The first war did not spare Tahiti. The cannon at the left of Bougainville bust comes from the gunboat La Zélée. In 1914 two German destroyers, the Gneisenau and the Scharnhorst, coming from the Chinese Sea, arrived in Papeete pretending to obtain coal supplies. But the squadron leader Destremau ordered to burn the coal storehouse. As they saw the black thick smoke rose up in the sky, the Germans started to blaster the Zélée loophole which has docked. Some bombshells damaged civil buildings, at that time made up of wood, creating a huge fire which destructed one third of the town. Thus Germans leaved without coal.
Groupe de Recherche en Archéologie navale. MAZELLIER Philippe Mémorial polynésien tome V . DANIELSON Bergt Tahiti p 74