WW1 Impact on New Zealand

The First World War had a terrible impact on the lives of people within New Zealand. Society was forever changed by it. Even today, its effects are still being felt by those in this country.

Most families and communities lost someone during the conflict. At the time, the population of New Zealand was approximately one million. Of this, around 120,000 men enlisted for the war effort. Over 100,000 of these ended up serving overseas.

This meant that there was a massive displacement of men in the country, during and directly after, World War 1. Women were therefore given a more prominent role within society. They became more important than ever to the workforce, the family home and New Zealand society in general.

18,500 New Zealand lives were lost during the war. Their deaths had a ripple effect for many different people in the country. Their loved ones had to come to terms with this devastating loss. Many families were now fatherless.

There was also a major effect on the economy of the country. At the time, New Zealand was still developing as a nation. For their economy to be maintained, they had to rely on the British Empire. It was therefore essential that New Zealand take part to keep faith with their allies.

Not all of the economic effects were negative. Thanks to their participation in the war, New Zealand was given many meaningful opportunities to prosper. The Empire allowed the country to continue exporting, which meant that they could continue to receive revenue even while the war raged. This meant that when it was all over, New Zealand still had a good economy. Their participation also indicated that they now had a more prominent role on the world stage. They were given a higher level of respect by other Commonwealth countries.


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