September 1907 – this month last century

105 years ago New Zealand becomes a Dominion (26 September 1907)

At 11am, 26 September 1907, New Zealand officially moved up in the ranks in the British Empire. On that day it became a Dominion instead of a Colony. That night, electric illuminations on buildings in the capital proclaimed this auspicious and historical moment.

Dominion Day - Government Buildings at night, 25.09.1907, Wellington. Maker unknown. Te Papa

Dominion Day – Government Buildings at night, 25.09.1907, Wellington. Maker unknown. Te Papa

Although public servants were given a holiday and children were presented with a special medal to commemorate the event, this change did not translate into any significant changes to everyday life in New Zealand.

Dominion Day parade, 25.09.1907. Photographed by Frederick Brockett (1881-1956). Te Papa

Dominion Day parade, 25.09.1907. Photographed by Frederick Brockett (1881-1956). Te Papa

And despite military parades and flag raising ceremonies, many people did not comprehend the differences between begin a Colony and Dominion. The change was more of a political initiative, motivated by perceptions – perceptions that within the Empire, Dominions were superior to Colonies.

There’s more about New Zealand becoming a Dominion on nzhistory.net.nz

Learn about New Zealand and its colonial attachment to Great Britain in the 1900s on the Slice of Heaven exhibition website

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