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 Paul Hansen - naturalised, interned, embargoed

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PostSubject: Paul Hansen - naturalised, interned, embargoed   Thu 16 May 2013, 04:40

In the Journal of the New Zealand Federation of Historical Societies is a story of a man who arrived in Auckland in 1896. His name was Paul Maximilian Adolf Hansen and he came as agent of a company formed in London to acquire mines and mining rights in NZ. He was born in Coburg, Bavaria where his parents had moved from Schliewig. His father was chaplain to the Danish navy and Paul Hansen always claimed he was Danish ethnicity, not German, and in 1911 became the Danish Vice-Consul in Auckland. He had been naturalised in 1899. The mining company had wound up in 1898 and he did various things in New Zealand: was agent for British Electric Traction to operate a tramway service in Auckland and set up others throughout the country; was managing director of Auckland Electric Tramways Co; developed a tea kiosk; established a real estate firm, married and had a child; was a member of the Manchester Unity Oddfellows, patron of various sporting and social clubs; and was generally high up in social circles.



Then New Zealand entered the war. His firm donated money to the war fund and Hansen stressed his Danish roots. To no avail – he was interned as an enemy alien on April 19 1916, and his naturalisation was revoked on May 27 1918. A road carrying his name had it changed. His naturalisation was reinstated in 1923, and he returned to real estate. His obituaries don’t mention his war internment.



What interested me most about this article was that the official documents surrounding his interment for three years are still embargoed until 2016, though the article said a request is underway for early release of the documents. What are the rules round such embargoes – are they put in at the time and not reviewed? or is there a review of them periodically? It’s seems a very long time for someone who had been in New Zealand for twenty years by then and hadn’t shown any sign of anti-Empire sentiments. And presumably there wasn’t anything fishy about the way the internment was carried out.



On the 15th May 1915 our paper has an short account of a mob attack at the start of the war. “A mob, estimated to be 3000-strong, attacks shops with German names in Wanganui. The mayor and several local police officers are injured while attempting to subdue the anti-German sentiments brought about by the war.” Wanganui seems a strange town – 4 years late the mayor (not necessarily the same one) shot a local poet, seriously wounding him. I was about to say I didn’t know why but I have looked this up and it is all very strange – a story of homosexuality, blackmail, set-ups . After being imprisoned for years the mayor was later murdered during May Day riots in Berlin in 1928. He wasn’t mentioned in local histories for 50 years. http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/wanganui-mayor-charles-mackay-shoots-poet-darcy-cresswell
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