WAR – REHABILITATION
Within two years after the commencement of the 1939–45 War, thought was given to the re-establishment into civilian life of men who would be discharged from the services. Thus the Rehabilitation Act 1941 was passed. This Act made provision for two statutory bodies, the National Rehabilitation Council and the Rehabilitation Board. The functions of the former body were advisory only, while those of the latter were to organise the establishment in civilian life of discharged servicemen or the widows and children of deceased servicemen, and to coordinate and use the services available in Departments of State and elsewhere for the carrying out of these functions. Moreover, the Board was to determine the nature and extent of the assistance that might be granted to any class of ex-servicemen based on a minimum service qualification, and it was to approve the granting of such assistance. By amendments to the Act, in 1944 and 1947, the personnel of the Board was augmented to comprise the Minister of Rehabilitation as chairman, the Director of Rehabilitation, the Secretary to the Treasury, the Managing Director of the State Advances Corporation, the Director-General of Lands, the Secretary for Maori Affairs, the Commissioner of Works, and five other persons appointed by the Governor-General.
The forms of assistance offered were those considered necessary to start men off in civilian life, and were available to European and Maori ex-servicemen alike, eligibility for each being based on a minimum service qualification determined by the Board.