The changing face of the military

The changing face of the military

This hook shows how the military forces in New Zealand have changed from being exclusively Pākehā males to having increasing ethnic and gender diversity today.

Two group photographs depicting First World War soldiers

Two group photographs depicting First World War soldiers, by Allen Mawhinney, 1917. Alexander Turnbull Library, MS-Papers-1687-1-01. bit.ly/1ILoJ2b

 

Two group photographs depicting First World War soldiers

Two group photographs depicting First World War soldiers, by Allen Mawhinney, 1917. Alexander Turnbull Library, MS-Papers-1687-1-01. bit.ly/1ILoJ2b

Context 

In 1914, the New Zealand Army had 578 members in the permanent forces and 25,902 in the New Zealand Territorial Force. The Navy had only 60 members in the New Zealand Royal Naval Reserve. Today the New Zealand Defence Force, which includes the army, navy, and air force, has 9086 members in the regular force, 2264 in the reserve force, and 2785 in the civilian force. Of these three groups together, 3004 members are women. 

Compulsory military training occurred from 1911 until 1930 and again from 1949 until 1959. 

 

Possible discussion questions 

How would you react if compulsory military training were introduced in New Zealand? Why? 

Why might the regular forces of the NZDF originally have been restricted to Pākehā males? 

What might have influenced the changes in the ethnic and gender breakdown of the regular forces? 

How does the ethnic and gender breakdown of today’s NZDF regular force compare with that of the civilian population? What might be some causes of any differences? Do you think it is important that the New Zealand Defence Force address any differences? Why or why not? 

How do you predict the New Zealand Defence Force might change in the future? What evidence do you have for your predictions?

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