Weep, Zealandia, Weep! Oh, what a heart-breaking week it’s been.

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THERE ARE TIMES when it’s heart-breaking being a New Zealander. This past week has been one of those times.

The week began with the deafening drumbeat of ANZAC-related patriotism. Having already alienated a huge number of Australians, the almost obsessive memorialisation of the First World War is beginning to do the same to a growing number of New Zealanders.

Among all the individuals responsible for planning the centennial “celebrations” of the ANZAC landings, there was, apparently, no one whose job it was to make sure, one hundred years on, that New Zealanders had a clear idea of the political and economic motives that drove so many of human lambs to the slaughter.

The historical context out of which some young men volunteered for “the adventure of a lifetime” and some did not (let’s not forget that by 1916 it had become necessary to start conscripting replacement soldiers) has been almost completely elided from the official narrative. Likewise the extraordinary curtailment of civil and political rights that followed almost immediately upon New Zealand entering the conflict.

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To hear someone like Lieutenant-General Tim Keating, Chief of Defence Staff, couch New Zealand’s participation in the First World War in terms of standing up for the right and the good (just like today in Iraq!) was quite sickening. More than 18,000 young New Zealanders died on the battlefields of that terrible war – not for the right and the good, but for the greater glory and profit of the British Empire and its principal investors.

I wonder if Lt-General Keating even knows that William F. Massey, the unelected Prime-Minister of New Zealand in August 1914 (his Reform Party had won a No-Confidence vote against the Liberal’s in 1912) was a member of the British Israelites.

This bizarre sect was a curious mixture of religious and patriotic enthusiasm which believed that the British race was descended from one of the lost tribes of Israel, and that the British royal family’s bloodline extended all the way back to King David and King Solomon. The British Israelites were adamant that the English-speaking peoples were divinely ordained to rule the entire world.

Born in Ulster, Massey was also a member of the Orange Order, whose compatriots back in Northern Ireland, even as Gavrilo Princip was assassinating the Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, were actively plotting mutiny and rebellion against the pro-Irish Home Rule Liberal Government of Herbert Asquith.

Massey’s religious and political bigotry would be drawn into sharper focus as the war drew towards its end and the Reform Party linked up with the newly-formed Protestant Political Association to mobilise voters against the large number of Irish Catholics who had swung in behind the nascent Labour Party.

Massey’s hostility to organised labour was prodigious. The crushing of the Waihi Miners’ Strike in 1912, and of the Great Strike in 1913, were among Massey’s first and most enduring contributions to New Zealand’s political history. Working-class Kiwis didn’t call the mounted special constables (drafted in from the countryside to smash the unionists of the “Red” Federation of Labour) “Massey’s Cossacks” for nothing.

I could go on, but hopefully you’ll have some idea already of how little that was “good” or “right” lay behind New Zealand’s participation in the First World War. Indeed, it was only after the outbreak of revolution in Russia in 1917 (and the mutiny of the French army in the same year) that the imperial establishment decided it might be wise to shift its rhetorical emphasis from protecting innocent women and children from the bestial Hun to “defending freedom” and “making the world safe for democracy”.

So many lies – and how old they’ve grown! It is nothing less than shameful that so little of the history of the period leading up to the First World War is known to the young New Zealanders who turn out in their thousands to honour the sacrifice of those who they naively believe “died for our freedom”.

And what, I physically cringe to think, do those same young New Zealanders now make of their 53-year-old Prime Minister, who has admitted to repeatedly tugging on the ponytail of a 26-year-old waitress?

Is this really where we are, 100 years after Gallipoli? Is this how far we’ve come? From a bigoted British Israelite and union-buster; to a “relaxed” golfing partner of the US president and a “playful” hair-fetishist? From dispatching troops to Gallipoli in the name of the King-Emperor; to dispatching troops to Iraq in the name of the “Five Eyes Club”?

And what about the likes of your humble correspondent? That endangered species known as the “Fourth Estate”? Are New Zealand’s journalists, commentators, newspaper columnists and bloggers to be guided now, in the fulfilment of their professional ethical obligations, by the shining example of Rachel Glucina?

