19 things you need to know about ANZAC Day

By   /   April 25, 2016  /   52 Comments

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1. That the New Zealand wars fought between the British Crown and Maori were far more significant in shaping this country than the catastrophic blunder of Gallipoli.

2. That most Maori (aside from Ngati Porou) were hostile to fighting for the King of England in WWI after being stripped of their land a half century earlier by the same British Crown.

3. That government minister Maui Pomare faced a “whakapohane” (baring of the buttocks) by Waikato Maori when he encouraged them to join the war.

4. That many Waikato Maori were forcibly sent for training and several spent many months in Mt Eden prison for refusing conscription.

5. That Maungapohatu in the Urewera was invaded and Tuhoe leader Rua Kenana tried and imprisoned (the pretext was a charge of illegally supplying alcohol) for his outspoken opposition to Maori volunteering for WWI.

6. That WWI was a clash of empires with each side fighting on behalf of their own capitalist elites.

7. That 10% of the New Zealand population went to fight in WWI and invaded countries on the other side of the world that had never threatened this country.

8. The shameful fact New Zealand troops travelled the greatest distance to fight a war in the entire history of human habitation on planet Earth.

9. That the young men killed in WWI were mainly working class soldiers who were the targets of crude and cynical imperialist propaganda.

10. That New Zealand’s first action after joining the war was to invade and occupy Samoa – a German colony at that time.

11. That freedom of speech was heavily curtailed and people sent to prison for speaking against the war.

12. That the New Zealand Trade Union movement rightly called for the “conscription of capital before the conscription of men” (individual wealth should be given up before flesh and blood were taken)

13. That New Zealand conscripted troops but Australian didn’t.

14. That the bravest New Zealanders in 1915 were those conscientious objectors who took the tough road of pacifism – at great personal cost – when the road to war was the popular and easy option.

15. That New Zealand military leaders treated our conscientious objectors more harshly than any other country.

16. That we can be hugely proud of Archibald Baxter (read his book “We Will Not Cease”) and other New Zealand opponents of WWI who suffered terribly at the hands of colonial military sycophants trying to be more proudly British that Britain itself.

17. That in 2015 there are some unconscionable idiots in the New Zealand armed services such as Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General Tim Keating who declared last week that New Zealand entered World War I to fight “a great evil” (sic)

18. That these same idiots are still feeding the same lies to young New Zealanders 100 years on.

19. That the current government has just sent New Zealand troops to another imperialist war which has nothing to do with this country but everything to do with supporting another empire – this time the US empire with its imperialist agenda.

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52 Comments

  1. higherstandard says:

    Same old John Minto ……

    • Sam Sam says:

      Oh so you believe in race based education?

      • kelly says:

        That same ole talk from either ignorant or a racist New Zealander? what I gathered from this article is an alternative view and I have huge interest in our countries history and the status quo narrative depicting war couldn’t be far from the truth.

    • Shona says:

      What’s that supposed to mean HS???? Your pig ignorance is only exceeded by your dreary and worthless condescension. When your whanau is one of those whose young men died in this war for these imperialist fuckwits and the next world war as well, then maybe you can have the floor when it comes to the effect of war upon NZ Society until then STFU!

      • higherstandard says:

        “What’s that supposed to mean HS????”

        Just that one can always be quite confident of John Minto’s contribution to any discussion.

    • Steve King says:

      Same old shite from you…

      • Dialey says:

        So you don’t like the truth?

        • Steve King says:

          I think you might have suffered temporary comment/reply confusion. If you look carefully at the thread you will see that I am replying to so-called “higher standard”; not to John Minto’s excellent article.

      • Blake says:

        Same ole shite and showing continued ignorance from —
        Higher (lower) Standard ; Steve King and Dave.
        The truth hurts and believing it is even harder for some.
        John Minto is about the truth and many are still in denial.
        History needs to be made right cuz it’s full of lies and distortions.

    • countryboy says:

      Yes. Same old John minto. Erudite, informed, humanist, insightful and annoyingly for the evil idiots out there, dead right. Read ‘ Hero’s ‘ by a similarly inclined fellow, John Pilger.

    • Mike in Auckland says:

      Same old from you, HIGHERSTAND, that could never reach a newer low, I presume.

  2. mary_a says:

    Good relevant points stated above. Thanks John.

    For me ANZAC Day is not only to remember victims from ALL wars in which NZ has been involved, who died, were maimed and returned damaged souls (and they must never be forgotten), but also it’s to consider the depravity and futility of conflict in general.

