Everyone’s Secret Weapon

I was exploring on Stumbleupon tonight and this wonderful visual popped up. It certainly speaks truth and I’m not a perfect human being, in case you hadn’t noticed, but I know in my heart that this adage works in work, home and life.

happy is the man

Visuals that Tell The Vaccine Story

I am constantly on the look out for fresh ways to tell a compelling story on subject matters that have no entertainment or celebrity value. Like health, for example.  As we continue to see advances in technology and on social media, there’s an abundance of opportunities to find these examples. So thanks to social media, here’s a couple of examples I’ve checked out this morning and I thought I’d share them with you.

Video 1
The subject matter is important. It’s about vaccines and they save millions of lives.  But despite the importance of the message, a large number of people would rather watch news with entertainment value, then a message that could save lives. So that’s a communications challenge to resolve.

Just as I was about to stop watching this video, the unidentified hand doing the infographic grabbed my attention. I couldn’t take my eyes of it. Admittedly, I was looking for something to keep me interested and the hand sketching the infographic did it for me.  And before you knew it, I was listening to Bill Gates, no problem. To help the infographic sketching work with the voice track, the pace has been sped up to flow with the narrative.  Conclusion: using the infographic with hand streaming with voice works.

Video 2

This is compelling to me because it starts with the personal story of a mother who has lost her baby. That is heartbreaking. Yet her energy and commitment trying to persuade mothers in Gambia to have their children vaccinated is heartwarming and inspiring. Vaccines saves children’s lives.  She is saving lives by helping to spread the message. And that’s an incredible legacy to come out of great loss and suffering.

An inspiring story of a mother and the grassroots efforts using song that worked at inspiring village families to have their children vaccinated. This visual tells the story of vaccines as a personal story, strongly and simply.

How to Increase Your Facebook Engagement

Poynter Institute has published an insightful piece on an issue that organisations in the public and private sector want answers to.  How to get the most engagement from your Facebook Like Page. More businesses in New Zealand are seeing the benefits of using social media platforms as an engagement tool.  So I thought I’d link you  to the post by clicking here . I would share and paraphrase it here for you but I’m a bit short on time today.


 

 

 

 

This Day in History 1914: New Zealand Captures German Samoa

It happened 99 years ago today. Most Samoans will know this history through their family histories and the stories from elders passed on through the generations about village life under the German Administration and the soldiers.

This piece of research came out of initial family history work I have been doing over the past 12 months in order to write a family book for my children and my nephews and nieces on their ancestry which stretches from Samoa, Fiji and Tongan as well as other nations. This particular post to mark this anniversary was prompted by a question my youngest son asked me one day last year. “Mum, was Samoa once called German Samoa and run by Germans?” Yes it was, son, and this is a rather lengthy but detailed response.

Street scene showing New Zealand troops and a Samoan group, photographed by Malcolm Ross during the annexation ceremony in Apia, Western Samoa, 29 August 1914.

Street scene showing New Zealand troops and Samoans walking on the other side of the road passing them, photographed by Malcolm Ross during the annexation ceremony in Apia, Western Samoa, 29 August 1914.

Samoa was once a German colony called German Samoa until 29 August 1914 when New Zealand, under direction from the British Empire, sent a military force to Samoa to seize the western islands of Samoa.  Seizing Western Samoa from Germany was New Zealand’s first empirial duty for the British Empire as part of its war duties heading into War World I.

The Union Jack flag was hoisted and raised by a Samoan named Naea.

This is how the events of 29 August 1914 was reported in the New Zealand media two days later.  It marked the beginning of New Zealand’s 48-year occupation and administration of Western Samoa, now referred to as the Independent State of Samoa since 1997.

 

What was life like as a German colony?