As I said: These are heart-breaking times.

Weep, Zealandia, weep!

44 COMMENTS

  1. This article exposes the worst aspects of the manipulation that various Governments perpetrated upon an unsuspecting public.

    It throws sharp focus on our right to know all the issues & information involved in Government decisions and policies. In that regard the current framework that the NZ media works under.

    One issue we need to know, was there any political involvement in the review of Campbell Live, amongst other things.

    • “was there any political involvement in the review of Campbell Live?”

      Yes, shoulder tapped Mark Weldon is a close personal friend of John key.

  2. “Massey’s religious and political bigotry would be drawn into sharper focus as the war drew towards its end and the Reform Party linked up with the newly-formed Protestant Political Association to mobilise voters against the large number of Irish Catholics who had swung in behind the nascent Labour Party.”

    Yeah, although…
    (1) A large % of Catholics continued to vote Liberal through the 1920s (due to poor methodology, a number of historians and political scientists have exaggerated the Liberal decline). NZ Catholics certainly began to swing towards Labour during the WWI By-Elections (as Gustafson, among others, has shown with detailed polling booth analysis) and continued at the 1919 and 1922 General Elections, but the degree shouldn’t be over-emphasised.

    (2) As I’ve just mentioned at Bowalley Road, WWI was far less divisive for the NZ Labour Movement than for their counterparts across the Tasman. Despite all the strenuous efforts of Elliot’s extremely reactionary Protestant Political Association (PPA), the Loyalist/Republican, Prod/RC, Patriotic/Internationalist divisions didn’t run anywhere near as deeply among the working class here as in Oz. I think it’s fair to say that the PPA’s real electoral success was, in fact, among the middle-class in some (and only SOME) of the suburban and provincial city seats in 1919, most notoriously, of course, in unseating Catholic Liberal leader Joseph Ward in Southland’s Awarua (admittedly, the latter was a semi-rural constituency).

    None of which is to deny that Massey was, indeed, a nasty piece of work, shot-through with a wide streak of bigotry.

  3. All of the good things that the post ( Second World War )) war generation had built up INCLUDING FREE SPEECH was trashed ,sullied and dragged through the mud 35 years ago by a man named Roger Douglas.

    That post war generation built up a nation second to none in its welfare state, progressive ( for the times ) policy’s for women ( eg : the vote ) protection for workers , a raft of state owned enterprises that was paid for by those workers taxes and provided affordable electricity , post services , rail , healthcare , education , housing and an environment where we were the envy of the world…..

    When Douglas and his lieutenants came preaching their Mont Pelerin society neo liberalism …and deceived this country into handing all its wealth over to them and their foreign offshore mates bank accounts..

    It was then that the stage was set for cronyism , in house dealings , gradual take over and embedding their mates in the media ( as we have now seen totally in all forms of privately owned pro -govt media outlets )
    -crumbling of workers wages and conditions , unaffordable housing , unaffordable healthcare , unaffordable education , no state owned rail , exorbitant transport , overcrowding , third world communicable diseases , mass surveillance of our population , loss of sovereignty ( TTPA , 5 eyes network ) ,loss of democracy ( Key and his undemocratic unilateral decisions to commit to war ) Tax cuts for the rich bolstered by borrowing $200-300,000,000 EVERY WEEK …..the list goes on and on.

    In short – the systematic rape and pillage of a once wealthy nation by a handful of treacherous , treasonous criminals.

    And now while our ‘ PM ‘ sanctimoniously stands at Gallipoli and offers solemn but insincere words to continue on the charade…and being one of the most dishonest and divisive PM’s this country has ever known….

    A case of common assault and / or sexual assault is being levelled at him on his return to this country.

    And while a media 35 years ago would have torn this joke of a PM to shreds …these embedded right wing neo liberals and their crony stooges in the media are allowed to continue defending this individual and the further raping of the country through their criminal neo liberalism.

