Newspaper article detailing the experience of Maori Troops in France
An article from The Times (London) describing the experiences of Maori soldiers in France. The article describes Maori troops singing a translated version of 'It's a Long Way to Tipperary'. The article details the settlement of New Zealand by the British, how the Maori contingent was formed, and Maori participation in the war, including the enemy's impression of them. The transcribed version of the newspaper article is available by clickin on the source above.
This article from The Times (London) reflects on Maori participation in the war and their service in France alongside the ethnically diverse colonial troops mobilised by Britain. The article reprints the Maori version of ‘It’s a Long Way to Tipperary’, the music-hall classic which had spread worldwide during the war, ‘in a new guise’ as a way of connecting the readership to these unfamiliar men. The translation of the song revealed how elements of culture were appropriated and adapted by different nationalities and ethnic groupings during the war. ‘Tipperary’ is not replicated wholesale but is translated and transformed to give meaning for those singing it. By translating the song, the Maori men were able to engage in a military culture from a British origin while retaining their own sense of national and ethnic identity. The article goes on to detail the origin of the Maori people for the newspaper's predominantly British audience, describing New Zealand as a land of great beauty, focusing on its environment. The New Zealand wars are touched upon, describing the Maori as strong warriors who fought the British well; this fighting spirit has now come to France. New Zealand was now as ‘British as Sussex’, an uncomfortable euphemism for the process of colonial settlement. The article is a useful tool in uncovering how Britain perceived its Empire’s participation in the war, through what they were told in the popular press.