One of the stories I was told of that period came from a pese that I had to learn as a teenager for a siva as part of a dance item with other young women for church celebrations. The siva and words referenced the derogatory way in which the German soldiers treated the chiefs in the villages.  It rebuked them in song and, chances are, villagers would have sung these songs within earshot of the soldiers if it was known that they didn’t understand Samoan. That was a history lesson I never forgot.

Five years before New Zealand captured German Samoa, this newspaper report in 1909 referring to the German Governor’s deportation of a number of chiefs and their relatives out of their own country, removing matai powers for any successors to be called in their absence, and adding extra taxes to the people as punishment.

Sapani

The New Zealand Colonist newspaper clipping dated 29th August 1914 titled Britain and Samoa sheds further light on the general feeling Samoans held towards the German by the events of 1914:

“The Samoan natives are restless, according to Captain Allen, and it is believed that if fighting occurs, they will attack the Germans. This is extremely probable for the war-loving people of Upolu and Savaii and Manono have never had any affection although the Kaiser officials, either openly or surreptitiously assisted them with their arms during their periodical wars.”

Britain and Samoa

The following history is provided by digital histories at http://ketenewplymouth.peoplesnetworknz.info/.

It is, admittedly, a New Zealand perspective from the point of view of the military intervention. Samoa’s tradition of oral histories means that very few, if any written records by Samoans, will be available from that period. But there are other ways to find the perspectives of forebears but it takes time, and I do this research in my spare time. When I find more historical documents from that period, we’ll let you know.

The New Zealand occupation of Samoa, 29 August 1914

Introduction

Information on the New Zealand involvement in the First World War normally consists of the units serving on Gallipoli, the Western Front, Egypt and Palestine.

Less well known is the occupation of Samoa on 29 August 1914, which was the first military action to be performed by the newly established New Zealand armed forces.

 

New Zealand troops landing in Samoa

New Zealand troops landing in Samoa at Matautu Beach, Apia, Samoa, August 1914. Photograph taken by Malcolm Ross. Source: Alexander Turnbull Library, NZ.

 

Mobilisation of the New Zealand Army

New Zealand’s response to the outbreak of war on 4 August was quick and wholehearted. Compulsory military training had begun in 1912 and had already yielded some 29,500 Territorials and 26,500 senior cadets. In addition, there were 10,000 reservists, or over 66,000 men in all.

The occupation of Samoa, 29th August 1914

No Imperial role for the New Zealand military forces had been decided before the war, but on the night of 6 August 1914, a message from the Secretary of State for War was received by His Excellency the Governor: “If your Ministers desire and feel themselves able to seize the German wireless station at Samoa, we should feel that this was a great and urgent Imperial service …

This was approved next day, and four days later a mixed force of 1,413 1) men plus six nursing sisters was equipped and ready.

New Zealand Expeditionary Force with captured German flag from Samoa.
 Source:FirstWorldWar.com.

On the 15 August 1915 the Samoan Advance Force left Wellington, picking up 10 more infantrymen, some naval details, and guides and interpreters at Fiji, and on the 29 August 1915 it landed unopposed at Apia, the main island of Western Samoa.

In March 1915 the Samoan Relief Force of 358 men took over, and by the end of the war another 298 men were supplied to maintain the garrison.

 30-08-2013 12-51-17 a-m- Occupation

The Samoan Advance Force

Colonel Robert Logan 2).

The landing force was commanded by Colonel (temporary) Robert Logan of the New Zealand Army. In 1914, Colonel Logan (1st Regiment Otago Mounted Rifles) was commander of the Auckland Military District; he became full colonel in October 1915.

The infantry element consisted of c.1,000 men from the 3rd (Auckland) Regiment (Countess of Ranfurly’s Own) and the 5th (Wellington Rifles) Regiment.

The force included 4 light guns, probably from the ‘D’ Mountain Battery (Captain Anderson).

The engineer element consisted of a a field company, a railway engineer company (Captain Keenan) and a signals detachment

Further, detachments the New Zealand Medical Corps and New Zealsnd Army Service Corps were included in the Samoan Advance Force.

