Pataka Museum is about to open another exciting show on 13 November 2011. The exhibition, called Germany and Samoa – Old Ties and New Relationships, investigates the impact and legacy of the profoundly significant historical relationship between Germany and Samoa from 1900 – 1914. The exhibition will feature photos, artefacts, and information collected and curated by Professor Hermann Hiery, a leading expert on the colonial era in the Pacific. It is co-curated by Helen Kedgley at Pataka, and this is the first ever exhibition of its kind in the world. The exhibition will run alongside a showcase of paintings and sculptures by renowned Pacific artist Michael Tuffery.
Part of Germany and Samoa – Old Ties and New Relationships, will be several significant objects from Te Papa.
This sextant (navigational instrument), for example, was made in 1917 by German merchant marine cadet, Walter von Zatorski. At the time, he was interned as a prisoner of war on Motuihe Island in the Hauraki Gulf, about 11 kilometres northeast of Auckland. He had been captured when New Zealand forces took the Pacific Island of German Samoa (now the Independent State of Samoa) during World War I (1914 – 1918).
The sextant and its case are totally improvised. They were made using the fuel tank from a Primus stove and the brass hinges from a rudder that had washed ashore. The adjusting screw came from the handle of a safety razor. Von Zatorski ordered tools and solder through the camp canteen to assemble the instrument.
In December 1917, von Zatorski’s sextant was put to use when a party of prisoners, lead by Count Felix von Luckner (‘Sea Wolf’), escaped from Motuihe and captured the scow Moa. Using von Zatorski’s handmade instrument and a map copied from a school atlas, the men navigated an accurate course to the Kermadec Islands – around 1000 kilometres northeast of New Zealand – before they were recaptured.
You will be able to visit the exhibition at Pataka Museum until 19 February 2012.