Peace celebrations

Peace celebrations 

Children’s Day peace celebrations around New Zealand included a range of activities such as parades, speeches, singing of the national anthem “God Save the King”, and fireworks. 

Students learn how cultural practices reflect and express people’s customs, traditions, and values. 

Children’s Day peace souvenir certificate, 1919. Tauranga Heritage Collection.

Children’s Day peace souvenir certificate, 1919. Tauranga Heritage Collection.

Context 

On 11 November 1918, an agreement was signed to end the First World War. The war didn’t stop right away in some places, but many countries began to plan celebrations to mark the end of the war. In New Zealand, most towns or cities planned three days of celebration that included Soldiers’ Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Children’s Day. These peace celebrations were held in 1919 to enable returning soldiers to attend. 

This certificate was given to children on Children’s Day in Masterton on Monday, 21 July 1919. Similar Children’s Day peace celebrations around New Zealand included a range of activities such as parades, speeches, singing of the national anthem “God Save the King”, and fireworks. 

The words on the certificate are those of a speech the King gave to proclaim peace. (A close-up view of the certificate is available as one of the “Supporting resources” links below.) By 1919, New Zealanders could see themselves as a unique part of the British Empire. They still felt part of it, but by learning more about the other cultures they had come in contact with during the war, the Kiwis understood they were different. 

Key questions 

What can we observe? 

What do we already know? 

How might people view Children’s Day or the peace celebrations in different ways? 

 

Possible discussion questions 

Why do you think a children’s day was included as part of the peace celebrations? 

What are some celebrations that we have in New Zealand? What do we do on those days that are special? How do our celebrations help us feel like Kiwis? 

What are some celebrations that you have in your culture or in a group you belong to? What do you do on those days that are special for that culture or group? How do your celebrations help you feel part of your culture or group? 

Do you have any special objects that remind you of special occasions? How do these objects make you feel?

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