Did Dad go to war so the National Party could surrender his country?

ANZAC Day 2013 - JA, BNZ Plaque ceremony 2011 - Dad

Left: Wearing the medals Dad never wore.
Right and below: Dad, 91, after laying the wreath at a BNZ ANZAC Ceremony, 2011.

Dear Dad,

How’s things up there? It’s been eighteen months now. We all miss your warmth and your humour, and will always treasure the example you set us of utter integrity. No doubt you’re having a ball with your old mates. Say hi to Nana and Uncle Bill and Auntie Minna.

And Steve Jobs. Have you persuaded him to be your personal computer tutor, as I predicted at your funeral?

This is just to say that, after 68 years, your medals have finally been to a Dawn Parade.

You never wore them, did you? Not even when your beloved BNZ asked you to lay the wreath at that ANZAC service in 2011.

I was so proud to be there with you that day. Your interview for the Archives has become a family heirloom. I’ve even put it on You Tube.

(Don’t ask. Just know that someone from Qatar has just been watching you talk about Guadalcanal.)

ANZAC ceremony BNZ 2011 - Dad laying wreathAnyway, my old mate John T suggested it might be good for us to go to yesterday’s Dawn Parade.

I wasn’t so sure. Had to admit I’d never been to one. You know I’m not a morning person, Dad.

But then I thought of you.

I thought about how you once volunteered for something even more traumatic than getting up at five.

World War Two.

That must have been a tad daunting, given your position as the world’s least violent man. How could you possibly have killed anyone?

(Yes I know — you’d have used your legendary persuasive skills to politely convince your Japanese opponent to fall on his sword.)

Then I thought about how, in 1919, Nana named you Vivian after her brother John Vivian Telfer, who hadn’t made it back from Gallipoli four years earlier.

(The vicar at the service told us that one in seventeen New Zealanders died in that war. That’s one in eight men. Maybe one in four young men. Then Spanish flu followed them home and decimated the survivors.)

I thought about young J.V. being ordered to go over the top at daybreak, and the odds against him replying: “Honestly I’d love to, Sarge, but if it’s all the same to you — what with all the noise and the flies and the body parts flying everywhere — I haven’t been sleeping well lately and I could really do with another couple of hours’ kip.”

Either way he was done for.

How much my boys’ and my generation take for granted, thanks to him — and you.

John Vivian Telfer

John Vivian Telfer, my great-uncle.
Killed at Gallipoli, 1915.

And so, since I’m a John and you’re Vivian, I thought I’d honour that young man — as well as my favourite old one.

Well before sunrise, I lifted your medals out of that old Pitcairn Island book box to which you unceremoniously consigned them after the war.

I took care to pin them on the right side of my jacket — to make it clear that they’d been earned by someone else, not me.

(No, I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to wear the bar as well!)

Thought I’d better wear a suit, in case you were watching. John wore shorts. Most wore jeans. But all the old guys wore jackets, and I was representing one of their finest.

It was a moving occasion, as dozens if not hundreds of Martinborough locals fell sombrely in behind the town’s tiny and dwindling band of old soldiers, their numbers swelled by firemen and servicemen and schoolchildren.

The bugling was stirring, the singing atrocious — a typically Kiwi monotonous mass mumble — especially the first verse of the national anthem.

As the vicar’s soothing words trailed away in the dawn’s early light, we trooped off to the Town Hall for refreshments, where the woman from the church who served me coffee was one Deborah Coddington.

(We greeted each other politely. What Deborah didn’t know was that I’d been thinking of challenging her to a Treaty debate in that very venue. But ANZAC Day didn’t feel like the time.)

Deborah — ACT MP turned Constitutional Advisory Panellist and wife of iwi lawyer Colin Carruthers — reminded me of the other reason I was there.

It was to remind myself that you and all your mates, Dad, did not help God defend New Zealand just so a bunch of gutless appeasers — a chamber of Chamberlains — could one day give away the country you fought for to a bunch of conniving fractional-descendants of the tribesmen who wanted to wipe out your great-grandmother.

(Where else in the world do the descendants of the winners of a war of rebellion pay reparations to the descendants of the losers?!)

I remember you telling me  how you kids in the 1920s hated having to kiss great-grandma’s furry face at family picnics. So I looked her up…

Alice Telfer. Born: Auckland, 1845. Died: Auckland, 1946. What a life — from Heke’s War to Hiroshima!

But here’s the sobering fact they don’t teach in our state indoctrination facilities…

If Governor Grey hadn’t made the Kingites think again after they’d threatened to massacre every man, woman and child in Auckland, Alice Telfer would have been dead — shot, if she was lucky, tomahawked if not — at fifteen.

Dad and comrades

Sergeant Viv Ansell, bottom left, between puffs.

The tribal tripe is getting worse by the month, Dad.

