Mein Smith, Philippa: The ‘NZ’ in Anzac: different remembrance and meaning

Philippa Mein Smith

The “NZ” in Anzac: different remembrance and meaning‘, Journal of First World War Studies, vol. 7, 2016, pp. 1-19

This article examines differences of emphasis in Australia and New Zealand in the rituals of Anzac Day, the anniversary of the Gallipoli landings on 25 April 1915. Whereas Anzac Day in New Zealand is solemn, with a focus on the laying of wreaths and services at war memorials and churches, in Australia the day is distinguished more by marches of returned servicemen, cheered by large crowds. By exploring the emphasis on different components of what are shared rituals, on the march of the veterans and the laying of wreaths, the article aims to outline and explain how and why Anzac Day is more funereal in New Zealand. It proceeds to highlight the “NZ” in Anzac through a study of myth, ritual, memorialisation, heroes, and reinvention, and finds that, contrary to accepted views, the conscription debate in Australia is insufficient to account for this divergence of emphasis in Anzac formalities from 1916. Rather the article suggests that the coincidence of the South African War and Australian Federation at the dawn of the twentieth century, different nationalisms, and political, social, and cultural disparities between the dominions provided the context for divergent scripts of remembrance and meaning enacted in Anzac Day rituals since the First World War. (abstract)

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