Islands. Not far off the coast of New Zealand, heading for Fiji, the party met extremely rough weather – nearly everyone on board was seasick - and the ship’s Captain Crawshaw suggested that the passage could be eased by heading in a more easterly direction toward Tonga instead of driving directly toward Fiji.

Find out more from New Zealand's online encyclopedia

Next, Closeness of annexation



Source: Photo by Sears in 1900, in Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington

New Zealand Premier Richard John Seddon, and Mrs Seddon, with the Queen of Tonga, Lavina Veiongo, at the Royal Palace in Nuku'alofa. "King Dick" and his family took a cruise through the Pacific Islands for a "much needed rest". The Queen's daughter, Princess Salote, had just been born.


Andrew Afeaki revisited Wellington for the opening of the Siu Ki Moana exhibition on 19 November 2005, and is pictured here outside New Zealand's Parliament and the statue of former Prime Minister Richard John Seddon - "King Dick".

Source: Photo by Anthony Haas


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