Thursday, September 29, 2016

After the War: The RSA in New Zealand

After the War: The RSA in New Zealand
Stephen Clarke
03 October 2016
Penguin NZ
RRP $45.00

The story of an iconic institution — the RSA — from its beginnings during the First World War through to the twenty-first century.

2016 marks the centenary of the Royal New Zealand Returned And Services Association which has been an integral part of NZ society since the First World War. After the War tells the story of how the RSA has serviced the community and how it will continue to do so.
While there is a surge in people attending dawn parades and many give generously on poppy day, not all understand the importance of the RSA. After the War will help educate people on this readily identifiable but little-understood organisation. It tells of the trials and tribulations of returning soldiers wanting an organisation to represent them, and how the RSA made sure they received a fair deal as they settled back into domestic life after serving their country.

‘The National RSA was formed in 1916 to ensure that those who served in our Armed Forces were supported when they came home to New Zealand. The RSA has been able to assist directly through dispersing the generous donations of New Zealanders giving to the annual Poppy Collection and indirectly through advocating for improved benefits initially via the 1954 War Pensions Act which has now been replaced by the War Disablement Pension. Thousands of volunteers have contributed to ensure this prime function has been met,’ explains BJ Clark, RSA National President.

‘The other main role of the RSA over the past centenary is our responsibility for Remembrance, to ensure that the service of our veterans is never forgotten. The crowds attending Anzac Day have continued to swell over the last 10 years and our young are showing a genuine interest in remembering the service of those who served this country overseas.’ The RSA still continues to help veterans. As long as the New Zealand defence force is serving overseas there will be many contemporary veterans who require support and will continue to do so.
After the War is a highly illustrated look at this threatened icon of New Zealand culture. The story is told not only in text but also through use of photographs and ephemera. A fascinating read, it is written by historian Dr Stephen Clarke, a history graduate of the University of Otago and the University of New South Wales. His long-time interest has been the social and cultural impact of war on New Zealand society with expertise in the observance of Anzac Day.
About the author:
After two years as Historian with the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, Dr Clarke joined the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association in 2001 to work on national projects and later public relations. As Chief Executive he led the strategic transformation and rebrand of the RSA between 2008 and 2013. This was followed by a year at the Royal British Legion in London, where as the first Head of Remembrance he oversaw the start of the First World War Centenary programme. He is currently Director of Business Development, Sponsorship and Media at the Auckland RSA. He is an Independent Historian and founding director of Making History Ltd.


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