    Fighting has never been the answer to resolve disputes. And it never will be.

    While a superior imperialist attitude remains and continues, there will always be war. Attitudes have to change. But how and when, is anyone’s guess! It’s humanity’s greatest failing.

    Another perspective is war is also a deceitful means to keep the greedy vile arms dealers in business! Man made conflict is what they gorge themselves on. It keeps them and their equally immoral, corrupt cronies (politicians) alive! A nauseating and disgraceful fact!

    We are indeed a very sick species!

  3. Dave says:

    Today is not the day Minto.

    • Molly says:

      Today is exactly the right day for this.

      And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda

      • Helen says:

        Sad that NZ honours men in battle and turn their backs on conscientious objectors such as Archibald Baxter WW1. I too read his biography and there was never a more braver man.
        A strong determined non violent man who loved his fellow man, who through adversity and animosity stayed true to his own convictions.

    • Dialey says:

      If not today, then when?

    • Blake says:

      Today is exactly the day to tell the truth ! ! !
      Thanks John for another well thought out and honest depiction of a very ugly topic. Wars are mostly created by the elites pushing capitalism to control the masses and make tons of money in arms etc. sales. Look at Viet Nam and how Abernathy declared it was a mistake at the end of his life. It was a massive and horrendous mistake and all of us
      anti – war activists should feel honoured that we spoke out and demonstrated against war.

      We appreciate the — ” same ole John Minto ” and can depend on his honesty and telling the truths about our history that many can not face. History is often full of lies and misrepresentations and needs to be made right and trustworthy.
      War is ugly, always ! , but more ugly is continuing lies and manipulating our young to join up and then ditching our vets and not taking care of them properly. These celebrations of war and memorials mostly make me sick because I know it is a bunch of pompous superficiality trying to cover up the real and honest reality of why and how we went to all these wars and the massive negative impacts on communities ; soldiers ; their families ; senior vets ; the disabled and peace making etc. — VANZ – not helping our Vets as they should yet the Natz can find tons of money to support war and buy military junk. Thanks again John, well done and it is the perfect day to have your article published.

    • janine says:

      Today is the day!

      We can reflect on our ancestors and the wars they joined, the lies they were told that may have cost them their lives and health.

      That our governments and people forced young men to go to the far side of the world to fight to expand the reach of an empire is something we should never forget.

      That one of the results of WW1 was the creation of the conditions in Europe that lead us to WW2 is something else we should not forget.

  4. PeterP says:

    It’s refreshing to see another take on our military history.

    I had a longish career in the Army and participated in recent conflicts like Afghanistan. I’ll admit that when I joined I was young, dumb and risk adverse, perfect candidate for the military lol. People ask me why I joined, and when I thought about it it was from what I had learn’t from ANZAC days gone by – it was the story of young ordinary men doing our country a great service by fighting evil in order to protect the free world.

    The stories were inspiring and left an impression on young man like myself. I guess guilt played apart, because these young men did so much and I’m a young man, what am I doing? I wanted to do my bit. So it was ANZAC day and American war movies like Black Hawk Down and Band of Brothers that inspired me to sign up.

    Fast forward to today. I have been on three overseas deployments to places like Afghanistan, and I can honestly say that I don’t feel like I’ve made a positive difference in the world or for NZ. I’m not totally sure what we achieved at all. I think the only achievement was establishing closer ties with the US. I lost six comrades in combat and when I think – were their deaths even justified? I have to be honest to myself and say no.

    I think ANZAC day is a great way to pay respect to the servicemen and women but the main message should be – lets do everything we can not to go to war in the first place. Lets not glorify it, we should focus on the tragedy and promote peaceful solutions.

    • Afewknowthetruth says:

      The US invasion of Afghanistan restored the poppy growing that the Taliban had almost eliminated, and revitalised the CIA drug-running operations that were suffering as a consequence of rapidly declining supply of opium.

      The US-led invasion provide a multitude of opportunities for American corporations to profit from supplying the military with all kinds of stuff -from military hardware to catering- and from a small amount of reconstruction after things were blown up.

      The invasion also allowed a puppet government to be installed -though that project went as well as the installation of most puppet governments

      • plumington says:

        The heroin supply in the US has also never been more abundant more cash for the CIA ? Or high ranking officials in the Army,CIA or the current administration?
        Ironic that the lower to middle class pay for the invasion through taxes Supporting the Military industrial complex ,they also provide cannon fodder ,plus there is a growing heroin problem back in the states another social cost for the profits of a few
        I wonder how many military transports are checked by the DEA

    • PeterP says:

      Edit: Risk taker not risk adverse.

