Bruce Munro reviews Our First Foreign War for the Otago Daily Times


Bruce Munro reviews Our First Foreign War for Otago Daily Times

The South African War is largely forgotten or remembered simply as a warm-up to two world wars. Bruce Munro talks to historian Nigel Robson about the impact on New Zealand, then and now, of our first foreign war.
"Dunedin woke this morning to the bellowing of guns, the shriek of steam whistles, the mad clanging of bells," Otago Daily Times columnist Civis wrote on May 18, 1900.

"By the time we were dressed and out, the whole city was in a roar. Guns, bells, exploding fireworks; in the dim streets a rushing and shouting crowd.’’

On the Town Hall steps, as the dawn was breaking, the mayor, who had slept in his boots, appeared to be making a speech ... Mafeking had been relieved, or we believed that it had, and, of all this unforgettable annus mirabilis, this was to be the maddest, merriest day," the columnist stated, immortalising the ecstatic public response to news that British soldiers and allies, including New Zealanders, had won a small but decisive victory in the war against the South African Boers that had begun the previous year. 

Read the full piece here