Publication Date


Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Arts in History



Major Advisor

Erik Hadley, Ph.D.


Raymond Krohn, Ph.D.


David Walker, Ph.D.


This thesis focuses on New Zealanders’ perception of the Home Guard through a specific lens of culture demonstrated through wartime printed newspapers across New Zealand. These newspapers allowed for a public forum for New Zealander’s thoughts on the Home Guard, enabling a national debate on the purpose of the Home Guard over the course of the Second World War. Critically, these print newspapers and public opinion drastically influenced the direction of the Home Guard, illuminated the problems the Home Guard faced, and often received a response from the New Zealand Government. The Home Guard’s initial difficulty with recruitment, the impressment of private rifles by the New Zealand government after a failed voluntary campaign, and the later enactment of compulsory enrollment, firmly question the realistic effectiveness of the Home Guard. Competing narratives between the New Zealand government and New Zealanders, both involved in the Home Guard and not affiliated, collectively influenced the Home Guard from 1940 until 1942, as New Zealand feared invasion by the larger Japanese Empire.