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Arrival into the Pacific Islands

Settlement & Timeline
Samoa and Tokelau to 1918

Pereira Family establishes itself in the Pacific

1838 AD – Antonio Pereira Vitorino De Barres (aka Atone) arrives in Savaii, Samoa.

Antonio comes to fancy a particular woman. She is Tupou Pololo, Tofilau’s daughter, Chief of the village.
They become very close and the relationship is sanctioned by Chief Tofilau. They conceive and have a baby boy. Antonio names him after his own brother Joseph (José/Siosé)

1839 AD – José Maria Pereira is Born

Antonio settles down with his new family. Learning that there are other islands of Samoa, Antonio relays to his men of the need to go to the other islands. Reluctantly, he farewells his family, especially his son José. He sails away happy in the knowledge that he now has a family and that his son has a chiefly name.

1855 AD – Antonio Pereira Vitorino De Barres (aka Atone) is recorded to be in Apia.

Eventually, he returns to his family, but because of the bounty that he has accumulated and wanting to cash up, he continues to go out to trade. They reach Upolu reef in Apia and begin to sell all their bounty along with the boat itself. Word of this quickly spreads right around Upolu.
Lauofo (The King) hears of this and takes his daughter with him to Apia. He sees an axe and he wants it. Wishing to have the axe, he gives his daughter for payment, to live with Antonio in exchange.
All the goods aboard the boat are eventually sold along with the boat itself. The money they have now acquired is distributed among the sailors and they all separate to begin their own futures.

1856 AD – Atone’s brother (Pedro) and their sister’s (Maria) son Sese (aka Hehe) arrive on the scene in Apia. [unconfirmed]

Recruited by August Unshelm, of the ‘Godeffroy und Sohn’, the German Trading firm, Antonio procures land for the company and begins to buy land outside the city with his own money, even though he is staying in Taupou with the daughter of Lauofo.

They have six children in Luatua nu’u, by the princess, one who was sold for the axe. 2 Girls and 4 boys – Caroline, Rose, Antonio, Beato, Paulo and James
Around this time, the word of the Catholic teaching is spreading in Apia out amongst the people. They embrace the Catholic doctrines since they are able to keep their old traditions as well. But it is well known that, although Antonio is Catholic, his family has nowhere to live and still he gave part of his land to the church, for them to use his land.

Savalalo is where the Catholic church establishes a base. Then, Antonio gave Mulivai, to the Priest and Brothers of the School of Marist, to have. Even now, this is still to this day, he gave to the School of Nuns, Savalalo.
Tokelau and Samoa are under the rule of Germany.

1861 AD – Sometime before 1861, August Unshelm, is lost at sea due to a hurricane in the Fijian Archipelago. Theodor Weber, then a young man of twenty-seven, who had also come to Samoa from the German firm through its Valparaiso branch in Chili, takes charge of the Godeffroy und Sohn business.
Antonio sends an agent to Tokelau to trade in Fakaofo. At this time, there are lot of thieves and Pirates, who steal goods and people, to sell to the big countries through the masters of the slave traders.

The selling master in Tokelau was Benjamin Hughes. Fonuafala was sold to the palagi (Ben) by the King in diamonds
By luring the island people onto the boat to trade, Ben captures and sells the King of Fakaofo and the people he has ensnared, to the Captains of the Slave Trader boats.
The Bishop (Enosi), learning of what has happened in Fakaofo, speaks to the Germans and asks Antonio to do something about the problem in Fakaofo. The Catholic Bishop, Enosi, and points it out to the people of his church. He asks Antonio to go to Fonuafala, Tokelau, to change the attitudes of the people towards Benjamin Hughes, the Slave Trader.
Benjamin Hughes returns to Samoa for fear of the things he has done.

1863 AD – Antonio Pereira travels to Fonuafala, Fakaofo, Tokelau, on the ship ‘Augustita’. soon after the last of the slave ships had departed leaving only 57 Tokelauans in Fakaofo. Although a Portugese subject, Atone has appropriated British protection.

1864 AD – Sese Perez (aka Hehe) arrives in Nukunonu, Tokelau. He is unable to acquire land rights for himself. Also known as a Portuguese trader for Godeffroy und Sohn in Samoa, Sese marries a Fakaofo woman (Loha) who has customary land rights

1866 AD – A deal for the sale of the Islets of Fenuafala for $600 to Theodore Weber of Godeffroy und Sohn from Benjamin Hughes takes place in September.
Antonio buys the land of Fonuafala from the German firm, Godeffroy und Sohn.

1867 AD – At around this time, the seat of native government was transferred to Apia from Malie, the ancient home of the Malietoa family

Antonio purchases a parcel in Malie and land around Apia

1870 AD – In the days when Antonio is to return to Samoa, he sends for his son José to take over the work in Fakaofo. José takes his people to Tokelau so that they can develop the new land of Fonuafala.

Travelling between Tokelau and Samoa, where Atone also had interests, he finally leaves Fakaofo for Samoa. His son José is left in control of all property and business, he is now known as ‘Peleila’.

