Olaf Frederick Nelson

Statesman, Deceased Person

1883 – 1944


Who was Olaf Frederick Nelson?

Taisi Olaf Frederick Nelson, also known as Taisi Olaf, was a successful businessman and one of the founding leaders of the Mau movement for Samoan independence from colonial rule.

He was born on 24 February 1883 at Safune on the island of Savai'i, Samoa, and died in Apia on 28 February 1944. He was a successful planter, businessman and statesman. He was the son of a Swedish trader August Nilspeter Gustav Nelson and his Samoan wife, Sina Masoe, whose family had links to the Sa Tupua. His name Taisi is a matai chief title from his mother's family.

Nelson's early years saw him working in his father's business, and he became a successful merchant in his own right. He expanded his father's copra trading business throughout the islands, and by the time he was thirty five, Nelson was one of the wealthiest members of the Apia community. He was influential in both the Samoan and European communities.

Under German rule, when the country was called German Samoa, the colonial administrators treated Nelson as an equal. But after New Zealand seized control in 1914, Nelson was excluded and alienated by the new government. Despite being elected to the Legislative Council in 1924, he could do little as he and the other elected members were constantly overruled by the more numerous government appointees. This treatment turned Nelson into one of the major forces in the Samoan independence movement, known as the Mau.

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Feb 24, 1883
Also known as
  • Taisi Olaf Frederick Nelson
  • Taisi Olaf
  • Samoa
Feb 28, 1944

on July 23, 2013


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