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Children's Day peace souvenir certificate


A souvenir certificate given to children in Masterton on Children’s Day, Monday 21 July 1919. The bulk of the certificate is devoted to the King’s peace proclamation, which was read to children in many communities on Children’s Day.

Monday 21 July – Children’s Day

The events of Children’s Day were the most varied of all the peace celebration days. Many communities began the day with a children’s procession, though some combined this with the soldiers' and civic processions on another day. Some activities had educational purposes; others were pure entertainment.

Peace medals

Like Australia's, New Zealand's initial plans for peace celebrations included a proposal that all children be given a medal commemorating peace. But in April 1919 the government dropped this plan and announced that 'the money should be spent on more urgent and useful things'. Australia went ahead with its planned medals.

Educational activities included gathering children together to listen to the King’s peace proclamation and speeches from local or central government officials, and the singing of patriotic songs, particularly the national anthem.

Dunedin children were forced to listen to a lengthy speech on ‘a healthy mind in a healthy body’, though this was punctuated by more amusing fare – including the appearance of a leopard.

In Wellington an estimated 5000 children gathered outside Parliament Buildings, in bad weather, to hear similar speeches. On 23 July the New Zealand Free Lance questioned the wisdom of carrying on with the event:

Was it not silly to persist with the speeches at the school children’s assembly at Parliament Buildings on Monday? There stood the patient little people in a dense throng gripping their little British flags, and the rain pitilessly showering upon them while they tried to listen to the long harangues from [the] Acting Governor General (Sir Robert Stout) and the Minister of Education, not one word in twenty reaching them. At last human nature could stand it no longer and so with a tremendous burst of cheering and much waving of their little flags they snapped off the Minister right in the middle of his address.

Entertainment on Children's Day ranged from sports and games to picture shows, concerts, lunches and afternoon teas. Dunedin's leopard was probably the most exciting entertainment, but children in parts of Auckland may have been equally pleased to see Father Christmas turn up out of season. As on Soldiers’ Day, most communities ended the day with fireworks and bonfires.


Tauranga Heritage Collection

How to cite this page

Children's Day peace souvenir certificate, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated