The Peace Project
One hundred years ago on Saturday 19 July 1919 the community of Oamaru celebrated PEACE.
The end of WWI is generally recognized as being Armistice day on 11 November 1918. However the Treaty of Versailles was not signed until 28 June 1919 and many communities waited for their soldiers to return home and the Spanish Flu epidemic to recede before celebrating.
Education and Engagement Officer Elizabeth King says: ‘When I looked into the history of the Peace Parades I realized that people were not just celebrating the end of the war, they were also praying for a much wider concept of peace. The Oamaru Mail uses the rainbow as a metaphor for a concept of peace which includes “national ideals, moral standards (and) religious aspirations”. Our team felt those ideals were of particular relevance to our times, especially in light of the Christchurch Attacks’.
Gallery Museum Archive Director Jane Macknight says: ‘I have always loved the photographs of the 1919 Peace Parade. People look so joyful and went to so much effort to create their costumes and floats. We are lucky to have these images in the Waitaki District Archive as part of the JM Brown collection. We thought about ways to share these images with the public, and came up with the idea for the street flags. We have created colourful flags invoking the rainbow metaphor and diverse symbols of peace, together with images from the 1919 Peace Parades’.
Mayor Gary Kircher says: ‘We hope that people will enjoy the injection of colour into the winter days of Oamaru as well as thinking about how important it is to embrace diversity and difference across our community.’
The Peace Flags will be on display for the centenary and throughout August. The Culture Waitaki wonderlab holiday programme is all about Peace. Come and hear Museum Curator Chloe Searle talk about different aspects of Peace and join in different activities each day. At St Paul’s Presbyterian Church Hall, 7 Coquet Street from 11.00am to 3.00pm Monday 15th to Thursday 18th July, 2019.
Peace Parade 1919, JMBrown collection, Collection of the Waitaki District Archive 105019.