Story: South African War

Patriotic song

‘Sons of the colonies’ was one of many patriotic songs which were composed to drum up New Zealanders’ support for participation in the South African War. The lyrics include the words:

Sons of the Colonies,
Loyal to motherland,
Show Britain's enemies
We’re one united band,
Rulers of Colonies,
Stand by your guiding star;
Forget not ’twas old England
That made us what we are.

The sentiments reflect the view that the war was an opportunity for the colonists to show that, although New Zealand was a long way from Great Britain, its citizens still shared in British values. The image also reflects these sentiments, with the Union Jack and the New Zealand flag crossed in harmony. This was the title slide in a lantern slide show used to farewell the first contingent in October 1899.

Soundfile courtesy of NZHistory

Using this item

National Army Museum, New Zealand
Reference: 1998.2854

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How to cite this page:

Jock Phillips, 'South African War - Origins of the war', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 23 May 2024)

Story by Jock Phillips, published 20 Jun 2012