This information has come from the website: http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/first-world-war/page-8

Story: First World War


Page 8 – Impact of the war

Military deaths as percentage of manpower in the First World War
Military deaths as percentage of manpower in the First World War

Military deaths as percentage of manpower in the First World War
Certificate of service
Certificate of service

Certificate of service (1st of 2)
Pen used for signing of Treaty of Versailles
Pen used for signing of Treaty of Versailles

Pen used for signing of Treaty of Versailles
 Māori memorial, Whanganui
Māori memorial, Whanganui

Māori memorial, Whanganui
Dedication of the National War Memorial, Wellington
Dedication of the National War Memorial, Wellington

Dedication of the National War Memorial, Wellington (1st of 3)


Of the First World War’s many consequences for New Zealand, the human cost was the most traumatic. Among the dominions of the British Empire, New Zealand had the highest percentage (5%) of its military-age men killed. The loss of 18,166 men and women severely affected the small community. Two-thirds (12,483) had fallen in the 30-month Western Front campaign, which remains New Zealand’s most costly. Of those who survived, many were maimed or suffered from shell-shock (post-traumatic stress disorder), imposing a longstanding burden on their families and communities.

Positive perception

Despite the fearful cost, New Zealanders rejoiced in their country’s part in the successful outcome. The British Empire had triumphed, and appeared to be stronger than ever. Its extent grew with the incorporation of enemy territories. New Zealand got some too: it satisfied a long-held aspiration when it received control of Western Samoa in the peace settlement, as a mandate of the new League of Nations. The threat that Germany posed in Europe – and the Pacific – had seemingly been removed by the outcome.
New Zealanders viewed their contribution – and sacrifice – as part of the price of empire. When the possibility of renewed war with Turkey arose in 1922, during the Chanak (Çanakkale) crisis, thousands flocked to the army again, eager for another go at ‘Johnny Turk’. Only later did sentiment turn against the futility and apparently useless sacrifice that trench warfare had involved.

International status

New Zealand’s status in the world was affected by the war. Dominion leaders had been called into conference with their British counterparts from 1916, reflecting dominion contributions to the British war effort. This created a sense of partnership within the empire. In 1919 New Zealand signed the Treaty of Versailles as a constituent part of the British Empire delegation. More significantly, it joined the League of Nations as a member in its own right – an important step on its path to independence.

Economy

New Zealand emerged from war in reasonable economic shape. Its economy had been protected, even enhanced, by the bulk-purchase arrangements with Britain. Despite labour shortages, farmers had been favoured by the certainty of sustained high prices. Infrastructure had been expanded to meet wartime needs.

Restricting temptation

The six o’clock closing time of pubs was an unlikely legacy of the war. It was introduced as a temporary measure to prevent soldiers who went off duty from Trentham camp at 5 p.m. from over-indulging in the evenings. It was said that the measure would also reduce temptation to a still worse form of vice – visiting women of ‘ill-repute’. In 1918 the measure was made permanent and was not finally abolished until 1967.

But not all sectors of the economy benefited from the war, and this resulted in industrial disharmony. The New Zealand Labour Party emerged on the left of New Zealand politics as a channel for such discontent.

Legacy

Having suffered no more than an incursion into its territorial waters, New Zealand faced no reconstructive task in the aftermath of war. Its landscape was changed only by the numerous memorials to the fallen that were erected by towns throughout New Zealand, and the National War Memorial in Wellington. The literary landscape was enriched by a flow of memoirs by participants, as well as by inadequate official histories.
The cultural landscape was enriched by:
  • Anzac Day, which commemorated the landing at Gallipoli but which was a day of remembrance for all who had fallen
  • the Anzac legend, born on the slopes of Gallipoli and focused on the prowess of the citizen-soldiers of Australia and New Zealand
  • an increasingly influential veterans’ organisation, the Returned Soldiers’ Association (RSA).

National identity

Perhaps the most lasting impact of the war was on New Zealand’s sense of itself. A New Zealand identity had been emphasised during the war, but one within the imperial family. New Zealanders compared themselves with British and others and did not find themselves wanting. Most New Zealanders took pride in the fact that they had done their bit – even overdone it – in the war. In their minds, they had stood the greatest test to confront them so far.
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This information has come from:
http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/war/new-zealanders-in-belgium/remembering



Page 9 – Remembering the dead



During and after the First World War, New Zealanders on the battlefields and at home reflected on their country’s role in the conflict with a mixture of sadness and pride. The huge losses in Belgium left deep scars and forged an enduring bond between the two countries. War cemeteries in Belgium and hundreds of memorials back in New Zealand serve as permanent reminders of the terrible toll of 1917.

Dealing with death


Slide show of death on the battlefield
Slide show of death on the battlefield

Battlefield funerals

In 1914 most New Zealanders made sense of the costs of war through the idea of the good Christian death. The consolation and ritual within this, though, could not prepare people for the scale and manner of death experienced on the Western Front. The great distances separating New Zealand soldiers from their families and communities back home added to the difficulties of dealing with grief.
When a soldier was killed, his comrades formed the primary circle of mourners. Back in New Zealand, the grief of mourning families was compounded by the absence of a body or funeral. In the case of those reported missing, families faced an agonising wait for news of their loved ones’ fate. More ...

Buried in Belgian soil


war cemeteries
war cemeteries

War cemeteries

More than 4600 New Zealand servicemen are buried or commemorated in around 80 cemeteries in Belgium, which are situated close to where men fell in battle. Tyne Cot Cemetery is the largest Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery on the Western Front. It also contains the graves of more New Zealanders – 520 (322 of them unidentified) – than any other First World War cemetery. The New Zealand Memorial Apse in the cemetery's Memorial to the Missing commemorates the 1176 New Zealanders who have no known grave. More ...

War memorials


Messines road sign
Messines road sign

Statues and symbols

In the years following the end of the war, New Zealanders erected around 500 civic war memorials to those who died in the conflict. With most of New Zealand's war dead buried overseas, local memorials acted as surrogate tombs, places for families to grieve for their loved ones. Many of these memorials commemorate Messines, Passchendaele and other places, events and people associated with the Belgian battlefields. More ...

A memorial on rails


Passchendaele train
Passchendaele train

Memorial locomotive

Decorative or utilitarian, some of New Zealand's First World War memorials were more unusual than others. In 1925 the minister of railways, Gordon Coates, agreed to a proposal to name a steam locomotive ‘in memory of those members of the New Zealand Railways who fell in the Great War’. More ...