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The Third New Zealand Division Histories

These volumes are the histories of the deployment of the Third New Zealand Division in the Pacific during the Second World War.

The activities of the Third New Zealand Division during the War in the Pacific are covered in brief in the Pacific volume of the Official History of New Zealand in the Second World War. However, the Pacific campaign resulted in a series of publications which more fully cover events featuring New Zealanders in the Second World War.

In the context of New Zealand's participation in the War, the scale and significance of the involement in the Pacific theatre is often forgotten. As Peter Cooke observes in his article in Forts and Works, New Zealand's Pacific War Historiography, there were 38,440 embarkations to the Pacific during the War by 1944, compared to 59,390 embarkations to the Northen Hemisphere, and he comments: In man-gun-days, a leading artillery historian remarked recently, the Pacific War was a small affair. It was not small, however, if we look at the numbers of soldiers serving at one time […] but still the efforts of B Force and 3 Div and the air and naval detachments there have fared badly in terms of Official Histories.

Included here are the thirteen volumes that make up the entire Third Division history in the Second World War, along with the Pacific Commandos volume, rejected for inclusion as part of the project, but eventually published anyway by the series publisher, AH & AW Reed.

Also included is Peter Cooke's article, New Zealand's Pacific War Historiography, which provides necessary background to the series, and details of production and authorship which were not present when the volumes were originally published.

As these volumes were printed in relatively small quantities — 2,500–6,000 each, for a total of 45,500 — and are now often difficult to obtain, the New Zealand Electronic Text Collection in collaboration with the Canterbury Third Division Association is glad to be able to make these histories more widely available online.