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War: Impact on New Zealand society and identity

New Zealand and the First World War

Auckland War Memorial Museum - Tāmaki Paenga Hira.

The First World War had a profound effect on New Zealand and forever changed the country's perception of itself and its place in the world. The war saw almost 100,000 New Zealand service men and women leave New Zealand shores, many for the first time, to serve in 'the war to end all wars’.

In this session students will consider how New Zealand's involvement in the First World War has shaped the lives and identity of individuals, communities and our nation. Through hands-on experiences with WWI objects, questioning and critical thinking, students will learn about the daily life of the New Zealand soldier during WWI and the role other New Zealanders have played in this major global conflict. Objects are used as a 'point of departure' to prompt discussion, draw conclusions, and bring First World War narratives to life.

This session will cover:

  • the political forces that led to war being declared and how New Zealand came to be involved
  • the role of New Zealanders at home and at war in a major global conflict
  • the different technologies and equipment used by the soldiers and how this impacted their daily life
  • the post-war impact of WWI on New Zealand society and identity
  • the function of war memorials today.