Our research

Critical Editions of the Memoirs of Frieda Zieschank and Frida Peemüller, German Samoa, 1906-1920

Prof. Bade and Dr Perry have publishing contracts with Peter Lang International Academic Publishers, Berlin, for two critical editions to do with German Samoa – annotated English translations and transcriptions of Frieda Zieschank’s memoirs of her time in German Samoa from 1906 to 1916, and Frida Peemüller’s memoirs of her time in German Samoa from 1910 to 1920.

Frieda Zieschank’s memoirs cover the crucial period of German administration of Samoa, the occupation by New Zealand troops, the arrival of the German navy, the internment of the German Governor and his staff, and the setting up of the New Zealand administration. Her memoirs are full of fascinating details and opinions on Samoan culture, day-to-day life in Samoa, the German community in Samoa and their interaction with others, the Samoan social strata, and the standing of the religious denominations in Samoa.

Frida Peemüller’s memoirs give a unique insight into what was happening in German Samoa before and during the New Zealand occupation, and in Germany as well at the outbreak of war, as she had returned to Germany in 1914 and was one of the very few Germans whom the New Zealand authorities permitted to re-enter Samoa.

Both memoirs have implications for so many research areas, from philately to epidemiology. Frida Peemüller’s account of the New Zealand administration's response to the influenza epidemic in Samoa, for example, raises questions which resonate down to the present day. Both Dr Perry and Prof. Bade have spent a considerable amount of time following up material in the Alexander Turnbull Library, Archives New Zealand and the National Library for the annotations and introductions, and for the initial stages of the projects they received valuable help from senior research students who assisted with some sections of the memoirs as part of their supervised research courses at the University of Auckland and the University of Canterbury. Frida Peemüller’s Memoirs of German Samoa 1910-1920, edited by Prof. Bade, was published by Peter Lang Publishing, Berlin, in 2022, as Volume 17 of the Research Centre's Germanica Pacifica series, and the Frieda Zieschank critical edition will follow.

The German Connection with Tonga

Prof. Bade has written extensively on the German connection with Tonga. Apart from numerous articles and book chapters, he compiled the book Germans in Tonga (Germanica Pacifica vol. 13, Peter Lang Edition, Frankfurt 2014, ISBN 978-3-653-04220-7), which was launched in Nuku’alofa at a press conference chaired by the Tongan Minister of Internal Affairs, Lord Vaea, on 19 June 2014. The book incorporated the findings from the “Germans in Tonga” database, which was available for a number of years on the Research Centre web site. In his review in the 2017 Jahrbuch für Europäische Überseegeschichte, Prof. Hermann Hiery (University of Bayreuth) wrote of the book that it “belongs in every library, public or private, that specialises in the Pacific.”

As an authority on Tonga, Prof. Bade was invited to present a paper on the Tongan monarchy at the “Monarchy in the Age of Empire” conference held at Flinders University in Adelaide on 23-24 July 2019. The conference was organised by Prof. Matthew Fitzpatrick, Professor of International History at Flinders University. Prof. Bade’s paper was on the role of Tonga’s constitutional monarchy in preserving Tonga’s independence during the European Colonial Era in the Pacific and the contribution of the 1875 Treaty of Friendship with Germany to the recognition by European powers of the sovereignty and independence of Tonga in the nineteenth century. After the conference, Prof. Bade was invited to submit an expanded version of his paper, which appeared in May 2021 as “The Role of Tonga’s Constitutional Monarchy in Preserving Tonga’s Independence during the European Colonial Era in the Pacific” in a special edition of History Australia, the journal of the Australian History Association, DOI: 10.1080/14490854.2021.1918009

The Role and Contribution of German Parliamentarian Ludwig Haas and his Connection to New Zealand

Prof. Bade is a member of a collaborative research team which has been investigating the role and contribution of Ludwig Haas (German Democratic Party) to German politics during the First World War and the Weimar Republic. There is an important New Zealand connection here, as Ludwig Haas’ son, Karl Haas, came to New Zealand as a German Jewish refugee. Karl’s son Anthony met with Prof. Bade and representatives of the German Commission for the History of Parliamentarism and Political Parties in Berlin in August 2014 and decided to make the material available to German researchers. It is now held at the Jüdisches Museum, Berlin.

The German volume which emerged from this research, Ludwig Haas: Ein deutscher Jude und Kämpfer für die Demokratie, edited by Ewald Grothe, Audrey Pomerance, and Andreas Schulz, published by the Droste Verlag in Düsseldorf in 2017, included a chapter by Prof. Bade, “Deutsche Einwanderung und Kultur in Neuseeland”. In the English language edition, Ludwig Haas: German Jew and Fighter for Democracy, edited by Rob Laking and published by Decisionmaker/Kaiwhakatau in 2020, the English version of his chapter appeared under the title “German Immigration and Culture in New Zealand”. Ludwig Haas: German Jew and Fighter for Democracy was launched at the Holocaust Centre of New Zealand in Wellington on 19 November 2020. It is dedicated to the memory of Anthony Haas, who in many ways, spearheaded the project.

Correspondence of Günther Niethammer with F.-C. Kinsky

Dr Braund is currently editing the six-year-long correspondence between the eminent German ornithologist Günther Niethammer (1908-1974) and Friedrich-Carl (Fred) Kinsky (1911-1999), first Curator of Birds at the then Dominion Museum in Wellington, nowadays known as the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Pursuing a long-standing research interest into how exotic species adapt to new habitats, Niethammer visited New Zealand over the summer of 1967-1968 and came away with a wealth of material and impressions that later enabled both him and his son Jochen, the latter a noted zoologist in his own right, to publish a series of articles on New Zealand’s introduced birds and mammals.

Aside from its obvious interest for students of ecology, Niethammer’s correspondence with Kinsky provides a revealing insight into institutional collaboration between Germany and New Zealand in the post-war period and, in particular, into how local government departments functioned prior to the neoliberal economic reforms of the 1980s and 1990s.