Troops landing

New Zealand troops in boats crossing Apia Harbour to land. Colonel Fulton can be seen standing in the stern of the foremost boat, photographed by an unidentified photographer. Source: Alexander Turnbull Library.

The naval contribution

The expeditionary force was transported in two ships from the Union Steam Ship Company of New Zealand 3) – the S/S MOERAKI (4,392 gross tons; built in 1903) and S/S MONOWAI (3,433 gross tons; built in 1890).

The naval contingent, commanded by Rear-Admiral Sir George Patey, consisted of three obsolescent “P” class cruisers – HMS PHILOMEL , HMS PSYCHE and HMS PYRAMUS; joined by HMAS AUSTRALIA, HMAS MELBOURNE and the French cruiser MONTCALM at New Caledonia.

HMS PSYCHE or HMS PIONEER, c.1912. 
From a contemporary coloured postcard seen for sale on Ebay.

HMS Philomel was a Peal class Third Class Cruiser (1890). A photo of HMS Philomel is found at World War 1 Naval Combat.

HMS Psyche and HMS Pyramus were of the Pelorous class (1900). See Pelorous Class Third Class Protected Cruisers (World War 1 Naval Combat).

HMS PHILOMEL was transferred to the New Zealand Government in 1914 and commissioned at Wellington on 15 July 1914. With its complement augmented by 60-70 New Zealand reservists, the PHILOMEL escorted first the Samoan force and then the main New Zealand Expeditionary Force to Egypt.

Refer to Source 5 for further information on the PHILOMEL, which served in the New Zealand Division of the Royal Navy (from 1941 Royal New Zealand Navy) in various capacities until 16 January 1947.

The German colony of Samoa

The Governor’s orderly
of the Fita-Fita,
the Samoan paramilitary
police force. 
Cigarette card No. 96 in
the Waldorf-Astoria series
German Naval and Colonial
Forces. (Source 6)

Samoa became officially a German colony as of 1 March 1900, based on a treaty between Britain, the United States of America and Germany 4).

Unlike most other German colonies, Samoa had no military units, but only a small police force 5).

In 1914 the force consisted of some 30 Fita-Fita (Samoan for paramilitary police constables) and 20-25 local police constables (Landespolizisten), all headed by a German Chief of Police (Polizeimeister).

Native paramilitary police
constable from New Guinea
(Kaiser-Wilhelms-Land). 
Cigarette card No. 94 in
the Waldorf-Astoria series
German Naval and Colonial
Forces. (Source 6)

The Fita-Fitas were recruited from sons of native chiefs and influential families; they served mostly as orderlies for Government establishments and as guards. The local police constables served in various native villages and at two police posts, known as Cana and Saluafáta.

Apparently, the Fita-Fita could not to be trusted under all circumstances, since the bolts of their rifles were withdrawn during an internal unrest in 1909.

Paramilitary police from the German colony New Guinea 6) (Kaiser-Wilhelms-Land) as well as a naval landing party were brought in to quell the unrest.

A German naval rating,
equipped for landing party
duties in the tropics.
Cigarette card No. 43 in
the Waldorf-Astoria series
German Naval and Colonial
Forces. (Source 6)

Apia, Samoa, New Zealand naval officers landing with the demand for German surrender, photographed by an unidentified photographer. Source: Alexander Turnbull Library.

Apia, Samoa, New Zealand naval officers landing with the demand for German surrender, photographed by an unidentified photographer. Source: Alexander Turnbull Library.

On the eve of the invasion

The German wireless station on Samoa, which more or less was the reason for the New Zealand operations, opened just weeks before the invasion, on 2 August 1914. Until then, telegrams had to be shipped from New Zealand, including the telegram with the information on the Murder at Sarajevo, 28 June 1914.

The threat of this wireless station must be seen in the context of the German East Asia Squadron 7) based at Tsingtao. The Squadron included the modern cruisers SMS SCHARNHORST, SMS GNEISENAU and SMS NüRNBERG.

