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The GuardiansThe League of Nations and the Crisis of Empire$
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Susan Pedersen

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199570485

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199570485.001.0001

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A Pacific People Says No

A Pacific People Says No

(p.169) Six A Pacific People Says No
The Guardians

Susan Pedersen

Oxford University Press

The most sustained protest against mandatory rule took place in one of the tiniest territories: Western Samoa. From the mid-twenties until the mid-thirties, virtually the whole of the Samoan population conducted a campaign of petitions and protests (known as the ‘Mau’ movement) aimed at ending the New Zealand mandate and winning self-government. This chapter explores Geneva's response, stressing how the antipathy of Frederick Lugard and others to racial mixing — and especially to Olaf Nelson, the mixed race leader of the Mau — inclined the Commission to condemn the movement and urge New Zealand to reestablish order. In 1929 New Zealand troops opened fire on unarmed demonstrators, killing Tupua Tamasese III, a prominent Mau leader, among others. Civil disobedience continued, discrediting the New Zealand government as well as the League; when a Labor Government won power, it ended Nelson's exile and recognized the legitimacy of the Mau's aspirations.

Keywords:   Samoa, Mau, Tamasese, Olaf Nelson, self-government, petition, New Zealand, race, mixed-race

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