    This is why this country weeps….because the same sort of lying charade that is currently afflicting this country is a direct morphing of the same species of virus that afflicted the generation of 1914 – 1918.

    And cost the lives of 18000 Kiwi’s.

    The outer shell of the virus wall may have changed…but its inherent RNa never did.

  4. Freedom????

    The shocking treatment of those who, in the name of peace, refused to enter the armed forces speaks volumes.

  5. OMG Chris, I’ve visited most of the old battlefields in the Somme, le Quenoys etc, but I didn’t know that stuff about Massey. Bloody hell – that’s all the poor guys needed, being sent off to die by a fucking lunatic. And now the new generation, being sent off to die by a creepy fucking money trader. Sigh….

  6. I commemorate this time, because my grandfather went along for the “glorious ride”.
    I’m forty years old, when I was growing up, what I remember is the fact he was deaf, from having shrapnel cross through his forehead, he had his arm almost blown off at the same time. He lay in a ditch, huddled in a culvert, until a priest came along and rescued him. after his tiki tour of Ypres and the Somme he convalesced in England before returning to these fair shores.
    He was an axe man cutting down trees in the north Island before settling in the south and having a family. He had, had his fill of travel by then and stayed put.
    He was a gentle “Man”. He had time for us kids and we loved him, although sometimes didn’t understand what he had come through to be the great person he was. He was not a saint, but pretty close.
    From what I remember of the ten years I had with him, he thought it was all a terrible waste, that is what we commemorate.
    I remember you Grandad.

  7. those liars and selfish warwhores treating power and control like a game makes me sick to my soul.
    Now we have the nation fawning over Weta created over sized Gallipoli sculptures. Oversized because it overwhelms the viewer to push the ‘were the power is’ or ‘this is the story’ message – a tactic employed by the Kings of old in their giant rooms and fearsome statues made to push the power message.
    I have total respect for the Soldiers of both wars – the guys on the ground, NOT the top brass which were as always cowardly miles away from the action or the shits paying for it.
    I have zero respect for those who rationalise the message into a romanicised parody and engineer consent to fight more wars with their images or words.

    I’ve wept, my heart is still bleeding tears for those tricked before and those tricked again into doing the dirty work of those liars.
    As it repeats again and again.
    I hope time degrades and grinds their bones and their legacies into dust and we can hope again…

    Thanks for an engaging piece…!

  8. Chris even older people still believe the myth that soldiers fought for their country, its only now that the internet and alterative media are talking about it. MSM would not mention it these days.
    I remember my father calling Tory mps lying bastards, and Generals in the army, child murderers. My father was in the ww2 and he said every time he heard boys cry out for their mothers in fear, he felt like shooting the recruiters who must have known that a lot of 14 yr olds were far to young to go to war.The kids lied about their ages, they thought it was an adventure but found out it was hell.
    My father said it was a war machine designed to make money for wealthy crooks, he knew then there was nothing patriotic about war. He saw women handing out white feathers to young men if they weren’t in uniform, he said the young women were mostly of the wealthy class, taught to blackmail young men into joining up.Call up came and the men didn’t have a choice.Neighbors
    used to call my father daft for saying what he did ,they believed the government of the day were decent people (some were ) looking after us.
    War is never about patriotism its all about money . so glad you wrote this article.Key knows who benefits from war and who pays the ultimate price,but still sends NZs to war to please his puppet master.
    Then the hypocrite places a wreath on a memorial with a sanctimonious expression on his face.

  9. Yes Chris I have to say the memorial to the 1912 Miners strike in Waihi is pathetic !. A bronze figure of a “Massey’s Cossack” on horseback would have been quite something.
    (I understand the strike was prompted by a demarcation dispute).

  10. Couldn’t have said it better but I did mention in my other post to do with this particular war was that JP Morgan was the financier to the British and French during WW1 and helped bring USA into the conflict by hatching a cunning plan with the then President of the United states Woodrow Wilson,Colonel House, Winston Churchill by loading the british ship called Lusitania with American and British citizens along with supplies to Britain and France( ammunition) knowing full well that the Germans had U-boats ready to sink it so that JP Morgan and co profits would be protected. quoted from the Creature from Jekyll Island: G Edward Griffin.

