Somes Prisoners


Primary Sources


Alexander Turnbull Library (WTU) material: Somes Island Statements, MS 2071. Lutheran Church of New Zealand Annual Conference Minutes 1907-1920, MS Papers: 2200.

Early Settlers Index, Palmerston North Group of New Zealand Society of Genealogists.

Fritz Reuter passenger list for its Hamburg to Wellington voyage dated 12 April 1876 to 4 August 1876. In the author’s collection, from copy held by a descendent of  a ‘Fritz Reuter’ family that settled at Rongotea. According to J.N. Bade (1996) p.15, the original source is National Archives, Wellington..

Marton Lutheran Cemetery Records, per New Zealand Society of Genealogists’ cemetery records microfiche, Palmerston North Public Library.

Murie, David, ‘Henry Nicolai Christian Joosten’ (Heretaunga, 1995). Ten-page typescript of his research into the Joosten brothers, internees on Somes Island during World War One. It is based on a number of files on the family at National Archives, along with family traditions of Henry Joosten, formerly partner in the Wellington company Joosten & Murie.

National Archives (NA) material:

                AAAB 472/30b Record No. 42 Wollerman, H.F.A.

                AAAB 478/2av Enemy Reservists.

                AAAB 478/5b German Distress, 1919.

                AAAB 478/5bf d24/21/1748  Huse, O.

                AAAB 478/8bc Prisoners of War, particulars of arrest.

                AAAB 478/10d Seifert Brothers.

                AAAB 478/12ap German Consulate Archives.

                AAAB 482/1d Eder, M.

                AAAB 482/24k 230 Eder, L.

                AAAB 482/60q 603 Bornhold, A.M.A.

                AAAR 472/3ab Wollerman, H.F.A.

                AAAR 477/1ad, Procedures for dealing with aliens.

                IA 1 20/1/787, Eder, L.

                IA 1 20/7/18, Bornhold, A.M.A.

                IA 1 117/209, Eder, L.

Registrar-General, births, deaths and marriages index, per New Zealand Society of Genealogists’ microfiche, Palmerston North Public Library.

German Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Information on German Consular Archives in New Zealand, supplied by Günter Haselier, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Wellington, 14 October 1966.


Official Published

Appendices to the Journals of the House of Representatives (AJHR), 1874-1877, 1917, 1919.

British and Foreign State Papers  Volumes 55, 91, 99, 101, 112.

Census of New Zealand, 1871-1926.

Chapman, Mr Justice F.R., ‘Report Respecting the Treatment of Prisoners of War at Somes Island’, in AJHR, 1919, H-33: 1-27.

New Zealand Bills Thrown Out, 1914-1921/2.

New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs: Register of Aliens, 1917.

New Zealand Parliamentary Debates (NZPD), 1914-1923.

New Zealand Statutes, 1914-1923, 1948.

Register of Persons Naturalised in New Zealand before 1948, Non-Commonwealth.

Winslow, A.A., American Consul-General, Report on internment facilities in New Zealand to the Department of State, Washington, in AJHR, 1917, A-1, pp. 10-3.


Newspapers and Journals

Evening Post

Feilding Star

Manawatu Evening Standard

Manawatu Daily Times, formerly the Manawatu Times

New Zealand Herald

The Australian Brewer’s Journal, 1907.

Wanganui Chronicle

Wanganui Weekly Herald


Secondary Sources


Arnold, Rollo, The Farthest Promised Land, English Villagers, New Zealand Immigrants of the 1870s (Wellington, 1981).

Ayson, Bob, Miranui - the story of New Zealand’s largest flaxx mill (Wellington, 1977)

Bade, James N. (ed.), The German Connection: New Zealand and German-speaking Europe in the Nineteenth Century (Auckland, 1993).

Bade, James N., ‘Assisted Immigrants from the German Empire who settled in the Lower North Island in the 1870s, in New Zealand Legacy, Vol. 8, No. 1, 1996, pp.13-5.

Baines, Dudley, Emigration from Europe 1815-1930, (Basingstoke, Hampshire, 1991).

Benson, Pamela, History of Rongotea, (Palmerston North, 1981)

Boyd, Mary, ‘The Record in Western Samoa to 1945’, in Ross, Angus (ed.), New Zealand’s Record in the Pacific Islands in the Twentieth Century (Wellington, 1969).

