The effects of Nationalist movements against Colonisation in the Pacific was immense and was at its peak from the beginning of the 1900’s towards the end of the century. It marked the end of Colonialism in the region and the rise of new nations self-governed by the native people. Thus, it was a sacrifice and a commitment made by our forefathers, with their lives at stake. Therefore, this paper will identify and discuss the causes and the effects of protest in the Pacific, using the Mau movement in Samoa and the Maasina Ruru in the Solomon Island as an example. Also several sources will be utilised to broaden and justify the validity of the arguments and facts given. This is because, of the complex issue of acquiring reliable information about the two movements.
Firstly, the Mau Movement in Samoa was an example of a prolonged and lengthy process of Nationalism in the Pacific. This is because it was an active movement widely endorsed by the natives to represent its voice in the government. However, the stereotype and arrogance of the New Zealand administrators at the time led to more disputes and catastrophic impacts. The Mau remained true to this sentiment, and despite the exile of Nelson, continued to use civil disobedience to oppose the New Zealand administration. They boycotted imported products, refused to pay taxes and formed their own "police force", picketing stores in Apia to prevent the payment of customs to the authorities. Village committees established by the administration ceased to meet and government officials were ignored when they went on tour. Births and deaths went unregistered. Coconuts went unharvested, and the banana plantations were neglected.As the select committee was forced to admit, "a very substantial proportion of Samoans had joined the Mau, a number quite sufficient, if they determined to resist and thwart the activities of the Administration, to paralyse the functions of government." Richardson sent a warship and a 70-strong force of marines to quell the largely non-violent resistance. 400 Mau members were arrested, but others responded by giving themselves up in such numbers that there were insufficient jail cells to detain them all, and the prisoners came and went as they pleased. One group of prisoners found themselves in a three-sided "cell" which faced the ocean, and were able to swim away to tend to their gardens and visit their families.With his attempt at repression turning to ridicule, Richard offered pardons to all those arrested; however, arrestees demanded to be dealt with by the court, and then refused to enter pleas to demonstrate their rejection of the court's jurisdiction. In Western Samoa, however, welfare-state thinking was far from acceptable; the European residents still believed in the principles of laisser-faire. The functions of government, so they claimed, should be limited: the Administration should not interfere in or compete with private business, or place restrictions on the individual. Prohibition was viewed, therefore, not only as a practical inconvenience but as an infringement on individual liberties. Education should be left as much as possible to private organisations such as the missions; the only function of government was to give financial aid to these organisations. Government expenditure should also be limited, severely. The imposition of new taxes and the reliance on loans were unnecessary burdens on the individual; eventual bankruptcy was the inevitable result of this fiscal policy. The civil service was an evil in itself and a drain on finances. (An unnecessary drain because the expatriate officials were incompetent).Richardson's decision to handle high-grade Samoan copra frightened the European community partly because of the principle involved but mainly because of the drastic effects it might have on private business. According to Richardson, the scheme was an attempt to improve the quality of Samoan copra, and give the producer higher returns...
Bibliography: >Meleisea, M, et al, Western Samoa, Like a Slippery Fish, (Polynesia: USP, 1994), pp 21-30.
> Meleisea, M, The Making of Modern Samoa, ( Suva: USP< 1997) pg 25-70.
>Roger Keesing, Kwaio Religion: The Living and the Dead in a Solomon Island Society. New York: Columbia University Press, 1982.
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