      • Maybe you failed to conform to the guidelines did you think of that? Your repeated whinging is being published despite being vacuous, which seems even-handed enough. Read the guidelines and have another go … let us in on what’s occupying that little mind of yours.

      • @ Dan
        Perhaps it’s because you’ve picked the wrong Blog? Give Whaleoil a go. If you’re brainless, unthinking, cruel, vile and nasty I’m sure they’d love to hear from you .

  11. I work in an office of 17 people. Five were born in NZ, three have significant family trees here and one has a connection to WW1. Gallipoli is only of significance to particular version of New Zealand, and those New Zealanders are getting out as fast as they can. New Zealanders? They are extinct, like the Moa.

  12. I won’t be attending for the first time in over 50 years.

    During the 70’s my secondary school was the last to engage in military cadet training. During those years we kept a full compliment of NZ Army uniforms and an armoury stocked with Lee-Enfield rifles, identical to the one’s both my grandfather’s carried in WW1 Europe. With these resources we formed and trained for the guard of honor at the ANZAC memorial each year, attending up to 3 different ceremonies. Sadly, my closest grandfather died a year before my first parade outing when I was 14. I still felt proud and imagined he was there. He used to take me as a boy to the rifle range where I had the job of rotating and patching the targets in the pit. He told me things – in brief snippets – that he had seen and done as a 19 year old when stationed at Passchendaele, Belgium and other places, how he got wounded several times. How hard it was to see men dying. He was a kind, gentle man and generous to a fault – he never owned his own home. One of the last things he said to me was “If they ask you to fight a war tell them no sonny Jim, it’s bad men’s business.”

    It has dawned on me now, that with the passing of time this whole commemorative thing has simply become “bad men’s business” and this analogous situation you have correctly identified conforms this to be so. So in my grandfather’s honor … I will not be attending.

  13. It is a glorification of war, I think, to be saying that the WW1 soldiers were fighting for freedom, god, country, flag, whatever jingoistic reason you can think of, when in fact, the poor bastards were simply fighting for their lives.
    I think that their memory is better served by acknowledging that, otherwise they truly did die in vain.

  14. Great article Chris. The whole ANZAC thing is overdone and is being used by the government to soften the NZ public up to acceptance of NZ troops being used to support the warmongering USA and NATO in their aggression in the Middle East and Ukraine.

    • Just saw a film (documentary ) about the damage agent orange dropped by Americans . When I saw how deformed and damaged young kids are and children still being born, I really got really angry and called the American government of the day Fi**thy Fu*.*ing Bastards to inflict such misery on a population.
      It was on RT the only channel prepared to say whats going on in the world.
      American corporations pay for these evil wars to make money.,they are destroying cities and lives all over the world,just so they can take over and control,they have ruined Ukraine and blame Russia,they say in the name of democracy ,its in the name of control and money.

      These are the war profiteers, and criminals that John Key is controlled by , and he is operating the same techniques here in NZ
      Use Anzac day to promote patriotism,send our people off to fight corporation wars, Key has no empathy or conscious for anyone,he is like an empty shell with a smirk painted on his face, and a collection box in his hands.
      Key blames the left just like the corporations in the guise of Obama blames Russia.
      Key might as well have come into NZ with an army to destroy NZ,any wonder he wants a new flag he probably cant look at the current flag without feeling some guilt not much though, hes incapable of remorse.

      Key has put Amanda Bayley through hell because he thought he could get away with it,just smile and granny herald will get him off the hook,and the police cant touch him.
      Key knows what the TPP will do to NZ and he dosnt give a damn and he sure isn’t going to tell us about , he needs to get out of country when the truth comes out,such is his devious cowardly lying nature.
      Key has got away with his plans because most people have only read the Herald or watched Tv1 and 3 none of whom tell us the real story.
      I say to the journalists who write their tripe , is any job worth it ?
      your minds will be very troubled in the future when you realise you were part of the plot, I hope you get well paid for your support of Key.

