Over the past month at Auckland Museum, a free exhibition was put together in order to re-discuss the controversies that were presented before the passing of the Military Service Act of 1916. My history teacher was the one who pointed me in the direction to this exhibition and so one weekend, I found myself attending this exhibition. It’s called “A Case for Conscription” and what I witnessed was a reenactment debate on the issues of whether or not Maori should be conscripted and whether or not there should be an exemption for religious and conscientious objectors.
The cool thing about this exhibition was that the audience and I were able to step into the shoes of the jury during the court session before the act passed. We voted and the results were exactly how it turned out.
I took these two pictures these at the exhibition. They are quotes and statements which define what the Maori iwi like Te Puea and many others especially in the Waikato were thinking on the topic of fighting for NZ.
After the reenactment, I went up to one of the actors, introduced myself and the reason for being there. He was kind enough to give me the email address of the woman Jo Brookbanks who directed the whole play. From there on, I got the emails from other New Zealanders who have studied the topic. One of them included Steve Watters who is the father of 2014 YA Caitlin! What a small world!
And the funny thing is, the world got even smaller when I was in the Auckland Museum library and I found a book made by students from Baradene College of the Sacred Heart in Auckland, NZ and Lycée Professionnel Jean Macé, Chauny, France. But this isn’t just any book.
First of all, it’s very relevant to me because it covers aspects of conscientious objectors in NZ and the punishments they facedSecond of all, this was a project and legacy from the works of a NZ school and French schoolAnd it was all brought together through Shared Histories and it was even acknowledged by the Ministry of Culture and Heritage this past month.
All of my findings that weekend really gave me confidence on what I was researching and I have high hopes for my project. Now the next thing I need to do is to figure out how I’d like to process all this information into the best way to further develop my personal understanding.
There is still so much more on the topic that needs to be discussed too!