conscientious objection

Events In History


Conscientious objection

  • Conscientious objection

    There are always supporters and opponents of a country fighting a war. Over 2500 conscientious objectors lost their civil rights in New Zealand for refusing to serve in the First World War.

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  • Page 2 – Military Service Act

    The Military Service Act 1916 allowed limited exemption from service. Men who were exempted had to be prepared to provide alternative non-combatant service in New Zealand or

  • Page 3 – Socialist objection

    Many socialist and labour leaders criticised the First World War as an imperialist war and strongly opposed conscription. New Zealand workers, they argued, had no quarrel with

  • Page 4 – Pacifist objection

    Pacifists and Christian socialists opposed the war on moral or religious grounds.

  • Page 5 – Māori objection

    Māori served in the First World War in the Native Contingent. At home, there was some strong Māori opposition to conscription.

First World War - overview

  • First World War - overview

    Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and his wife Sophie were assassinated in the Bosnian city of Sarajevo. This was a key event in sparking the Great War of 1914–18.

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  • Page 5 - The war at homeNew Zealand played a small but useful part in the British Empire's war effort, and its essential war aim was achieved with the defeat of Germany and its allies in late 1918. New

Maori and the First World War

  • Maori and the First World War

    Māori reactions to serving in the First World War largely reflected iwi experiences of British actions in the 19th century.

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  • Page 3 - Resistance to conscriptionIn his recruitment waiata, 'Te ope tuatahi', Ngata made it clear that the replacement recruits that he and his colleagues had raised all came from the East Coast tribes of Mahaki,


  • Fraser, Peter

    Peter Fraser, New Zealand’s wartime PM, led the nation for nine years. Respected rather than loved like Savage, many experts rate him our finest PM.

  • Bain, Wilhelmina Sherriff

    Wilhelmina Bain was a feminist and peace activist who gained notoriety for her outspoken views against New Zealand’s participation in the South African War.

  • Burton, Ormond Edward

    Ormond Burton was a Methodist minister and prominent pacifist who developed anti-war views after serving in the First World War.

  • Baxter, Archibald McColl Learmond

    Archibald Baxter's memoir, We will not cease, is a powerful account of dissent and its consequences, and has become a classic of New Zealand literature.