Students think about what commemorating war means to them
Today, New Zealand is a vastly different place compared to 100 years ago. We have more ethnicities and different cultures then ever before. Many people living in NZ may not have a personal connection to WW1, so does that mean that it is insignificant? Of course not! So I went along to the St Margaret's College International Club and asked students what WW1 meant to them. The overwhelming reason is that having a collective sense of understanding about our history is a way of building stronger communities within Aeoteroa, New Zealand.
Adeline (Singapore) - Commemorating the war is important to us because we can learn from past mistakes and make sure we never repeat them again. Lots of historical events become part of the country’s culture. Singapore doesn’t have a connection to WWI, but WWII is very significant for us. In WWII England surrendered Singapore to the Japanese because they didn't have enough troops to defend us. We acknowledge this event through Total Defence Day which symbolises our collective effort together as citizens to defend our country. That is how we should remember our history I think, together in solidarity.
Tinka (Germany)- In Germany there isn’t really a day to remember WWI. I had studied WWI at school for many years but had never heard that New Zealand was involved until I came to study here. I think it is very important to remember both WWI and WWII. We never want it to happen again and if people don’t know what happened, it is up to us, the young generation, to make sure that we continue to remember and make the past relevant today. WWI directly impacted the lives of many German citizens, and the inflation crisis had a very big impact, many people suffered during that time.
Minji (Korean) - At school in Korea, we learn mainly about Korean history as it is very long and complex. We learn about WWII and the Japanese occupation of Korea, also we remember the comfort women - a very horrible part of our history. I think learning about the war is good because it helps to connect us to our ancestors.
Are you an international student, or have had relatives involved in conflicts overseas? What does WW1 mean to you? Post below.