Topic: Life at Home, Tauranga During the War

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Life at Home, Tauranga During the War was part of a teacher resource pack about World War I sent to the schools in the Tauranga area in 2015.

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For those with loved ones away at the war there was a constant fear of receiving a telegram reporting their death. However, day to day life did continue. Children still went to school, mothers still put dinner on the table and those men left behind still went to work.

For New Zealanders at home their contribution to the war effort was made in time and resources. Residents of Tauranga enthusiastically joined in the fundraising efforts and, over the course of the war, contributed to more than 22 funds including the Liverpool Fund, Relief of Russian Prisoners’ Fund, Soldiers’ Gramophone Fund and Wounded Soldiers’ Fund, the last of which was one of the town’s biggest efforts. Fundraisers included a hypnotism demonstration, egg sales and dances. In particular, the town’s children were encouraged to take part. Tauranga District High School students participated in the Crumb Card campaign. They also took to the streets collecting money.

By May 1915 the reality of the war was starting to hit home. Attention turned to the needs of our own men and women, both abroad and at home. Comforts for local soldiers was a priority. As the extent of Gallipoli casualties were reported it was clear that New Zealand needed its own hospital ship. On a suggestion by Lord Liverpool the public began raising funds for medical supplies and patient comforts. By August 1915 the Hospital Ship Fund totalled £47,000. In December the Bay of Plenty Times reported that the Tauranga Committee had raised £672 to date as well as sending several shipments of goods. Local efforts included house to house collections, button sales, competitions, and fetes.

There was, at times, a lighter side to fundraising as committees came up with entertaining ways of getting residents to spend their money. In August 1915 a Mock Court was held to raise money for the Wounded Soldiers’ Fund (W.S.F.). Prominent Tauranga citizens, men and women, were ‘arrested’, ‘charged’ and in some cases fined on the spot. Others were taken to the mock court at a local dance hall and faced a jury of their peers. Miss Bedlington was charged with riding her horse on the footpath and appeared before the judge seated on her horse. Mr Freeman Potts was charged with various offences including adding whisky to his milk.

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Life at Home, Tauranga During the War


Year:2015