Bromby, Robin, German Raiders of the South Seas: The naval threat to Australia/New Zealand 1914-17, (Lane Cove, N.S.W., 1985).

Burr, Val A., Mosquitoes & Sawdust: a history of Scandinavians in early Palmerston North & surrounding districts (Palmerston North, 1995)

Cassells, K.R., The Sanson Tramway (Wellington, 1962).

Cassells, K.R., The Foxton and Wanganui Railway (Wellington, 1984).

Cunningham, W.H.,  C.A.L. Treadwell & J.S. Hanna, The Wellington Regiment, NZEF 1914-1919 (Wellington, 1928).

Davies, D.A. & R.E. Clevely, Pioneering to Prosperity 1874-1974, A Centennial History of the Manchester Block (Feilding, 1981).

Encyclopedia Britannica (15th Edition, Chicago, 1987).

Evans, Geoffrey, Tannenberg 1410/1914 (London, 1970).

Fanning, L.S., ‘Interned Aliens. Life on Somes Island. Prisoners well treated, a quiet existence’, in New Zealand Herald, 7 April 1916, p. 4(8).

Halcombe Lutheran Church Anniversary Committee, Lutheran Church, Halcombe, 1875-1953, 75th Anniversary (Halcombe, 1953). In MS Papers 2200, PR 100/2, WTU.

Holcroft, M.H., The Line of the Road, A History of Manawatu County 1876-1976 (Dunedin, 1977).

Ingram, C.W.N., New Zealand Shipwrecks, 1795-1970 (Wellington, 1972).

Johnson, Simon, The Home Front, Aspects of Civilian Patriotism in New Zealand during the First World War (M.A. Thesis, Massey University, Palmerston North, 1975).

Keesing’s Treaties and Alliances of the World, A Survey of International Treaties in Force and Communities of States (Keesing’s Publications Ltd., Bristol, England, 1968).

King, Jean A., The Lutheran Story, a brief history of the Lutheran Church in New Zealand 1843-1993, (Palmerston North, 1994).

Lauridsen, W.J., Linton 1889-1989, A School and District Centennial History, (Palmerston North, 1989).

Lusk, Stewart, Up the Kimbolton Road, The Story of a New Zealand Small Farm Settlement (Palmerston North, 1988).

McLennan, R., Glimpses into Early Normandale (Upper Hutt, 1993).

McLintock, A.H. (ed.), Encyclopedia of  New Zealand, Vol. II (Wellington, 1966).

Nipperdey, Germany from Napoleon to Bismarck, 1800-1866 (Germany, 1983, English translation, Dublin, 1996).

Orlow, Dietrich, A History of Modern Germany, 1871 to Present (Third Edition, New Jersey, 1995).

Panny,  Rolf, ‘German Settlement in the Lower North Island’, in James N. Bade (ed.) The German Connection, New Zealand and German-Speaking Europe in the Nineteenth Century, (Auckland, 1993).

Sanders, Michael, & Philip M. Taylor, British Propaganda during the First World War 1914-1918 (London, 1982)


Oral Sources

Jim Lundy, Pohangina

Olga Zeinert, Palmerston North

Further research contributed to the 1999 version by Gordon Simonsen, Palmerston North.





I would like to thank Olga Zeinert and Jim Lundy for their direct input into this Research Exercise. I would also like to thank Kathleen Eder, Fred Setter, Eileen Andersen and Arthur McNicol, all of Palmerston North, for their indirect contributions, along with a great many others of German descent who have shared their family stories with me over the years. Clearly there is another story still waiting to be told.

I would also like to thank my BA (Hons.) classmate, Eileen Barrett, for her help in translating from French the relevant parts of the 1899 Hague Convention; Ian Matheson, Palmerston North for, amongst many things, his help regarding Major Dugald Matheson; my cousin Rosemary McLennan-Pratt for her help regarding Somes Island; and my supervisor, Joel Hayward for his assistance with German translations.

Lastly, to prove that I remember them, I thank my children, Tanya and Kieran, for their tolerance over the last few months. - Val Burr, 1 November 1996.

© Val Burr, 2003