Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search


Declaration of World War One was birth of nation

RSA National Media Release
30 July 2014


Declaration of World War One was birth of nation

On 4 August 2014, New Zealand will commemorate the centenary of Great Britain’s declaration of war on Germany and the beginning of New Zealand’s involvement in World War One.

RSA National President, Don McIver, says that 100 years ago few New Zealanders could have imagined the magnitude of the trauma to come, or the lasting impact it would have on our nation.

“103,000 New Zealand men and women served overseas during WWI. Many who volunteered when the war was first declared, believed they were about to embark on a great adventure and told their loved ones they’d be home by Christmas,” Mr McIver says.

“Four years later, by the close of the war, more than 18,000 New Zealanders had fallen and we had lost 5% of our men of military age. Many of those who returned had trouble reintegrating back into society after the horrors of war. The price of international peace and security was massive for a small and pioneering country such as we were then.”

Britain’s declaration of war marks not only the beginning of New Zealand’s involvement in WWI as part of the British Empire, but also the birth of New Zealand as a nation.

“Our national identity is built upon our military heritage. For the first time in our history we travelled en masse through foreign lands, interacting with men and women of different nations under the immense pressure of war. We were tested and we discovered the bonds that make us unique. New Zealand gained a sense of self,” says Mr McIver.

“Today the RSA champions the values that held us together during war and built our society after. Compassion, comradeship, courage and commitment are the Anzac values that we as Kiwis continue to identify with.”

RSAs across the country are working with their communities on a wide range of local events and services to commemorate the outbreak of WWI, from re-enactments of troops leaving for the war in Wairarapa and Nelson, to an exhibition of over 5,000 memorabilia items donated by Rangiora RSA to their local museum.

Mr McIver believes it’s fitting that people draw together to remember their local stories of bravery and sacrifice in the ways which are most meaningful to them.

“The RSA feels honoured to help communities and families pay tribute to those that put their lives at risk safeguarding and protecting our freedom.”

In the first national service of the WWI centenary period, Mr McIver will recite The Ode at a ceremony held on Parliament Grounds, where the announcement of the declaration of war was made to a crowd of over 10,000 New Zealanders in 1914.

“The simple words of The Ode continue to stir emotions and reinforce to all that the sacrifices our men and women made will not be forgotten. We will remember them.”


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


13/10: 40 Years Since The Māori Land March Arrived At Parliament

Traffic into Wellington came to a standstill as thousands of Māori and Pākehā streamed along the motorway into the capital on 13 October 1975, concluding the Māori land march to parliament. More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: Before The Quakes

Remembering Christchurch: Voices from decades past: The Christchurch I lived in for my first 23 years was where four-year-olds walked alone to kindergarten, crossing roads empty of all but a couple of cars per hour. My primary school, Ilam, was newly built on a grassy paddock surrounded by rural land... More>>

6-11 October: New Zealand Improvisation Festival Hits Wellington

Wellingtonians will have a wide selection of improv to feast on with a jam packed programme containing 22 shows, three companies from Australia, two companies from Auckland, one from Nelson, one from Christchurch and seven from Wellington. More>>


Bird Of The Year: New Zealanders Asked To Vote For Their Favourite Native Bird

Te Radar, David Farrier, Heather du-Plessis Allan and Duncan Garner are just some of the New Zealanders championing their favourite native bird in Forest & Bird’s annual Bird of the Year competition, which kicks off today.. More>>


Werewolf Film: It Follows - Panic In Detroit

Philip Matthews: When you heard last month that Wes Craven had died and you wanted to pay homage, you could have sat down with any one of five of his films that helped reinvent American horror at least three times over three decades... Or you could just have watched one of the greatest recent horror films that would probably not exist without Craven. More>>


Werewolf Music: Searching For The White Wail - On Art Pepper, etc

If the word ‘hipster’ means anything – which it arguably doesn’t – it seems to be more of an impulse than a condition. One always headed for the margins, and away from the white-bred, white-bread mainstream... More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news