A new history of New Zealand’s involvement in the First World War and its effect on the nation, New Zealand and the First World War 1914-1919 by Damien Fenton, was launched by Prime Minister John Key, Governor-General Lt Gen the Right Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae, and Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Christopher Finlayson at Government House in Wellington this evening.
The book aims to be the first accessible, single-volume history to explore New Zealand’s involvement in the war in its widest context. It is the flagship publication of the First World War Centenary History Programme, a partnership between the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, the New Zealand Defence Force, the NZRSA and Massey University, and is published by Penguin.
“Armistice Day is a very appropriate time to launch this history of New Zealand’s involvement in the First World War,” Mr Finlayson said. “It is a time to reflect on the war’s consequences for New Zealanders who served overseas, and those who remained at home, and how their collective experiences have shaped us a nation. As Damien Fenton notes in the book, the First World War was a universally shared experience in New Zealand. Rich or poor, Maori or Pakeha, few were able to avoid the country’s total commitment to the conflict.”
The government’s official First World War centennial programme is being coordinated by the WW100 Programme Office, an inter-agency office supported by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the New Zealand Defence Force and the Department of Internal Affairs.
“The goal of the WW100 programme is to provide a shared identity for New Zealand First World War centenary projects and activities, from official state ceremonies to community initiatives and personal projects,” Mr Finlayson said. “It aims to increase New Zealanders’ understanding of how our military heritage has shaped New Zealand’s identity and how it affected families and communities. It also will focus on our nation’s long history of contributing to global peace and security.”