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The Pull Thro’

This artefact is a newspaper called the Pull Thro’ produced by the Kiwi soldiers in Samoa during World War I.

The Museum recently opened a new exhibition of the story of Samoa at the start of World War One. Britain wanted the threat of a German wireless station in the hills above Apia neutralised as its radio transmitter was capable of sending long-range Morse signals to Berlin and its large naval fleet of warships. New Zealand answered the call with a force of nearly 1400 soldiers.

After the novelty of the garrison routine in Samoa had worn off and to help relieve the boredom of the troops, those members of the Force who had a printing background in civilian life, decided to produce a military newspaper utilising the old 1860’s printing press in Apia. The press was also used by the Germans for their own publication, the Samoanische Zeitung (later named Samoan Times).

A copy of the newspaper produced by the Germans in Samoa called Samoanische Zeitung

The men established ‘The Literary Committee of the Advance Party’ and managed to publish seven issues of The Pull Thro’ newspaper between October 1914 and May 1915.

The only real restriction was that they would not give out military information and focus on the soldier’s perspective of the isolated outpost, including often bad rations (food), annoying individuals and sporting activities, all laced with a good dose of Kiwi humour and the odd sketch by 1/547 Private George ‘Pat’ Hanna (artist and songwriter) who would go on to fight at Gallipoli and on the Western Front.

A copy of the Pull Thro’ (Vol. 1, III November 7 1914 issue) together with a copy of the German ‘Samoanische Zeitung’ are both part of the Museum’s archival collection.