  15. I went to the service this morning & thought it was great.
    Regardless of your thoughts on the wars Kiwis died & kiwis gathering together all over NZ to remember these men is a good thing.
    There’s nothing else in NZ that people get Patriotic about besides Rugby as its certainly not Waitangi day.
    Oh & if you feel marginalised by Anzac day well the solution is very simple,Leave no ones forcing you to stay.

    • “Leave no ones forcing you to stay.”

      Hardly a rational argument, “H”. So you’re saying that anyone disagreeing with you should leave the country? Sorry, is that the “freedom” which soldiers died for?

      • Ha ha I knew you’d be straight in to defend The Daily Blogs honour Frank.
        Nice twisting.
        I should have said alienated not marginalised as I was referring to what Trotter said about alienating people by memorialising WW1.
        I definitely didn’t imply if you don’t agree with ME you should leave but rather if your so offended by Anzac Day then the chances are you came here from some where else so if you don’t like this part of NZ culture then you don’t have to stay.
        I have to say though it’s very amusing how quickly how you tried to twist my words & talk about freedom when this is the site that try’s to ban or boycott any opposing views.
        Hypocrite much

        • A lot of people who were born here don’t give a shit about ANZAC day.

          Every single one of the 18,000 NZers who died, died in vain. Fact. What is to celebrate?

        • H you sound like one of these self righteous people who think patriotism is love for country , not anymore its a tool used to make young men go to war and get killed and maimed.
          I understand you like going to services, but the young men who died and were horribly maimed in Gallpoli didn’t know they being used , not to fight for their country but for greedy people who profited by war,it commendable to honor them but we don’t have to agree that wars are honourable.
          You don’t need to use your “gotcha “words to make others wrong. Do you imagine people who came here from other countries didn’t fight in the same wars NZ did. You sound like the people who complained about poms in the early days telling them to go home if they didn’t like some things about NZ,. That was so immature and mean. You don’t own NZ you know,being born here was an accident of birth not a certificate of ownership.

        • Sense of entitlement much Dan, we could like H say if you don’t like the rules don’t post here but we wont ,some of us regulars don’t get posted everytime but we don’t winge like you,grow up .

    • @ H . I hope to God you don’t have a position of power or are a Dr etc . You read Chris Trotters Post right ? If so, then you came away dumber than when you went in ! ? Fascinating !

  16. Why do I suspect that big business is behind the frenzied admiration for WW1? Like those who were humiliated by being handed a white feather in days ago, it will soon be socially unacceptable to go without a red poppy on your clothing, we will be seen as unpatriotic. Why should I glorify a war that celebrated the death of men, with a token nod to Etty Rout and couple of nurses, a statue being proposed to honour the horses of WW1, with nary a whisper of the suffering that women and children endured during these times. So many women never married, never had children, women ran the country while the men were away, yet were expected to slot righ back into their roles as chief Step-and-Fetchits. It’s not the men’s fault, New Zealanders were and are a naive, good natured people, easily deceived by a patriotic sign and a grinning visage a la Key. I too fear for this country, when the media are tame, the populace is fed bread and circuses (flag, etc.) the oligarchy rule everyone and everything just ask that waitress who had her hair pulled.
    I won’t be buying a poppy any time soon, I do admire the people who went over there, conscripted or not, but my grandfather was in the Boer war, when I mention that, people just look confused. What? Some wars matter, some don’t.

