Friday, 9 November 2018

Armistice in Rotorua , 1918-1919.

Victory : Germany Surrenders

Rotorua Chronicle 12 November 1918, pg.2
Held by Te Aka Mauri Rotorua Library
This edition is the only copy the Library has of 1918 and beyond, we are thankful this one was sent to the Rotorua Library from Cambridge where it was discovered in items donated to that Library. 

During 1918 there were many soldiers in Rotorua due to the reputation of the Sanatorium and King George V Hospital's as a spa location which offered therapies that would benefit the soldiers greatly.
In an account of nurses that worked in Rotorua at the ‘King George V Military Hospital’ referred to it  as the ‘Pukeroa Convalescent Hospital” as it was sited on Pukeroa Hill overlooking Ohinemutu.  

On 12 November 1918, communities throughout New Zealand celebrated the news that an armistice had been signed between the Allies and Germany the previous day. The celebrations were enthusiastic and heartfelt, but they were also spontaneous and inevitably somewhat rambling affairs. 

Premature reports of an armistice several days earlier raised doubts about whether the 11 November armistice was official, and in some areas celebrations were marred by the 1918 influenza pandemic.

The armistice did not mark the official end of the war; the terms of peace had not yet been signed. Almost immediately, communities throughout New Zealand and the Empire began to plan elaborate peace celebrations that would mark the official end of the war in a manner befitting the sacrifices that had been made.

Peace celebrations were held throughout New Zealand in July 1919 – everywhere from the main centres and their surrounding suburbs to small towns and rural areas. Following advice from the government, most communities held their celebrations on Saturday 19th, Sunday 20th and Monday 21st. Most also followed the format originally announced by the government, which called for a Soldiers’ Day, a Day of Thanksgiving and a Children’s Day.

Rotorua Celebrations (in the New Zealand Herald published on 16/7/1919.)

£100 was allocated for the children’s demonstration, including procession, entertainment and sports at the Y.M.C.A. 
£150 was allocated for the Soldier’s Dinner to be held on Saturday Evening. £60 was allocated for the Saturday Afternoon Procession.
Saturday and Monday were observed as full holidays.

The NZ Herald, of 22 July 1919 Reported the following about Rotorua’s Peace Celebrations.

“A Procession headed by native veterans of the Maori War, with tattered old flags, and including wounded soldiers, returned soldiers, territorials, cadets, scouts and many effective tableaux, paraded the town. Over 300 soldiers were entertained at dinner on Saturday evening, at King George V Hospital and the Sanatorium, followed by a dance. A procession of over 800 children, followed by sports, luncheon and picture matinee. In the evening a bonfire at the lake shore was lighted”


Krups Gun at the eastern corner of the Arawa Soldiers Memorial in the Government Gardens
With thanks to Kete Rotorua for this photograph
Compiled with thanks to Papers Past and The New Zealand History website  
This blog post is by Alison Leigh

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