The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 79
A Glance Backward
A Glance Backward
he story of New Zealand's Camps is the story of New Zealand's rapid growth to sturdy manhood as a member of the British Imperial family. A few years ago New Zealand had the Volunteers—not properly encouraged to be an efficient fighting force—for local defence, and threw a dole of about £100,000 a year to the Mother Country as a contribution towards the maintenance of the Australasian Squadron. New Zealand prospered, had a very easy conscience—rather forgetfulness—about the cost of Great Britain's protection of these happy islands' peaceful comfort.
Since August. 1914, New Zealand has become a respectable member of the great Imperial family. Men of this Dominion can look their kinsmen of the Mother Country fairly in the face and not feel ashamed. The new manly status is expressed in one word: "Anzac."
To some veterans, still hale, still eager to help in winning for Britain and her Allies the world's greatest war, a half-century, in moments of vivid reverie, may seem as yesterday. They see themselves again in the forests of the North Island beside Imperial troops in final lights against some Maori tribes. To-day Maoris and New Zealand Britons are comrades in arms far overseas against the Empire's enemies.
New Zealand's first help to the Mother Country by an Expeditionary Force was the memorable achievement of the late Mr. Seddon—ten contingents for the war in South Africa, men who had a robustness, a courage and a resourcefulness which have been highly praised; but they were not trained soldiers in the European sense of the word. They were rather the promise, an earnest, of the great development to come some years later.
The next notable progress of New Zealand in developing a decent sense of defence was with the gift of a battle-cruiser (H.M.S. "New Zealand") in 1909, at the initiative of Sir Joseph Ward, then Prime Minister.
Within a fortnight of Britain's declaration of war on Germany—as the necessary sequel to Germany's violation of Belgian neutrality—New Zealand was able to send an Expeditionary Force (a compact little army) to hoist the page 8 British Flag in Germany's colony of Samoa. This was possible because New Zealand had substituted a definite national system of compulsory military training for the old haphazard order. The change was made in 1909 by Sir Joseph Ward, who had the co-operation of the present Prime Minister (Mr. Massey, then leader of the Opposition) and his colleague, Mr. Allen (now Minister of Defence).
The plan of an Expeditionary Force to aid the Mother Country was put lorward by Mr. Allen three years ago—and work quickly followed the words. Preparations were made, and the result is now well known; New Zealand was the first of the Overseas Dominions to equip and embark a force of trained men at the disposal of the Imperial authorities.page 9 page 10