When the war broke out, a small number of Germans formed a citizens’ force (Bürgerwehr), consisting c. 50 men, organised in 3 detachments – one guarded the wireless station and the other two took turns serving as coastal guards.

The governor held a council of war with owners of some large plantations, business men and government officials; the conclusion was that any form of military resistance would be meaningless and just lead to unnecessary bloodshed.

The German surrender

In the early hours of 29 August 1914, the Samoan Advance Force steamed closed in on the harbour of Apia; two small steam boats searched the harbour for mines and a small boat, carrying a white flag transported two naval officers to the Bismarck Jetty.

The landing at Apia, Samoa, 29 August 1914. 
From New Zealand in the Great War (Digger History).

The first British Commonwealth officer to land on enemy territory in World War I was Lieutenant Edward Church, paymaster of HMS Psyche, who was instructed to carry the Admiral’s demand for unconditional surrender to the German representatives. 8)

The German Governor, Erich Schultz-Ewerth, had left town to “attend a conference of orators and chiefs“, thus leaving an acting governor to receive the request for surrender. Negotiations commenced, but in the end the Germans had to accept the New Zealand occupation, and did so under protest.

Hoisting the Union Jack, Courthouse, Apia, Samoa, 30 August 1914.

Union Jack August 1914

New Zealand forces hoisting the Union Jack, Courthouse, Apia, photographed on 29 August 1914 by Alfred James Tattersall
When Britain and her allies declared war on Germany in 1914, New Zealand troops landed at Matautu, Apia, on August 29, and peacefully assumed control of German (Western) Samoa. This was the beginning of New Zealand’s 48-year administration of Western Samoa. Source: Alexander Turnbull Library, NZ.


From New Zealand in the Great War (Digger History).

The radio station in Apia was dismantled by the Germans to keep it out of British hands, and the members of the citizens force dismissed themselves.

The Union Jack was hoisted approximately 08:30 on 30 August 1914; the ships’ guns saluted from the harbour.

The New Zealand occupation

Although, the Governor had been promished to be deported to Fiji, he was taken to Auckland, New Zealand as a prisoner of war on 2 September 1914, together with his secretary, Mars, and the director of the wireless station, Hirsch.

My sources to the New Zealand occupation is very anti-New Zealand, but it stands out that the Germans on Samoa was not in any way impressed by the New Zealand troops in their heavy woollen uniforms, more useful for warfare in Europe than in the Southern Pacific. Further, the solders seemed very young and lacking in military training.

At first, the relationship was tolerable but during the next few month, and culminating around Christmas 1914, things turned out rather bad.

In the middle of September 1914 however, the situation changed when the German cruisers SMS SCHARNHORST and SMS GNEISENAU appeared at the mouth of the bay leading to the harbour in Apia. All Germans hoped that the occupation would soon be over, but in the end it turned out that the cruisers had more important things to do, and a message with this statement was delivered to Colonel Robert Logan from the German naval commander, Vice-Admiral Graf Maximilian von Spee. The German morale sunk accordingly!

According to Source 8, several hundred New Zealand soldiers, bored by having nothing to do on this remote island, broke into some warehouses at the harbour on 26 December 1914 and “liberated” large quantities of alcohol, from which they have been barred since the occupation began.

New Zealand officers attached to the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, Samoa. From left: Captain Eastwood, Major Pinfold, Colonel Robert Logan, Major Matthew Holmes and Captain Head. Photograph taken by Alfred John Tattersall between 1914-1918.

New Zealand officers attached to the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, Samoa. From left: Captain Eastwood, Major Pinfold, Colonel Robert Logan, Major Matthew Holmes and Captain Head. Photograph taken by Alfred John Tattersall between 1914-1918.

