The royal couple are standing in the back of a specially converted jeep as it drives past thousands of children gathered in Athletic Park. As their car passes the children, they all swarm en masse to the other side of the field to get another look as the jeep turns a corner.
Whether as school cadet officers or supporters of saluting the flag, teachers did much to set the moral tone of New Zealand schools before and during the war. Many hundreds were also aware of the need for men to enlist
During the war children were encouraged to be ‘cheerful’ and ‘helpful’, to ease the worry and sorrow of the mothers and wives of soldiers. There were also many practical ways in which children could help the war effort.
The head of the Department of Education believed that ‘moral purpose should dominate the spirit of the whole school life.’ Schools and teachers were to shape children into productive, moral and healthy citizens prepared to serve their country in both peace and war.
Schools and children were quickly called into action at the outset of the First World War in 1914. Developing patriotic, fit and healthy citizens was seen as important to the survival of the country and the Empire. Hundreds of teachers joined the NZEF, including many from sole-teacher schools. Almost 200 never returned.