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


Anonymous said...
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What do the young returned servicemen and women get these days to help them ease into civilian life? I'm a young returned serviceman and me and my buddy's are not allowed to drink at the RSA, 'members only they say.' HAHA Sometimes I laugh not to cry. Least I can say I paid my dues, and am my brothers keeper

Ray S said...
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So what remedy are they seeking this time ? Or is just more of the same?

paul scott said...
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here we go again, another full and final settlement soon.

Jamie said...
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Haha sometimes I laugh not to cry. Young returned servicemen and women don't get jack these days. Me and my buddies aint evan allowed to buy a beer at the RSA. You old timers should be up in arms or rollin in ya graves!!!
Instead ya's just complain about declining membership
At least I can say I paid my dues (The War on Terror 04-08, ha I have to laugh again) and can say I am my brothers keeper

Kev said...
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it is not hard or expensive to be a member of the RSA,join up to your closest one then you can enjoy a beer and visit any RSA in the country

Jigsaw said...
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Servicemen returning from WW1 got the chance to go in ballots for land when they returned. They still had to buy it and the support they got was generally very poor. Often the land was quite unsuitable. I have done some recent research in my area. One settler already on a family farm described how a man and his wife with two children landed from a river craft to farm their new farm. They lived in a tent in the middle of the farm. There was no grass at all and he worked six days a week on local drainage schemes. They got enough grass growing to eventually buy one cow. Life was extremely hard
-many such servicemen walked off their farms in the end. The truth was that many men were not suited to farming and were damaged by the war. In WW2 the whole concept was much better handled and they could borrow money for development and had houses already on the properties.

Argus said...
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Anonymous first commenter—

What dues?

Jamie said...
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First off Mike before I forget good article mate.
It's probably been like this for a while(I got out in 08) me an my buddies got out of the army there was no assistance, no pensions, you stand on you're own(I was lucky, I got my truck licence)
I reckon if me or my buddies take our medals to the RSA anywhere in NZ then they should serve me a f**kn beer, they do in Australia. That's what i'm talkin bout when I say I have paid my dues. Shouldn't have to pay twice, it's the principle, and rather shabby treatment in my opinion

Older Chas said...
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C'mon all you whinging ex-servicemen above. You have the right to join any RSA as a "returned serviceman" if you have any of the tin gongs awarded lately for any little skirmish or even a posting to some backward HQ if it's near a conflicted country. (I have it on good authority that the most decorated person in the RNZN is a lady pschycologist who goes to every rotation to "debrief" the outgoers and has never actually seen or heard a "shot fired in anger." But because she travels there, stays more than an hour or so - she gets a medal!) Whoopee! Stop your whinging and JOIN the RSA instead of knocking it. It costs very little and the "Returned Serviceman" (i.e. those with the tin gongs) get a cheaper subscription fee than the "ex-service" (one who never got a perky posting to a medal area)or "associate" member (one who has no military ties whatever).
(32 years service here, followed by 20 years managing RSA's)

jamie said...
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WOW.... a full 52 years on the tit, old boy ya done well gettin on the gravy train, aint no job security for the young bucks comin up these days. The lands been sold off to the highest bidder. And the girls all gone on the skank, No problems brotha, not whinging, just statin the facts.
Another fact If she was a phycologist she would of been an officer so yeah she probably flew in to theatre for 24 hours(FIFO) thats how most officers earn their big tin rows now, duh,....it goes without sayin.
Last fact I did my hitch and had a few travels, courtesy of the taxpayer, that was all(never saw the point in getting blown up for them yanks) never seen no combat, in the rear with the gear for me, I seen a few of my buddies get killed(whipdeedoo)
Just thought maybe you old boyz would stop pissin and moanin bout declining membership and maybe invite the young bucks in proper like, instead of just givin em bad attitude and lip.

Anonymous said...
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I am the daughter of a returned soldier who was balleted a farm near Wairoa. They told me that they had to pay it all back & were on a tight budget. I was also told that some land up the East coast was split up in to rehab blocks for maori soldiers. They had new houses & woolsheds on them, but some of them loved the beach living so much they removed a few sheets of corrugated iron from the woolshed each time they went down to the beach & built batches down there & they were happy there. I can tell you one of these rehab farms were hard work 7 days a week for my father, mother & myself, that we didn't have the time or the money to go to the beach. Colleen G.

Anonymous said...
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There were a few problems with the scheme. For instance, land broken in around the centre of the North Island is cobalt deficient, and animals did not thrive without this important trace element. In the South Island, there were selenium deficiencies that resulted in similar problems. Also the farms were very small. The first ones were only about 28 acres in size, and because they were set up on marginal land, they would not carry enough stock to make the farm an economic concern. Post WW2, the farms were increased to about 140 acres, but they were also on marginal land that had been recently "broken in", and they were often not an economic unit. I was a Massey graduate in the 1960's, having gained a Diploma in Agriculture. Even though we were not returned service-people, we were told that upon graduating we would be eligible to apply for a rehab farm, and because of our practical experience and university qualifications, we would stand a good chance of winning a ballot to get a 140 acres farm somewhere near Rotorua on the poorest marginal land around. For a number of reasons, I never continued with my farming career, and never applied for a rehab farm, so never found out much more about the scheme. However, today, 140 acres would not be anywhere near an economic unit, even if you could run a cow on every acre, which you can do if you have the best land in the country. It would be interesting to find out how the rehab farmers fared in life.

Racheal McGonigal said...
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My father was a Returned Serviceman, settled on a RS block. I eventually took over his Rural Bank Mortage. From memory, my fathers interest rate was 4.5%. I took it over at 7.5%. I wasnt allowed to retain the same interest rate.
As I understood it back then when the Returned Serviceman ballot farms were about, Maori had the choice of entering into them, same as my Dad, same rates of interest OR seeking a Maori Affairs Ballot block where the interest rate was 3%. Kess then the Returned Servicemen paid.

Anonymous said...
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Sad to see the abuse being thrown around here. I believe when a member of the forces has served "actively" he is more than entitled to recognition for that service and the risks entailed - hopefully survived.

It has been revealing to learn how those with row after row of medals get them - a dubious entitlement at best.

To the point -the Waitangi Tribunal must employ a host of trade-union-trained bludge merchants dredging-up these specious demands for more - ever more.

Auntie Podes.

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