According to Source 9, the situation went quite out of hand, and Colonel Robert Logan had to invent a threat from the German battlecruiser SMS VON DER TANN was observed in the Pacific Ocean heading for Samoa – a situation similar to the appearance of SMS SCHARNHORST and SMS GNEISENAU – in order to regain control of his force. This threat sobered -up the soldiers and they were ordered into the hills surrounding Apia to dig trenches and other fortifications.

In March 1915 the Samoan Relief Force relieved the Samoan Advance Force. This new force consisted of more mature men, many being veterans from the Boer War, and this eased the tension between the Germans and the occupational force.

In conclusion

The New Zealand involvement in Samoa lasted until 1962. After the First World War, Samoa was a New Zealand mandate of The League of Nations 9), and later a trusteeship from the United Nations. In 1962, the former German colony became an independent nation under the name of Western Samoa, from 1997, Samoa.

Many of the young New Zealand soldiers serving with the Samoa Advance Force went to Gallipoli afterwards. Many never came back .

The Digital Divide Hasn’t Gone Away

At least one in four teenagers aged 12 to 17 in America are “cell- mostly” internet users, according to the latest PEW research.  In the developing world, cellphone access to the Internet is much more widespread than using laptops and computers.

20-08-2013 PEW Research on Teen Cell Internet Use

And that all seems fine and dandy in terms of rolling towards a mind-blowing digital technology revolution.  But Mashable writer Jessica Goodman reveals some worrying trends and impacts on skill development and learning for young people in a story headlined The Digital Divide is Still Leaving Americans Behind .

When it comes to teens and cellphone Internet access, it’s no longer as revolutionary as it first appeared to me.  I’ve dispensed with the assumption that a young person who can easily access the Internet on a cellphone, and tweet and facebook at 100 miles an hour, automatically has a high level of computer literacy. That’s not an absolute. Through one tech teacher’s experience, as reported in the Mashable story, it shows there are direct costs and consequences to learning and skill development for a young person whose primary access point to the Internet is cellphone.   Good insights.

There are questions to ask but those initial findings provides a strong starting point if you’re interested in solving a problem like, how to cut the costs and consequences.  I don’t know what the answers are, as yet, but I intend to find out sooner or later.

20-08-2013 Digital Divide America 2

20-08-2013 Digital Divide America

PolyFest Winners

Polyfest Manukau, Sat 16 March: St Paul's Collegiate, Ponsonby, wins First Place overall for boys schools

POLYFEST 2013, Manukau – Samoan Group, St Paul’s College, Ponsonby, Auckland.  Credit to Facebook S T Timoteo.

Pride beaming from their faces before they stepped onto the stage. One of them is my nephew, who, along with these fine young men, performed at Polyfest today. They’re representing St Paul’s Samoan Group and obviously they won. An all boys school, St Paul Samoan Group were the overall boys schools winner.

It’s incredible to think how far Polyfest has come since its early days.  Nowadays it’s regarded as the largest Maori and Pasifika cultural festival in the world. Who would have imagined that back in its early days? This secondary schools cultural festival began in 1976 at Southside’s Hillary College after a 16-year-old Otara student named Michael Rollo came up with the idea. Staff, students and parents supported the idea and off they went.  The aim of the Festival was to show pride in cultural identity, heritage and bring schools together to share this.  What was the catalyst for his idea? Where is Michael Rollo now? That’s what I wonder when I consider that the Festival has been going for over 36 years.

Meanwhile, this post is my way of celebrating my nephew for giving his all and doing his part to make their group a winning one.  He’s usually on the sports field and this was the first cultural group he’s ever joined to compete in Polyfest.

Young man, keep giving 110 percent, and then some, be it on stage, in classroom and on the sports field. I like it!

Familia Historia est Amazing

Two years ago, someone asked me to write down our Family Tree.  Ignoring my spare writing-to-do list waiting to be done, and always a long queue past my kitchen door, I went on a long search for my enigmatic ancestors.  I  have interviewed and quizzed family and strangers galore on family history, so intensely and persistently, this year.

