Devonport First World War memorial:

I’m fairly sure that New Zealand lost more men per capita in World War One than any other country. What a terrible sacrifice to make on behalf of a ‘mother country’ that most of the soldiers had never even visited. During my drive south last week I stopped in a tiny place called Gordonton to give Tui a chance to run around. The war memorial there listed something like 40 men killed in the Great War, which much have represented the overwhelming majority of young men from the area. One family lost four sons, two families lost three boys, another three families lost two sons. What must it have been like, to be the parents and receive telegram after telegram of the worst possible news?

Of course, New Zealand also contributed a vast proportion of its young men once against in World War Two, both to fulfill its colonial obligations and to help to save the world from Nazism. And this loyalty to Queen and Country was repaid in the 1970s, when the UK joined the Common Market and scuppered trade ties that until then, New Zealand relied upon. We’ve taken our revenge on the rugby field ever since…


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