August 04, 2014
Guns and vigils mark war anniversary
The 100th anniversary of the start of World War 1 was marked this morning with a 100 gun salute in Wellington and a reenactment of the reading of the proclamation of war at parliament.
Historian Monty Soutar, who is on the panel organising the next four years of commemorations, says while some iwi held back because of lingering grievance over the colonial wars and subsequent loss of their lands, others were quick to offer support.
"Te Arawa was the first. They knew it was coming and so a number of chiefs sent a telegram through to the prime minister offering the young men of Te Arawa to the war or to the forxce that was going to be constructed by the government, and othewrs followed," Dr Soutar says.
About 2500 Maori from a total population of about 50,000 served in the war, mostly in the Maori Pioneer Battalion, with a casualty rate of about 10 percent.
Meanwhile, Peace Movement Aoteroa in conjunction with the Quakers, churches and faith groups are organising peace vigils around the country this evening to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of World War One.
They say the best way to honour the war dead is to end war. www.ww1.org.nz
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