O’Malley, Vincent: What a nation chooses to remember and forget: the war for New Zealand’s history

O’Malley, Vincent

What a nation chooses to remember and forget: the war for New Zealand’s history‘, Guardian Australia, 18 October 2016

Interesting article for itself and for comparisons with Australia. The author’s book, The Great War for New Zealand Waikato 1800-2000, has just been published.

For many Pākehā (non-Māori) New Zealanders the wars [in New Zealand 1845-72] were part of a troubled past they preferred to forget. Anzac Day, by contrast, provides a ready opportunity to rally around the flag, patriotically remembering those who died at Gallipoli or on the Western Front. And this has been reflected in government priorities. According to one estimate, central funding for centennial first world war activities is at least 100 times greater than was made available for the Waikato war sesquicentenary …

What a nation chooses to remember and forget speaks to its priorities. Those who tell Māori to “stop living in the past” or to just “get over it” rarely apply the same logic to first world war commemorations.

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