The magic word ‘Anzac’

On 25 April we will stop to remember those who served in the conflicts New Zealand has participated in, from the world wars to Iraq and Afghanistan, via Korea, Vietnam and others, and not forgetting New Zealand’s 19th century wars and the Boer War.

“Indian Troops at Gas Mask Drill.,” by Unknown. The Imperial War Museum via First World War Poetry Digital Archive, accessed April 13, 2017, http://ww1lit.nsms.ox.ac.uk/ww1lit/collections/item/3616.
“Indian Troops at Gas Mask Drill.,” by Unknown. The Imperial War Museum via First World War Poetry Digital Archive, accessed April 13, 2017, http://ww1lit.nsms.ox.ac.uk/ww1lit/collections/item/3616.

There is much to remember, and this year the focus will be on the 100th anniversaries of the Battle of Messines in June and Passchendaele in October, in particular 12 October which saw more than 800 New Zealanders killed in a single day.

As the First World War disappears from living memory, we are fortunate to have access to historic newspapers either on microfilm at Central Library Manchester or at Papers Past. They can show us how Anzac Day has been commemorated and represented over the past century. An editorial from The Press on 25 April 1917 explains that the “magic word ‘Anzac’… tells us how Australians and New Zealanders fought and died shoulder to shoulder in the cause of freedom” and that “time has not yet mellowed the memory of that day.”

CoverThe editorial also makes a passing reference to some of the Indian troops who served during the Gallipoli campaign. Around 16,000 individuals from the Indian Army served during the campaign and their neglected story is well told in Die in battle, do not despair: the Indians on Gallipoli, 1915 by Peter Stanley.

Ever growing access to different sources and new publications means that we can uncover and share more stories than ever about the First World War and other conflicts New Zealand has been involved in.

Lord Jellicoe inspects the First Canterbury Guard of Honour, ANZAC Day, foundation stone ceremony, Bridge of Remembrance [25 Apr. 1923] CCL PhotoCD 15, IMG0023
Lord Jellicoe inspects the First Canterbury Guard of Honour, ANZAC Day, foundation stone ceremony, Bridge of Remembrance [25 Apr. 1923] CCL PhotoCD 15, IMG0023

Anzac resources

This article was published in issue 3 of our quarterly magazine, uncover – huraina. Read it online.

Mothers of the Present: Christchurch women and the vote

On 19 September 1893 women in New Zealand got the vote. Campaigners, led by Kate Sheppard, had fought for years for Māori and Pakeha women’s suffrage.

The Press editorial on 20 September 1893 stated:

We believe that a very large number of women do not desire to vote. [1]

Election day was Tuesday 28 November 1893. The Press reported:

The pretty dresses of the ladies and their smiling faces lighted up the polling booths most wonderfully, and one envied the returning officer and poll clerks whose duty it was to pass in review such a galaxy of beauty.[2]

About 10,000 Christchurch women voted, with only a few incidents:

At the Provincial Council Chamber some peculiar scenes took place. In one instance a man and his wife and daughter came to vote. The man first wished to go into the recess to instruct his wife how to vote. The poll clerks removed him. Then he went into where his daughter was recording her vote and wished to instruct her. This also he was prevented from doing much to his chagrin.[3]

40 years later the first woman was elected into the New Zealand Parliament. Christchurch woman Elizabeth McCombs had been heavily involved in working for the community. She won the Lyttelton seat in a by-election September 1933, after the death of her husband James. She held the seat until her death in June 1935. [4]

Elizabeth Reid McCombs, née Henderson (1873-1935) [between 1919 and 1925] CCL PhotoCD 6, IMG0028
Elizabeth Reid McCombs, née Henderson (1873-1935) [between 1919 and 1925] CCL PhotoCD 6, IMG0028
100 years after women got the vote, the Kate Sheppard Memorial was unveiled by Governor-General Dame Catherine Tizard. The words on the Memorial end with the words of The White Ribbon editor, Nelly Perryman, from 1918:

We, the mothers of the present need to impress upon our children’s minds how the women of the past wrestled and fought, suffered and wept, prayed and believed, agonised and won for them the freedom they enjoy today.[5]

Kate Sheppard memorial
Kate Sheppard memorial. Flickr 2014-09-19-IMG_2212

Suffrage resources

References

[1] Woman’s Franchise, The Press, Volume L, Issue 8592, 20 September 1893, page 4

[2] Polling Day in Christchurch, The Press, Volume L, Issue 8652, 29 November 1893, page  5

[3] Polling Day in Christchurch, The Press, Volume L, Issue 8652, 29 November 1893, page  5

[4] Death of Mrs E. R. McCombs, The Press, Volume LXXI, Issue 21493, 7 June 1935, page 13

[5] The Kate Sheppard Memorial

This feature was first published in our quarterly magazine, uncover – huraina. It is our newest channel to help you explore and celebrate the resources, content, events, programmes and people of Christchurch City Libraries, Ngā Kete Wānanga o Ōtautahi.

My Library – James Daniels

Here’s the extended version of our interview in uncover – huraina with James Daniels, radio host of The Breeze.

James Daniels

What words spring to mind when you hear ‘library’?

Valuable, in that a library houses books, which are beautiful. Vital and Valid, as a community asset with easy online access, in-house helpful staff and providing a haven for people to not just enjoy books, but to just enjoy ‘being’.

What role does the library play for you and your whānau?

My moko read a lot and go to libraries, my wife reads a lot but she buys. For me, I buy books too, but I prefer going to the library – that helps me think about books. It motivates me to search out different books and save them to my booklist for future reading.

My favourite library is…

I love my local library at Parklands. The size, the scale, the building, the café and the ability to get any book brought through from any of the other libraries. Also love New Brighton Library, it’s pretty, in a great location by the pier. I also love Shirley Library which is on my way home from work. I’m not a one library man!

What do you see as libraries greatest contribution to community?

Just being there. They’re great places for people to meet, to use the vernacular ‘to hang out’, with free wifi access – it’s fantastic that we have so many libraries. I’m so pleased to see that Sumner Library and Community Centre are being brought back onto the scene – that’s my old community. Community centres should be based in libraries.

What keeps you in Christchurch?

Its history, pre- and post- colonisation; Christchurch is my home town. I’m a Brighton Boy, went to school here and really, really love living on the east side. Love that Christchurch is a sporting city, strong academically, with a really large chunk of the NZ economy driven from here. Loving the increasing diversity the rebuild is bringing; I love my city!

CoverCoverCover

Favourite books and why

Biographies are fascinating… and I love historical novels.  I started with the Poldark series by Winston Graham – I went to Cornwall the first time I visited Britain.  Then I gravitated to reading history with authors like James Belich… and then Michael King’s History of NZ – that blew me away – should be compulsory reading for all students.  I’ve also read most of James A Michener, Frederick Forsyth and Bill Bryson.  And the libraries’ magazine – great choices!  Always go for Train, Plane and Car magazines, Esquire and Vanity Fair!

What is your earliest library memory?

The old New Brighton Library back in Shaw Ave – the librarians seemed like serious “old women” (I was very young then!).  Everything was very quiet.  Institutional.  It was a real occasion going to the library – maybe people even dressed up to go?  I remember all the little filing cards and it was a real process getting a book, the librarians flicking through the cards to look up books, the rubber ‘date due’ stamps and the ceremony of it all.

Our new magazine uncover – huraina

Kia ora and welcome to the first edition of our new quarterly magazine, uncover – huraina. It is our newest channel to help you explore and celebrate the resources, content, events, programmes and people of Christchurch City Libraries, Ngā Kete Wānanga o Ōtautahi.