Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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"Now the War is Over, We Have Something Else to Worry Us": New Zealand Children's Responses to Crises, 1914-1918

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posted on 2021-11-12, 12:15 authored by Bennett, Charlotte Jayne Sylvia

World War One has long been identified as a key moment in early twentieth-century history. This conflict, however, was not the only dramatic event that occurred during the mid-to-late 1910s. A deadly influenza virus swept across the world between 1918 and 1919, and this global health crisis proved particularly devastating for those countries who had already suffered through more than four years of warfare. Children were ever-present on New Zealand's home front, facing both the First World War and then the influenza pandemic in 1918. Yet, despite their significant presence within this environment, little is known about children's experiences during this tumultuous period in New Zealand's past. This thesis aims to deepen understandings of children's priorities and concerns between 1914 and 1918 through an investigation of youth reactions to World War One and the 1918 flu. A wide range of sources have been utilised in order to achieve insight into the lives of these historical figures. These include letters written by children during the mid-to-late 1910s, school magazines and religious publications directed at youth, and recollections of children's experiences from this period as captured through oral histories. Ultimately, it is asserted that New Zealand youth engaged with these events to the extent that they impacted children's worlds. Children's concerns and priorities, while often differing from those held by adults during the same period, were far from universal. Emotional and geographical proximity and age all played a significant role in mediating and varying children's exposure and responses to crises between 1914 and 1918.


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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Master of Arts

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of History, Philosophy, Political Science and International Relations


Hunter, Kate