Dominion status activities

Page 5 – Practice essay - dominion status

Use the feature Dominion status and your own knowledge and ideas to help you write the following practice essay exploring the significance of Dominion status for New Zealand and New Zealanders.


On 26 September 1907 the colony of New Zealand ceased to exist. New Zealand became a dominion within the British Empire. For a few years, some New Zealanders celebrated Dominion Day on 26 September with parades and public events. Debate soon emerged as to whether becoming a dominion truly represented any significant change and whether it was an important milestone in the development of a distinctive sense of identity for New Zealand or New Zealanders.

Essay topic

Why did Sir Joseph Ward push for New Zealand to be granted dominion status in 1907?  To what extent did New Zealand being granted dominion status represent greater independence from Britain?

Remember the importance of good structure in essay writing. Use the following to help you write your essay. This is similar in format to that used in NCEA, so it puts this question into a broader context of examining individual or group identity.

Introduction – write an opening paragraph that identifies:

  • the historical setting or topic you have chosen
  • the individual or group that expressed or asserted a distinctive sense of identity.

Body – write structured and sequenced paragraphs that explain:

  • some characteristics of the distinctive sense of identity that was expressed by your selected individual or group
  • some factors that contributed to the formation of the distinctive sense of identity in your selected individual or group
  • how this individual’s or group’s ideas and/or actions showed their distinctive sense of identity.

Conclusion – write a concluding paragraph that sums up the main ideas and links them back to the focus of the essay.

You should aim to write about 500–600 words.


How to cite this page

'Practice essay - dominion status', URL:, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 4-Aug-2014