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War: Impact on New Zealand society and identity

War is declared: New Zealand's first year

Auckland War Memorial Museum - Tāmaki Paenga Hira. PH-ALB-338.

This 'War: Impact on New Zealand Society and Identity' programme engages students with primary source materials and WWI objects to aid understanding of New Zealands response to the outbreak of war in 1914.

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 servicemen and women leave New Zealand shores, many for the first time, to serve in 'the war to end all wars'. Initial excitement over the prospect of adventure and serving the Empire saw 14,000 men volunteer to enlist in the first week. This session focuses on New Zealand’s involvement in the first year of war, from training in Trentham, to the capture of German Sāmoa and later the arrival in Egypt. Students are encouraged to think critically and ask questions in order to put themselves into the mind-set of the New Zealand soldier in 1914. Students will engage with primary source material, WWI objects and ephemera to prompt discussion and bring First World War narratives to life.

This session will cover the following:

  • The political forces that led to war being declared and how New Zealand came to be involved
  • New Zealand’s first act of the war and New Zealand presence in Sāmoa during the First World War
  • Patriotism and the rush to enlist
  • Who was the New Zealand soldier?
  • New Zealand and Pacific nations.