Impressive Photo Album of New Zealand and South Pacific Islands
With Many Photographs of Melanesian Natives
The photographs in this album depict a wide range of locations in New Zealand, Polynesia, and Melanesia, including Fiji, Tonga, and the Samoan Islands. Other places are shown: Auckland, Pitcairn Island, Pago-Pago, Tolaga Bay, Tokomaru Bay, Dunedin, Nuku'alofa, Savage Island, Bora-Bora, Tahiti, Mo'orea, Fakaofo, the Cook Islands, Apia, Penrhyn Atoll, the botanical gardens at Suva, Humphrey Island, Niuafo'ou, Otira Gorge, Wellington, Trentham, Milford Sound, Greymouth, Ocean Island, Rotumah, Tarawa, Kuria, Nanomea, the Gilbert Islands, Ellice Islands, Levuka, Russell (Bay of Islands), Whanganui, and Rotorua, and the like. Of particular interest are the photographs of natives in various Melanesian and Polynesian islands, especially Fijians, Maori men and women in native dress, a Samoan wedding, and a Samoan dance called a Siva Siva.
Some of the views of New Zealand (showing Wellington, Nelson, Wanganui, Napier, and the Wellington-to-Auckland Train, for instance) have printed captions in the negative, suggesting they were part of a commercially produced series offered to tourists. Other photographs depict life onboard the HMS Veronica and its crew (including one photo of the author); fishing of all sorts (shark fishing, whaling, pearl diving, net fishing, and spearfishing); war memorials and tombs (including the monument of Captain Cook and tomb of Robert Louis Stevenson accompanied by a lengthy note that "he was greatly respected [by the natives] and known to them as Tusitala "teller of tales"); a variety of sporting events (cricket matches, musketry, football, hockey) and a few group portraits of the sailors.
HMS Veronica was an Acacia class sloop of the Royal Navy built by Dunlap Bremmer & Company, Port Glasgow, Scotland. After service in World War I, she joined the New Zealand Division of the Royal Navy from September 19, 1920, to February 24, 1934, touring New Zealand, partaking in ceremonial occasions, and participating in annual Pacific Island cruises. The compiler of the album was aboard the Veronica during a tour of the Pacific Islands in the years 1927 and 1928. The resulting photographic record is remarkable for the number of places visited and the variety of photographs, including landscape views, portraits, snapshots, and many images of native islanders engaging in canoeing, sea-fern gathering, fishing, and dancing.
Of particular note are the extensive hand-written captions written in white ink. These go far beyond the typical labeling of time and place by including historical background and narrative descriptions of the photographs. For example:
Ma Burrows. This old lady is notable character and a frequent visitor to the ships of the squadron in Auckland. She lost her only son in the war... and ever since has "adopted" the sailors. She is a typical cockney.
Pitcairn Island, a lovely island in the South-eastern Pacific where S. S. Corinthic hove-to and landed mails. This island is colonised by the descendants of the mutineers of H.M.S. Bounty.
A Swim from the Ship at Pago-Pago, American Samoa.
Tokomaru Bay. Our first stop on the 1927 N. Z. cruise. We were very hospitably treated here and were beaten at cricket.
Tolaga Bay. Where we were also very kindly treated. We beat them at cricket.
Three views of a natural phenomenon at Nukua Lofa, Tonga. It is caused by the Pacific Swell bursting under overhanging coral and being forced upward through the cracks.
Although they don't look it in this snap, the Tongans are a clean and intelligent race, and when arrayed in their Sunday "Lava-Lavas" are fine looking people, the men powerfully built, and the women moving with the singularly graceful carriage that is common in the South Sea Islands.
Nuie, or Savage Island, is midway between Samoa and Raratonga. We stayed here long enough to instruct them as to the best way to blast some rocks to make a boat channel. The islanders are very expert in the use of their canoes.
Samoan native huts are in a class of their own. And are built so that they are free to all, in accordance with the Samoan's genuine communism. They should be a happy people, with no struggle to live. Their food grows wild all about them and almost falls into their laps. They have no housing problem. And no worry about clothes.
