Australasia 1884: New Guinea Protectorates
Concerned about increasing German activity in northeastern New Guinea and the neighboring islands, the British colony of Queensland declared its annexation of New Guinea in 1883. This action was rejected by the British government and it was only in November 1884, following a pledge of financial support by the Australian colonies and just three days after the Germans declared a protectorate over the northeast, that Britain established a protectorate over southeastern New Guinea.
31 Oct 1881–17 Apr 1886 Opening of the King Country▲
In July 1881 King Tāwhiao and 300 followers emerged from the Māori King Country and toured the Waikato, proclaiming that he came in peace and—in October—assured the New Zealand government that he would not support Te Whiti. One year later, Tāwhiao signed a truce with the government, but repeatedly rejected proposals to open up the King Country to settlers. However, in 1883 he was circumvented by local chiefs, who agreed to the passage of the North Island’s main trunk railway line through their lands. With the building of the railway and the erosion of Tāwhiao’s authority, the independence of the King Country soon came to an end.
5–8 Nov 1881 Invasion of Parihaka▲
From 1869 the Taranaki Māori chief and prophet Te Whiti had led a campaign of passive resistance to land confiscation and settler pressure in the Taranaki. This was ended in November 1881 when the New Zealand government sent armed constabulary forces to seize Te Whiti’s settlement at Parihaka and arrest Te Whiti himself. Throughout the ordeal, Te Whiti told his people not to resist, even preparing food for the invaders. He was subsequently trialed and jailed in New Plymouth, but released in March 1883.
4 Apr 1883 Queensland’s annexation of New Guinea▲
On 24 February 1883 the premier of the British colony of Queensland, Thomas McIlwraith, dispatched a cable to the colonial secretary in London, asking for the annexation of New Guinea to Queensland. Without waiting for a reply, the premier sent the police magistrate, Henry Chester, from Thursday Island to Port Moresby, where he raised the British flag and proclaimed the annexation of eastern New Guinea in April. Disregarding McIlwraith’s fears that the Germans were about to expand into the territory, the British disallowed Queensland’s premature move in July.
3 Nov 1884 German New Guinea▲
German merchants began operations in New Britain in the 1870s and by the early 1880s there was mounting pressure to establish formal control over the region. On 3 November 1884 the German flag was raised at Herbertshöhe (Kokopo) in New Britain and a protectorate was proclaimed over the northeast coast of New Guinea (named as ‘Kaiser-Wilhelmsland’) and the New Britain Archipelago (renamed as the ‘Bismarck Archipelago’). The new protectorate was placed under the administration of the New Guinea Company the following year.
6 Nov 1884 British New Guinea▲
Following the British rejection of Queensland’s annexation of New Guinea, Premier McIlwraith called for the establishment of the first Australian Intercolonial Convention in Sydney in November–December 1883. At the convention, Britain’s Australian colonies called for the annexation of New Guinea and pledged to financially support the action. This persuaded the British government to proclaim a protectorate over southeastern New Guinea in November 1884.