    • saveNZ says:

      +1 PeterP.

  5. JohnnyMax says:

    I am curious Mr Minto. Do you do ANYTHING that could be regarded as advancing society? or do you only protest every little perceived injustice? As you are only recorded as protesting, your voice is devalued. Do something positive so listeners may consider your views worthy.

    • Blake says:

      Advancing society means telling the truth and setting the records straight and getting history right instead of full of lies and propaganda.
      It means sharing with integrity and honesty and being impeccable with our word.
      JMax – obviously you make wrong assumptions and clearly misjudge John Minto.

      Speaking and writing the truths, which is advancing society and what John is all about and that is contributing towards building peace and good will for everyone. It is folks like you, Jonymax, that spout out negative ; righteous views that devalue our culture and are not very worthy of our attention. Clearly you do not understand the ethics behind such a fine man as John and others who challenge the idiot ; main stream lunacy and lies. We need many more truthseekers and truthtellers so bring them on.

    • Blake says:

      jonymax – John Minto is honest and, most often, impeccable with his word and writings and that is contributing to advancing society and setting history straight. I thank him for his positive contributions.

      Non – violent protesting ( conscientious objectors ) and civil disobedience are forms of healthy protest against tyranny ; war mongers ; govt. and bankster criminals ; mis-info ; mis-judgments and brainwashing propaganda.
      Get your facts straight jonyboy so that your intentions can be a bit more positive and worthy of our attention.

    • In Vino says:

      Johnnymax – you should get off your backside and do your own research if you are so curious, But for your information, John Minto worked hard for many years in one of the hardest areas – Secondary Teaching in a Decile One school in South Auckland. I gather he was respected as a teacher, and I suspect that the valuable contribution he has made to society in this way is far greater than any contribution you are likely to have made. (You don’t like his message, so you resort to the cheap tactic of criticising the messenger. To my mind that shows poor character.)

    • John W says:

      Johnymax
      What advances do you see happening apart from profit extracted by the investment state.

      http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2016/01/17/oxfam-wealth-inequality-report-davos/78929370/

    • Look hear JohnnyMax, go do some research on John Minto and you may actually learn something.

      I know that in his every day life he is advancing the countries young folk in a very positive way.
      As well as pointing out the folly of our current political regime,
      every country need the likes of the Minto’s and Hager’s, just to keep our political parasites honest

      But then, it so easy to sit on your chuff and criticise good folk.

  6. Jo Planet says:

    Good points, John Minto. If we are to commemorate history, then that history should be as true a version as possible.

  7. Afewknowthetruth says:

    “The first casualty of war is truth.”
    “All wars are bankers’ wars.”
    “All wars are chemical wars.”
    “Human stupidity is infinite.” (Einstein)

    Greedy industrial humans will not mend their ways and suddenly become wise: they will continue to do what they always have done -fight over resources.

    The end is now on the horizon:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-36080615

  8. Steve King says:

    Thanks for this John Minto. At last year’s dawn service I felt uncomfortable with how we were acknowledging Anzac Day. In particular, I didn’t like the borderline nationalistic sentiment and almost glorification of our military role, as if it was some sort of glorious defeat in a noble cause and not a shoddy participation in an imperial war which had bugger all to do with us. This year, I chose not to go, for these reasons. I will remember my two great-uncles who died, and the others, because it was a tragic waste and they shouldn’t even have been there. But that’s where it ends, for me. And I agree, we need to acknowledge how the military events on our own soil shaped us as a nation. And still reverberate.

  9. Archonblatter says:

    by 1917 the Bolsheviks had gained influence and on November 6th. captured government buildings and the Winter Palace in Petrograd.
    A few days earlier a letter dated 2nd. of November was sent by the Foreign Secretary of Britain, Balfour, to Baron Rothschild leader of the British Jewish community, to be passed on to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland.
    History indeed.

  10. Mike in Auckland says:

    And as I heard yet again on one news channel yesterday, there is damned little remembrance of the genocide the Armenians were suffering at the hands of the Turks during WW1.

    Why are New Zealand governments to determined to only engage in their “clean white washed” remembrance services, ignoring all the rest of what went on?

    Thanks again for reminding us, John Minto.