  17. I am 73 years old and have struggled with Anzac Day for years. Three of my brothers were soldiers during the Second World War. Two of them didn’t want to go and one did. The one that did was the youngest at 18 years of age. Once there he changed his mind about going but it was too late! War is undoubtedly about making the already scandalously rich people even richer and none of those blood suckers ever step outside their safety zone. They are worse that satanic monsters if that is possible! Enthusiastic to send innocent young men off to die or be disfigured not to speak of the death and destruction dealt out to others. However I have followed with great interest this years centenary of Gallipoli. At every level in this district, Kapiti, celebration has not been the word but instead commemoration. A local college even had a 7th former on stage, the great great grandson of J K Baxter the pacifist telling to story about his great great grandfather and the terrible suffering he endured during the First World War as a pacifist and the movie ‘Field Punishment No1’ was advertised. I was told that in the same show the emphasis was on the fact that the soldiers were not in any way responsible for the war and the audience were told who was! I have to say that for me this is a positive educative message for a wide audience. I feel a heart felt sadness for all those hat needlessly lost their lives from both sides and have no problem remembering these young guys for their innocence in fighting for what they were horribly conned into believing was a just war!

  18. I happen to have a great deal of respect for those whose decision it is to have a career in the armed forces. Those who enlisted for the first world war, chose to, for the most part. If they made uninformed decisions, that was their own uninformed decision to make. Those who died, died believing they were fighting for freedom. War is always about money, it always has been whether in the form of land or otherwise. ANZAC day is to commemorate those who died fighting for our respective countries. I took the time today to remember those who died at an ANZAC Day service. I watched the flag being raised with pride. Our ancestors died in service to that flag and I just wish that Key pull his head in and leave it alone! Service, some would do well to remember it.

  19. Perhaps we should round up all those excessively wealthy bank owners, corporate lobbyists, and politicians. Take them to their nearest military camp, put them in uniform, then send of out to war, just so they can really see what they’re doing.
    I shall continue to attend ANZAC Day celebrations, to remember those who laid their lives down so we could carry on.
    In respect of our fallen, I shall continue to fight our present day corrupted scum with attitude of disrespect to each and all, under their insane arrogance of belief that their wealth is the right over all below themselves.
    The world of warmongering for profit, and the warmongers themselves, will eventually be the self-destruction of their very empire.
    Beware John Key, for you have already created the cracks, this is the crumbling of what your kind thought was once an unbreakable state of affairs.

  20. “Massey’s hostility to organised labour was prodigious. The crushing of the Waihi Miners’ Strike in 1912, and of the Great Strike in 1913, were among Massey’s first and most enduring contributions to New Zealand’s political history”

    Then there was Prime Minister Sidney Holland who hated unions similarly, because my Father got affected by working g at Auckland Wharf at that 1951 era and he was blacklisted afterwards because he helped keep the picket line intact and was penalised for it all.

    We didn’t have nice Politicians then like we don’t have now with the current lot of corrupted Natz.

    Yes you are right we don’t have much to rejoice as the rich and powerful will use some of us against us again using the public purse again.

  21. @ Chris Trotter, you say ” I could go on ” Well, do so for Gods sake ! I’m printing off your Post and I’m stapling it to the door of the war memorial hall here in town .
    That fucking rat Massy ! As for …. oh Jesus ! You’re right . It’s too much . I can’t believe I had some small amount of faith in the Crown . What a pack of greasy deviants and hair tuggers of old ? What a fucking freak show ! ? I feel like going back to bed .

  22. Since the introduction of FFP in 1914 the National Party has held power in New Zealand for seventy six years . Most major institutions professions and media operate directly or indirectly in its interests .

    Effectively we are a one party state – our actions and lives prescribed by the interests of rural landowners( 6% of the population) and the wishes and tastes of an elitist urban petty bourgeoisie –

    What a country we could have been Zealandia had we not fritted away our opportunity’s to think for ourselves and defend the gifts we were bequeathed by our socialist forebears

  23. I bless the day I found the TDB site , it helps me let off steam when I get so angry at the way NZ is being ruined by these NAZTY polititions led by KEY. Thankyou Martyn and the team ,when the site went down yesterday I thought you had been hacked or raided which is the usual way National deal with opponents when they have their backs to the wall.

  24. Yes, Chris Trotter, I also despair at times, about the state the country is in. Misinformation seems to be the rule these days, creation of myths and legends, far from the truth.

    And a recent poll continues to give John Key much credit, the pony tail pulling PM. Good grief, when do people wake up?

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