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Political indoctrination through myth building: The New Zealand School Journal at the time of World War 1

Carol Mutch, Rosemary Bingham, Lynette Kingsbury, and Maria Perreau

As the commemorations of the 100th anniversary of World War 1 draw to a close, it is timely to reflect on what we have learnt about that time in our history. This study used the New Zealand School Journal as a data source to investigate what school children were learning about the war at the time. In this article, we discuss the overt and covert messages that New Zealand school children were given about their relationship, first, to the British Empire and, second, to a new distinct New Zealand identity. The World War 1 acts as a pivot point from which to examine the change from myths surrounding the British Empire to a new set of myths springing from the Gallipoli campaign. Our analysis of the School Journal at this time highlights the possible ways in which curricula and curriculum resources can be manipulated and used for political indoctrination.

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