Georg Wilhelm Hagedorn, a German plantation manager at Magia who had arrived in Samoa in 1905, got offside with the New Zealand Administration on 15 September, 1914, when he and Reinhold Hofmann achieved notoriety by rowing out to the German warships Gneisenau and Scharnhorst when they briefly visited Mulifanua. The men conversed with Admiral Graf Spee. Earlier in the day the two cruisers had stood menacingly off Apia Harbour, and the New Zealand occupying forces waited for the bombardment that thankfully never came. After Hagedorn’s plucky rendezvous with the German navy he rode hotfoot back to Apia to report on the conversation to New Zealand Administrator Col. Logan and deliver a message from Spee. Logan disbelieved the story initially then thanked him and shook his hand. Two weeks later Hagedorn and Hofmann were shipped out to internment.
Wilhelm Hagedorn was the principal in the Magia Plantagen Gesellschaft which was planted mainly in cocoa. He had a partner, a Malietoa kinswoman Tunu Ivela and had a son, William. At the end of his internment he appears to have been a widower. In 1920, Mr Hagedorn married Miss Alice Borgolte, of Auckland, and later emigrated to Australia where he became a planter in New South Wales.
Credit: Alfred Schultz Album, photographer Reinhold Hofmann.
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