Tuesday, July 8, 2014
Mike Butler: Farms for war veterans -- the facts
In light of a possible Waitangi Tribunal claim that the government breached the Treaty of Waitangi by not giving farms to Maori war veterans, it appears that relatively few farms were provided for ex-servicemen and relatively few Maori fought in the wars.
At an announcement on July 3, 2014, of a new direction for the tribunal, Chief Judge Wilson Isaac said the first hearing would be into the rights of Maori war veterans.
During World War I (1914-1918) the New Zealand government decreed that soldiers returning from overseas service would be given the opportunity to settle on farms of their own, specially purchased and developed for that purpose.
Farmland was available mainly to non-Maori soldiers. In the time before the great drift of Maori from the country into towns, Maori veterans were assumed to have tribal land.
There were conditions for eligibility for farms, including previous farming experience and how much personal money the applicant had available to put into the farm. On qualifying to apply for a farm, the applicant could choose which farm settlement(s) he would prefer and, if there were more than the required number of applicants (which was usual) for that settlement, a ballot was held which participants could attend and know the results immediately.
World War 1: A total of 100,000 New Zealand men, including 2227 Maori and 458 Pacific Islanders in the Maori Pioneer Battalion, served with New Zealand forces in the First World War. Over 18,000 New Zealand soldiers were killed, and of the 72.000 who returned, more than 10,500 men were assisted onto the land by 1924, with another 12,000 helped to buy or build houses in towns and cities. A number found settlement farms too tough and walked off them.
World War 2: A total of 140,000 New Zealanders served overseas in the Second World War, with 12,000 killed. Of the 128,000 who returned, almost 14,000 ex-servicemen were assisted to acquire farms by 1964. In this war, 3600 men served in the 28th Maori Battalion. Of these, 649 were killed or died of wounds while another 1712 were wounded. Another 29 died as a result of service following discharge, while two were killed by accident during training in New Zealand.
Farm Settlements for Returned Soldiers, http://www.theprow.org.nz/yourstory/farm-settlements-for-returned-soldiers/#.U7sgOJSSx2A
at 11:35 AM