'There is no part of the British Commonwealth to which separatism is more fatal or familiarity more essential than this sun-kissed Dominion of sturdy Britons and loyal natives, which finds a market for its exports almost exclusively in the Motherland'.
Lord Bledisloe, 'Empire Readjustment', in Ideals of Nationhood, 1935.
Empire Day was a special cause of Charles Bathurst, Lord Bledisloe, our Governor-General between 1930 and 1935. A president of the Empire Canners' Association, he championed imperial trade and empire preference. Bledisloe's concept of 'Nation in Empire' tried to reconcile strengthening our understanding of New Zealand culture and history with membership of the British Commonwealth of Nations. Buy New Zealand goods, he told housewives during the Depression, but if that was not possible, buy British. An Empire that traded together stayed together.
Bledisloe returned to Britain in 1935 and became president of the Empire Day Movement. For many years New Zealand newspapers printed his Empire Day messages.
After the war a reinvigorated Empire Day Movement briefly improved its work in British schools and instituted an Empire Youth Sunday Movement. But Bledisloe's death in 1957, and the unravelling of the Empire, took the wind from its sails.