A Carefully Arranged Propaganda Exercise
Keeping his father’s promise that his eldest son and heir would visit “when peace comes”, Edward Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII), undertook a tour of the Dominions to thank them for their effort and participation in World War One.
The Prince spent a month in Aotearoa, arriving in Auckland onboard the Renown. He toured the country in a lavishly decorated train and by motor coach. In total he visited 50 towns and cities between Auckland and Invercargill. The “dashing playboy” was mobbed by enthusiastic crowds wherever he went and is said to have shaken more than 20,000 hands.
In Auckland the Prince is presented with the 'Freedom of the City' by the Mayor and is given a guard of honour by returned soldiers. In Rotorua, guided by Māui Pōmare, the Prince shakes hands with members of Te Hokowhitu-a-Tū – the Māori Pioneer Battalion. Later he attended a huge reception at the Racecourse.
Supporting the men of Te Hokowhitu-a-Tū
Māori leader Sir Apirana Ngata fundraised for the men of the Māori Pioneer Battalion during the war, by establishing concert parties which toured the country performing and popularising waiata such as E pari rā and Pōkarekare āna which have remained enduring favourites today.
The money raised from these concerts was used to set up a trust for the men of Te Hokowhitu-a-Tū (the Māori name for the Pioneer Battalion.) In this radio interview, Remi Morrison of Te Arawa, a member of the committee which administered the Māori Soldier’s Trust, explains how they purchased Hereheretau sheep and cattle station, to generate an ongoing income for supporting the returned veterans and their families.
The Blue Boys
The impact of wounds, gas, disease and post-traumatic stress or shellshock, meant many returned war veterans would spend a long time in hospital for years after the war – sometimes well into the 1920s.
In the era before antibiotics, people could spend many months recovering from injuries and illness. Dedicated veterans’ hospitals were set up throughout Australia and New Zealand during the war.
In a 1957 radio interview, two New Zealanders, Frank Broad and Alan Kernohan – who were in the King George V Hospital in Rotorua – remembered the restrictions placed on the recovering soldiers.
Throughout the British Empire, men who were able to get out of bed, were known as “Blue Boys” because of their “hospital blues” – a uniform worn by the convalescing soldiers. This marked them out and was supposed to prevent the invalids sneaking off to local hotels for a drink, as civilians were prohibited from supplying alcohol to the men in blue… but there were ways around this, as the men recall.
'The first big dramatic work filmed and acted in the land of the Moa,' was Hinemoa (1914), New Zealand's first feature.
With a budget of £50, George Tarr directed Hinemoa over eight hectic days in Rotorua. Hera Tawhai and her husband Rua starred along with the Reverend Bennett's Maori Choir Party. With the film almost complete but the budget gone, George Tarr headed to Auckland to show it to his investors and distributor Mr Hayward. They loved it. Hayward wanted to show it immediately on 'the same terms as I'm paying now for Antony and Cleopatra.'
Hinemoa premiered at the Lyric Theatre, Auckland on 17 August 1914, during the first weeks of World War I. With only one print producer George Tarr travelled the film around the country for 5 months – doing good business.
He waiata mā te hoia kāinga ngākau koingō
I Runga o ngā Puke (From the Top of the Hills) is a waiata Māori written by Paraire Tomoana. He composed it at the request of a cousin, Ngahiwi Petiha, who wrote to Paraire while recuperating from a gunshot wound in an English hospital.
Paraire’s son, Taanga Tomoana, explains the story behind the lyrics and sings the waiata himself, in this radio interview in 1970.
Singing about Niuean soldiers who volunteered
The song ‘Lologo tau kautau Niue ne oatu he Felakutau Fakamua he Lalolagi’ was sung by the men from the Pacific island of Niue who volunteered to join New Zealand’s Māori Contingent in 1916. They served in France alongside Maori troops in the newly formed Pioneer Battalion, and suffered greatly from conditions colder than they had ever imagined.
Mutiny of the Bounty: Daybill
The daybill, or poster, for the first known cinematic dramatisation of the story Mutiny of the Bounty, directed by Raymond Longford (1916).