SAMOA. COCONUTS AND COPRA

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Title ‘Samoa, Coconuts and Copra’. ‘Apia is held today by Great Britain as capital of the western archipelago, formerly controlled by Germany.’ Panoramic view of Apia and harbour. ‘We make our pilgrimage to Vailima, the home of Robert Louis Stevenson where he died in 1894...’ Large two-storied house. ‘Here Stevenson lived for four years as an honored chief of the Samoans - and as an author admired and loved throughout the English-speaking world.’ Photo of Stevenson and companion. ‘From his windows at Vailima he could see the summit of Mount Vaea chosen for his last resting place’. ‘Upon the tomb we read the epitaph written by Stevenson himself’. ‘Under the wide and starry sky, Dig ye the grave and let me lie, Glad did I live and gladly die, And I laid me down with a will.’ Tomb of Stevenson. ‘The natives called him “Tusitala” - “writer of stories” and they mourn him still’. Local children. Villages.

‘The copra of commerce is the dried meat of the coconut from which coconut oil and soaps and cosmetics are made’. Coconut grove. ‘The coconuts are gathered - not by native labor - but by imported Solomon Islanders - and the sons of the Solomons are some climbers’. Solomon Islanders climbing coconut palms. ‘A new use for the old spears of this savage race’. Men using spears to pick up coconuts off ground and load them into containers on donkeys. ‘Much labor lost in loading cars - but they seem to like to do it the worst way’. Coconuts loaded onto ground then into wagon. Man coaxes bullocks and ties them up to wagon which they haul.

‘The white meat of the coconut must be cut out and dried - this is where all the wives of all the Solomons come in’. Women sitting with children. ‘The men husk and crack the hard nuts’. Men husking coconuts. ‘The women - oh, lovely women, - nit - take the heart out of everything’. Women working with coconuts, men carry boxes of coconuts into shed, watched by colonial man. ‘The South Sea traffic in copra is colossal in the aggregate’. Men carry produce in sacks at waters edge. ‘A cool delicious drink, bottled by Nature, is found in every coconut’. Man cuts open coconut with large knife then drinks it. ‘While the wise Solomons labor - the wiser Samoans prepare to entertain us with a Siva-siva celebration’. Men and women perform, men dressed in traditional head wear. ‘The Siva-siva is danced sitting - other dances are done standing.’ Men perform dance on their feet in front of audience. ‘The End’.

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Year 1929

Reference number F33673

Collection Film and Video Collection

Media type Moving Image

Place of Production NEW ZEALAND/AOTEAROA

Duration 0:11:45

Viewing locations Digital file available to view at medialibrary, Wellington