Non-Fiction

Tautai: Sāmoa, World History and the Life of Taisi O F Nelson

Patricia O'Brien


Tautai is the story of a man who came from the edge of a mighty empire and then challenged it at its very heart. This biography of Ta’isi O F Nelson chronicles the life of a man described as the 'archenemy' of New Zealand and its greater whole, the British Empire. He was Sāmoa’s richest man, and he used his wealth and unique international access to further the Samoan cause and was financially ruined in the process.

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In the aftermath of the hyper-violence of the First World War, Ta’isi O F Nelson embraced nonviolent resistance as a means to combat a colonial surge in the Pacific that gripped his country for nearly two decades. This surge was manned by heroes of New Zealand’s war campaign, who attempted to hold the line against the groundswell of challenges to the imperial order in the former German colony of Sāmoa that became a League of Nations' mandate in 1921. Stillborn Sāmoan hopes for greater freedoms under this system precipitated a crisis of empire. It led Ta’isi O F Nelson on global journeys in search of justice, taking him to Geneva, the League of Nations' headquarters and courtrooms in Sāmoa, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Ta’isi O F Nelson ran a global campaign through letter writing, petitions and a newspaper to get his people’s plight heard. For his efforts, he was imprisoned and exiled not once but twice from Sāmoa.

Genre

Biography

Pages

432

Language

English

Publication Date

June 1, 2017

Dimensions

153 x 229 mm

ISBN (Soft Cover)

9781775503316

"In this complex, multisided history of Germany’s and then New Zealand’s colonial administration of Sāmoa, Ta’isi O. F. Nelson emerges as a fascinating, profoundly intelligent, courageous, and indefatigable leader of Sāmoa’s drive for independence."

Albert Wendt, award-winning novelist and poet

"Through one extraordinary life, Patricia O’Brien has written a major account of converging modern worlds. Her study of Ta’isi O. F. Nelson links empire, war, capitalism, anti-colonialism, and internationalism over six tumultuous decades. Deeply researched, this book is both a world history of Sāmoa, and a Pacific history of the early twentieth-century world."

Alison Bashford, University of Cambridge

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