There’s still a few unanswered questions buzzing around in my head. Like, what did they look like in the 1800s and 1900s?  What did they think about during their travels? Why did they go where they went? Is there any chance that I might have seen them in historical un-named photos?

When I face the ever-present reality of gaps in undocumented knowledge, I write down entire question lines that come to mind.  Yes, I recommend buying yourself a large book that you can record all your notes, thoughts, and findings.  I record every question, every line of enquiry, every possible scenario that comes to mind.

Those questions, and moreso the answers that come out of it, have helped sharpen lines of enquiries.  I could call myself a scientist with my hypothesis. My questions have tested long-held assumptions about family information. It has helped me correct information especially when I come across primary source evidence.

At this very moment, there’s nothing more thrilling in this chase than finding reliable information that verify my Family Tree.

http://youtu.be/Zzd64YvOqrk

Interested in family history? Click on the above link and watch that episode of the American version of Who Do You Think You Are.  It features Rosie O’Donnell, the US comedian, with family stories that just grabbed me. O’Donnell’s family history episode, unexpectedly, kept my eyes clued to the screen. I have a newfound respect for O’Donnell and her ancestors. It also has some useful tips on records to check (other than Census, birth and  death records).  Part 2 and 3 of this episode are on Youtube.

 Ciao

Visualizing Data

It’s a beautiful thing to come across data presented in the language of the eye.  After attending #ProjectRevolution the last two days, I’ve noticed that even more.  Presenting data visually, if you can, helps an audience to see patterns, relationships and their impact.  It compresses loads of data into an easily digestible form, most of the time.

NYtimes viz

New York Times graphic. Narrative Visualization: Telling Stories with Data. Edward Segel, Jeffrey Heer. IEEE Trans. Visualization & Comp. Graphics (Proc. InfoVis), 2010
PDF (1.4 MB)

There are plenty of data visualisation experts to learn from. Take a look at the Stanford Visualisation Group from which the New York Times graphic was plucked.  If you prefer to watch video, David McCandless, a data journalist, has a TED Talk on the beauty of data and how to present it in more engaging ways.

For example, look at your Facebook feed and the unsolicited data set of information coming through as people update their statuses.  That’s data.  Scary huh?  In the TED talk, McCandless shows a graph computed from more than 10,000 Facebook status updates  that identify trends each year when people tend to post about breaking up.  And you thought your  Facebook updates could never be scientifically analysed? He does far more than analyse your social media conversations.

So without further ado, here’s the TED talk with David McCandless. Visual data really is a beautiful thing!

David McCandless turns complex data sets (like worldwide military spending, media buzz, Facebook status updates) into beautiful, simple diagrams that tease out unseen patterns and connections. Good design, he suggests, is the best way to navigate information glut — and it may just change the way we see the world.

He draws beautiful conclusions from complex datasets — thus revealing unexpected insights into our world

This exciting topic on data takes me back, years ago, to an infant mental health conference I attended at the University of Sydney.  A clinical psychologist was asked how she was able to convince authorities to fund a programme for traumatised and abused children. Her answer was very simple and I learned a lot from what she said.

“I had the data”, she said. That was good enough for them.

By the way, I am still working on my series of  posts on my learnings from the digital technology conference. Will post my first one soon… sorry, I’m still on my social media hiatus. Back before Christmas.

CALMNESS of mind is one o…

CALMNESS of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom. It is the result of long and patient effort in self-control. Its presence is an indication of ripened experience, and of a more than ordinary knowledge of the laws and operations of thought. …Yes, humanity surges with uncontrolled passion, is tumultuous with ungoverned grief, is blown about by anxiety and doubt only the wise man, only he whose thoughts are controlled and purified, makes the winds and the storms of the soul obey him

Written by James Allen (1864 – 1912) in his 1902 book As a Man Thinketh