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Anzac Day: the New Zealand story

'Anzac Day: The New Zealand Story, What it is and why it matters' is an accessible, factual and easy-to-read illustrated book for children, teaching a new generation about the tragic sacrifices made by our young men and women, from the Gallipoli Campaign, right through to the Great War and the relevance of Anzac Day today.

Image of book cover is courtesy of New Holland Publishers.

Just short of a centenary of the anniversary of the Gallipoli landings, it’s easy for historic fact to become divorced from contemporary reality and for children to forget the importance of honouring our soldiers and commemorating the defining events of a war that represents the freedom we enjoy today.

In 'Anzac Day', author Philippa Werry brings historic and contemporary information together, providing plenty of material for teachers and parents to explain the history of our nation to our young people and have them fully understand the contemporary commemorations of war.

The hard facts are that 10% of our New Zealand population of just over 1 million went off to World War I, with 18,000 dead and 40,000 wounded. Among these vast numbers, Philippa uses the Gallipoli campaign to present excerpts such as photographs and journal entries to bring individual stories to life, helping them to seem relevant to today’s young people. New Zealand is placed into the wider world context of World War I and our country is presented alongside information about the Turks, the French and the English.

'Anzac Day' examines the format of the commemorative services held annually throughout the country, the history of establishments such as the RSA, important war memorials around New Zealand and in countries overseas, and the participation of Māori and Pacific Islanders in the Gallipoli campaign. The author also examines the national anthem, the tradition of Anzac biscuits, the Last Post and Reveille music, and her book also includes websites and accompanying projects for further study.

Aimed at children aged 8 – 12, Werry wants 'Anzac Day: The New Zealand Story' to instil a sense of national pride in our children, reminding them that the values of war of ‘courage, camaraderie, loyalty, endurance and commitment’ have influenced our Kiwi spirit to help them understand that attitudes and events from 100 years ago are just as important today.

Updated on 23rd July 2015