The harbour and waterfront at Papeete, Tahiti. Tahiti is one of the Society Islands, and is a French colony. With its geographical position and natural advantages it ought to be an important and flourishing port, as it could be in British or U.S. hands. The scenery, once one leaves behind the dirt of the city of Papeete, is splendid in Tahiti, with great stretches of flat country, abundant plantations and rivers.
Mr. Zane Grey, the American author of western stories & novels, owns this yacht, which he uses for this hobby of deep-sea fishing. We have met her at a good many ports.
Some of the well-built natives of Fakafu who came aboard...
Apia, Samoa. Celebrating the anniversary of the annexation of German Samoa by a New Zealand force in 1914.
The native cricket team at Nukualofa, Tongan Islands.
A mixed collection of snapshots of the Islands Cruise showing:-- group of native chiefs at Aitutaki, Cook Islands, an albatross following the ship, the fresh water bathing pool at Apia, Samoa (this pool is formed by a stream that flows from the summit of Stevenson's mountain "Vailima.") A pearling village scene at Penrhyn [a.k.a. Tongareva, Māngarongaro, Hararanga, and Te Pitaka].
Pearling luggers at Penrhyn. Penrhyn, an island situated 8 degrees south of the line, was once the headquarters of a thriving pearl diving industry. While we were here, a roaring trade was done by bartering old clothes for seed pearls.
The tomb of Robert Louis Stevenson, the famous author of "Treasure Island" and other stories. R. L. S. lived for a number of years at Vailima, Samoa, and at his death in 1894 was carried to the top of a mountain by the native chiefs, by whom he was greatly respected, and known to them as Tusitala ("Teller of Tales"). I climbed this mountain when in Samoa, and was repaid fully for the trouble by actually seeing the famous epitaph composed by R. L. S. himself.
Natives of Figi Performing the "Meke" (War Dance)
Figian girls offering beads for sale, they are made mostly of sea shells and berries. Not much trade was done with us, or other war ships. But they sell plenty to the tourist steamers.
Two views of the sugar industry at Lautoka, Figi Islands. It is the only industry, although run on a very large scale. The mills being the second most important of their kind in the world. Some thousands of Hindus are employed growing the cane, and in transporting, crushing, and shipping the product.
Milford Sound, a beautiful natural harbour on the South West coast of New Zealand. The ship laid hove-to abreast of the waterfall in the snap. We couldn't anchor as we found no bottom at 200 fathom.
Football match in progress between H.M.S. Veronica and the West Coast team. We lost 6 - 0, but as this team was the only one in N.Z. to beat the Canadian touring team it wasn't too bad a defeat.
A Rotumah girl obliging poses.
The native village at Ocean Island.
The village meeting house at Butaritari, Gilbert Group.
Native Vistors on Board at Ocean Island.
Funeral procession at Levuka, of the late Mr. C. Nichol, commanding engineer, R. N., of this ship, who died suddenly in his bunk at Levuka, Figi, and was buried on the same day. Practically the whole of the ship's company, and a large proportion of the population of Levuka marched in the procession.
Levuka. A typical Figian with taro root, their principal vegetable food.
Girls gathering sea-fern, for thatching at Ongea-Levu.
The Wai-Tovu Falls on the Island of Ovalau, Figi, near Levuka.
A high-caste Figian Girl.
A Suva Girl of mixed Tongan and Figian parentage.
Ship's cricket team at Suva. From the back, left to right: Hart, Ward, Tadman, Ashton, Rogers, Lt. Comm. Murray; Middle row: Giles, self, Commander de Salis. Front row: Welling, Thompson, and Irwin.
The background of this picture is Russell, in the Bay of Islands famous for its historical connections with the Maori War and for its big game fishing. The gulls are on our lower boom. The legend is that the souls of old sailors inhabit the bodies of gulls. An old deep-sea whaler is at anchor in the photo.
Maori men and women.
There is a large Maori settlement at Rotorua, North Island.
The Maoris great each [other] by rubbing noses.
Two photographs of maps:
H. M. S. Veronica, South Island Cruise [shows New Zealand]
H. M. S. Veronica, 1927-29. [Pacific Ocean showing New Zealand, Gilbert Islands, Fiji Islands, Samoa, Friendly Islands, Cook Islands, and Society Islands]
Two maps drawn on single sheet (recto and verso):
Charting the HMS Veronica's progress around New Zealand and through the South Pacific Isles.