At times in its short history New Zealand has been deeply involved in wars overseas, and these conflicts played a role in shaping the remote town of Waipori.
The first was the Boer War or South African War, which involved the British Empire at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th. New Zealand responded with almost jingoistic fervour. In some ways it was a ‘private enterprise’ war, with equipping the troops largely left in the hands of community fundraisers.
Four men with Waipori connections served in South Africa — one of them twice. Another had to face a judge in court before he was allowed to embark on his troopship. The townspeople enthusiastically raised funds. You can read these stories here.
On a completely different scale was the Great War, now known as the First World War. This saw conflict on a large, industrial scale grinding on for four years and involving many countries across the globe. New Zealand was heavily engaged, with 20% of its men serving overseas and more than half of them being killed or wounded.
The story of six soldiers from Waipori who did not make it home is told here.
The war to end all wars didn’t do that, and just two decades later Europe was once more at war in a conflict that grew to engulf the world again. The story of Waipori’s involvement in this war will be told at a later date.