    It seems that “patriotism” is often confused with nationalism, and sadly many have a tendency to desperately seek opportunities to “memorise” the fallen, who were often nothing but cannon fodder for the powers there were, only interested in maintaining the privileges of the elite class.

    We have too many sycophants in New Zealand, too few critical thinking people these days, actually most do not even bother about ANZAC Day, as it is just another day off for them.

    The TV channels presented light entertainment, that is apart from TV One and Maori TV, and I heard that the BBC World Service on AM, broadcast by the ‘Auckland Radio Trust’, even ran the usual commercial advertising every half hour, where the Broadcasting Act does not allows this.

    ANZAC Day interspersed with commercials, it tells me how much the vested interest powers (business and the elite) really “care” about their past soldiers and “heritage”.

    A sick joke, in my view, a sad state of affairs, based on selective thinking and endless ignorance.

  11. Mike in Auckland says:

    The truth is that powers that uphold the status quo do always see a need to nurture and groom the new prospective warriors they need to fight future wars that protect the status quo.

    Hence they do exactly what they are doing, hold memorial services and dawn parades, for the vanished, who were actually in most cases not fighting for “freedom and democracy”, but to protect the past status quo, and the elite upholding it.

    So the potential new “fighters” are being prepared, appealing to the basic, if not primitive, human instincts, of honouring past generations of soldiers. At least some children will feel enticed and appealed by the myths that are spread, and with respect for their forebears will endeavour to walk into the footsteps of grandfathers and fathers of the past.

    It is really shocking, how human beings tend to repeat history, it is not unique to New Zealand, it happens almost everywhere, including Europe, the US of course, China, Russia and the list can go on.

  12. roy says:

    Are we really supposed to believe ‘our boys’ went and fought for this – the country we have now? A commodity for sale by whomever is most audicious in their corruptitude? Swathes of poor and needy? Vast tracts of polluted land and foetid bodies of water?

  13. peter h says:

    One more World War and about 120 other wars since The Great War shows that we have not learnt or changed much in 100 years. That we went to Afghanistan to kill the Afghan people and have made one of our soldiers, who seems to have been better at killing Afghans than anyone else, into a popular hero is an example of our failure to learn.

  14. saveNZ says:

    Good post. As someone mentioned to me today, WW1 was not about Democracy like WW2. You have to wonder why it has such significance in NZ, young men needlessly sent to slaughter for the commonwealth.

  15. Brian F says:

    For anyone who craves justice, fairness, peace and tranquility (ironic that those are the words in the Parliamentary prayer), John Minto is always – always! – worth heeding. Thank you JM.

    I have spent many years searching for a convincing, logical and irrefutable argument(s) and reason(s) for why WW1 started – and have never found one. And if we hadn’t had WW! we would never have had WW2.

    We really are much more like sheep than humans. So easily led and so often conned by our so-called ‘leaders’.

  16. Kim dandy says:

    Sadly if Clinton or Trump get voted in as president in the US, then there will be another war – pretty much guaranteed. A case of here we go again…

  17. MM says:

    Good on you John

  18. Phil F says:

    A good little collection of articles on Anzac Day, NZ imperialism etc can be found here: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2016/04/25/gallipoli-and-new-zealand-imperialism/

  19. Helen Savage says:

    https://richardjacksonterrorismblog.wordpress.com/2011/10/30/why-i-wear-the-white-poppy-not-the-red-poppy/

    Please read he gives a thought provoking opinion on war and violence. Very interesting read. Perhaps a bit old but really nothing changes when it comes to war…Time does not fade

  20. mary_a says:

    Oh dear, I see the truth (from John Minto) has struck a few raw nerves, hence the spiteful comments about him.

    Nothing like honesty to strike a response of contempt!

  21. Braid Palmer says:

    I must admit after serving in 2 of our armed forces that it took me a long time to see the patriotism lie, the woeful disregard larger nations showed time after time with NZ forces particularly GB.
    I never particularly agreed with Johns views but he is spot on. NZ has been bullied by firstly GB and now its own government through the demands of what John calls Empires.
    The way corruption and the original holistic and thoughtful intent of the Treaty of Waitangi was used not as intended to protect Maori and Settlers, but used to allow greed and control is sickening, the tragic Waste of NZ lives and Australian lives at Gallipoli is also sickening. And was about British pride rather than for freedom pffft. Please you the people we are all now Tangatawhenua and if we do not insist on being treated fairly all historic waste and delusional sacrifice is for nothing. Our real war is now within our borders against Corruption, fraud, deceit and freedom of YOU and ME.