1874 AD – Antonio Pereira, while in Samoa buys from two natives of Fakaofo named Siva and Po, what were described in the deed as Two islands in Tokelau Group called Nukumatau and Fonualoa.

Atone and Jose establish control over Fenualoa mainly by their occupation of the Islet. Stalwart Catholics with convert numbers in their favour, they are able to overwhelm the Protestant population of native tokelauan ‘aliki ma faipule’

1876 AD – Lafaele, son of Jose Pereira is born

1882 AD – Jose remains in effective control of Fenuafala and Fenualoa Islets of Fakaofo.

Even under threat of the ‘Western Pacific High Commission’ and it’s plan of dispatching the ‘HMS Diamond’ “…to remove from the island those British subjects may be dangerous to peace and order…”

José and his people begin to cut the copra and send it to Samoa to the Germans to pay for the land of Fonuafala. Harvesting the copra was hard work because of the need to climb the trees to get the copra down. The way it is done was that they received 12 shillings for 1000 coconuts processed. Beginning in 1887 the land was paid for by 1897.

1893 AD – Lafaele goes to school in Samoa until 1896.

1897 AD – Lafaele Pereira returns to Tokelau under instruction by letter from his father José Pereira

“… forget school… we need help with the copra”

We use the proceeds from the copra to pay for new trees in the land. 9 years they were in the land in Fakaofo for the work of cutting and husking coconuts.

This is the year Lafaele gets married.

1899 AD – As age and poor health begin to take its toll, José Pereira, weary of the internal divisions within the realms of Samoa and Tokelau, the ‘Western Pacific High Commission’ rulings and questions that may result, writes a letter to his sister Malia Ioane Pereira to outline his wishes and intentions for the affairs of the family legacy. It is apparent by the wording of this manuscript (ref: original document) that the Lands of Malie and Fatipule in Samoa are central to the inheritance. José is clear to maintain that the lands of Tokelau are to be communally toiled for the benefit of all, insisting that the Copra plantations and revenue derived to be worked and shared together.

The land in Savalalo belongs to you all… but Lafaele is still the boss. Have a piece of land and look after each other every day. Look after it and develop it and be a family. Especially, look after the girls.

After the Second Samoan Civil War, the Samoan Islands were divided by the three involved powers. The Samoa Tripartite Convention gave control of the islands west of 171 degrees west longitude to Germany, the eastern islands to the United States (present-day American Samoa) and the United Kingdom was compensated with other territories in the Pacific and West Africa

1901 AD – 15th May The Words Given by Jose Pereira

“Whatever happens is the will of God should I die. The Land of Fonuafala will be given to the old Lady. That piece of land near the sea, the inner side to all you people. Love each other together work the land. And the piece of land of the old lady closer to the sea, don’t think about it.”

1901 AD – They start to develop the land again.

Lafaele and Iosefo the Tokelauan boys did this. The other two boys, Manuele and Antonio are still too young as are the two girls.

1905 AD – The two boys and the two girls return to Nukunonu.

They go to Nukunonu to sell out what “Dad used to do”. Arriving 21st November, they stay 9 years.

1913 AD – They leave Fonuafala.

The land is full of coconuts. Half of the land has been developed by the German imports of Kiribati, while the other half of the land of Fonuafala has been developed by the family.

1914 AD – 7th January, the great flood happens in Nukunonu, all the riches are wiped out to sea.

1914 AD – 15th March. Houses, goods and wealth is swept away.

“We left to go back to fix the house swept away by the flood. To fulfil Dads words”.

“The land to the old Lady and family, Fonuafala, but the land in Samoa is for you my children .… as you please”
“Please yourself dad”

1914 AD – When Nukunonu was completed the family lived there.

1916 AD – Still in Nukunonu, José Maria Pereira dies.

1917 AD – The family move back to Fakaofo to work the land to pay for trees that were wiped out.

1918 AD – 20th September the family goes back to Samoa.

Sickness was happening all over the land at this time in October and November in Samoa.

New Zealand had seized the western islands of Samoa from Germany just after the outbreak of World War I in 1914 and ruled them until 1962. The blunders committed during their rule include a catastrophic epidemic, the gunning down of pacifist protesters in 1929, as well as the killing of a Samoan paramount chief, Tupua Tamasese Lealofi III.

Rather than accept responsibility for the influenza pandemic, New Zealand officials praised the efforts of their personnel in the face of adversity. At the same time, they condemned Samoa’s inhabitants for failing to help themselves. In this way, New Zealand was able to satisfy itself that, despite the tragedy, it was still best placed to govern Samoa.

“On behalf of the New Zealand government, I wish to offer today a formal apology to the people of Samoa for the injustices arising from New Zealand’s administration of Samoa in its earlier years, and to express sorrow and regret for those injustices.”
“There are events in our past which have been little known in New Zealand, although they are well known in Samoa. Those events relate to the inept and incompetent early administration of Samoa by New Zealand.” – NZ Prime Minister Helen Clark.

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