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Māori, Pasifika and World War One

22 Dec 2015

Our Subjects / Ā Mātou Kaupapa:
History, Māori, Society and culture

Where can I find information about Māori and Pasifika involvement in World War One? 

LEVEL: Intermediate / Secondary

Māori and Pacific Islanders were heavily involved in World War One, both at Gallipoli and on the Western Front in France and Belgium. Due to the ongoing centenary of that war there are a growing number of resources available which acknowledge their contribution.

Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand is an excellent starting point for all questions about New Zealand Aotearoa. If we scroll down to the bottom of the page we can see that the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well-researched and reliable. They have an article about 'Māori and overseas wars', which includes a general overview about 'Māori and the First World War' and also information about the Māori Contingent in the war. To navigate to this area from the homepage, select 'sections' from the options, then choose 'Stories A-Z' and the the letter 'N' - scroll down until you come to the story Ngā pakanga ki tāwāhi – Māori and overseas wars.

You may also be interested in this article about First World War waiata

HOT TIP: Te Ara links sometimes take you to the ‘Short Story’. Remember to click on the ‘Full Story’ on the left hand side of the page if you want more in-depth information. You can also look at the ‘All images and media’ link for pictures and photos related to your story.

NZHistory is another great website for information about New Zealand Aotearoa. Again the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage. There is a wealth of information about Māori and Pasifika involvement in World War One on this site. To navigate to the First World War (another name for World War One) area choose 'New Zealand at war' from the three links under the main introduction. Next, choose 'First World War' from the options. You will find an article about 'Māori and the First World War' in the 'Home Front' section. This is a good place to find out about Māori opposition to the war. 

Another useful article can be found in the NZEF Units section. 'Māori Units of the NZEF(New Zealand Expeditionary Force) looks at the Māori units which served overseas during the war. Also in this section is an article about 'Pacific Islanders in the NZEF'. In the sections about 'Commemoration' of the war and it's 'Aftermath' are articles about 'Anzac Day in the Pacific' and aftermath of the war in the Pacific

Te Papa Tongawera is the national museum of New Zealand. Part of their website is a blog written by expert staff members. An interesting post on this blog answers the question 'Were there Pacific Islanders at Gallipoli?

HOT TIP: We like sites like this because they’re reliable. You can tell because of their web address – they have either .govt or .ac, meaning they are from government or educational organisations. They’re also New Zealand sites, so relevant for us.

If you wish to go into depth about Māori involvement in the war the official history of this topic, originally published in 1926, has been digitised and is available as part of Victoria University's New Zealand Electronic Text Collection. 'The Maoris in the Great War' can be found in the First World War section. Remember, this book was written along time ago now and will be a product of it's time. 

Have a look at our Hot Topic about World War One for further information about the war

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