Symposium: Shared histories, connected futures

This event explores the entangled relationships between Aotearoa New Zealand, Germany and Sāmoa through a series of talks by museum professionals, university scholars and artists.

Speakers: Charlie Klinge, Courtney Powell, Utufa’asili Sharon Roma, Dr Annika Sung, Leafa Wilson/Olga Krause, Dr Christine Winter, Taputukura Raea, Ulu Afaese, and Togialelei Dr Safua Akeli Amaama

Dates: 4–5 July 2024

Funding: Goethe-Institut New Zealand

Project Description: The island nation of Sāmoa is rich in natural resources and cultural heritage, but it also has a turbulent history of colonisation and occupation by foreign powers, primarily New Zealand and Germany. Following the Tripartite Convention in 1899, Sāmoa first became a German protectorate. The German administration, though making German an official language and introducing other European systems, sought to retain Sāmoan customs. At the start of World War One in 1914, New Zealand seized Sāmoa from Germany and governed it until its independence in 1962. During this time further regulations were imposed on Sāmoans, resulting in growing tensions and – at times violent – conflicts. These shared histories have had lasting effects on the relations between the three countries.

This symposium presents current and recent research projects that examine these interconnected relations through various platforms, including museum collections and exhibitions, university research, and the arts. While a lot of this research is focused on the past, we also seek to explore what the future could look like for these relationships.

Primary Outputs: seminar presentations, journal articles, research collaborations

Contact: If you would like to get in touch regarding potential collaborations, send an email to for more information.

Issued ten pfennig German stamp overprinted with 'Samoa', 1900, Germany, maker unknown. The New Zealand Post Museum Collection, Gift of New Zealand Post Ltd. 1992. Te Papa (PH002609)