Just last week some loony judge fined a chopper pilot $3750 for offending our highest mountain — now officially, would you believe, a Ngai Tahu ancestor.

The Taupo troughers are not only stinging triathletes like jellyfish for swimming in our largest lake, they reckon they can get away with charging millions a year to power generators for storing their water in it.

Water that has very conveniently fallen out of the sky!

(A sky which they do not yet own, but undoubtedly will the next time the Maori Party hold the balance of power — which, after the Maori roll campaign, according to Colin James, is going to be more often than not.)

Come to think of it, with foxes like Finlayson in charge of the Treaty henhouse, they probably won’t have to wait that long.

Anyone with a nanodroplet of brown blood, an ounce of creativity, and an ability to keep a straight face while emotionally blackmailing Tangata Whinlayson (not easy, admittedly) is quids in.

Dad in Fiji during war

Dad (left) and an army mate with a Fijian chief.

Sorry my generation’s been such a disappointment, Dad. Sorry we’re letting the country you fought for break in two.

(Your church, by the way, has broken in three — the ‘Anglican church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia’.)

Your old colleagues still talk about you as the BNZ’s change agent of the 60s and 70s. The way your successors brought the bank to its knees in the 80s made you as angry as I’d ever seen you.

Well, that’s how I feel about what my former employer Key has been doing to New Zealand.

A bank can be bailed out. But once a country’s gone, it’s gone.

And New Zealand is going fast. Key is driving more people away than Clark did. The escapees write to me from Queensland. They all give the same reason: the Maorification of Everything.

(And a lot of them are Maori.)

I don’t have your patience, and we don’t have the time. It’s next election or never.

I’ll do the best I can with what I’ve got.

See you later,


16 thoughts on “Did Dad go to war so the National Party could surrender his country?

  1. John, that’s brilliant. A nice mix of emotion – moving, humour and, sadly, fact. You are so right about this country.

    Yesterday surely was a time to reflect on where Key is leading us all – unfortunately quickly down the gurgler if he isn’t halted in his tracks post haste.

    We mustn’t let those extremely brave young men having fought and too many having given up their lives for nothing!!

  2. The men who went off to war the way they did deserve our utmost thanks and admiration. They went so selflessly. They put their own egos, desires, ambitions, lives and loved ones to one side when their country needed them.

    They selflessly gave their all for their country.

    They didn’t whine about their lives being disrupted, or about how they had to give up their ambitions and lives for the greater good. They just did it, because the cause was more important than their own egos and wants.

    Many of them must have expected that they would not come home. That they had a pretty good chance of dying a nasty, dirty death on foreign soil.

    They didn’t go to fight for their country to be called a hero, or to see their name up in lights, or even to receive any accollades.

    They just did what was best for their country – selflessly.

    Now that’s something we all could aspire to. That’s something I can really admire. That’s what I call a REAL hero.

    1. Well said, Brenda. I really worry though about what will happen to this country when the older ones who really know what we are about, pass on. Is our younger generation equipped to stand up and insist on equality in this country or has their education and other influences brainwashed them into believing something else which is quite incorrect?

      Anzac Day was a good time to reflect on what those heroic men and women did for our country and why.

  3. An awesome remembrance article John yet I was surprised that you also mention tribalists on the same post.

    I do not believe they should be mentioned in anything to do with ANZAC day personally as they did Jack for the ANZACS back then or their Countrymen now with the hi jacking of our fair land through downright LIES that need correcting in the first instance yet can understand the mention given them.

    Seeing you wear your Fathers Medals on your right side bought great joy to me as much as riding my old Triumph along with kindred spirits riding hard to the Cenotaph in Auckland to honour the fallen and join with the other attendees to swap tales and share good cheer Kia Kaha John.

    Godbless and Godspeed good Sir

    1. I think mentioning tribalists has every relevance here because way back then this whole scam would never have been tolerated. No one I know ever disrespected the Maori Battalion.

      Our fathers, grandfathers, uncles, etc, would turn in their graves to see the sort of separatist state that New Zealand has become.

      1. Very true KC I can find truth in what you state here also. There is always more truth to come out when properly debated given the right forum which is meant to be our Govt and yet here we all are on Johns blog because our Govt are not prepared to listen to their Employers n.b. the Public.

        “Our fathers, grandfathers, uncles, etc, would turn in their graves to see the sort of separatist state that New Zealand has become.”

        Which is why we must regain true Democracy in New Zealand To truly Honour their spirit surely.

        Lest We Forget good people or have we already (most of this generation seemingly anyway?).

  4. I watched the TV news yesterday. The first 20 minutes was nothing but Anzac day, dawn services, relatives wearing medals. Etc etc etc. I lost count of the number of times the TV presenters said ‘lest we forget’ and ‘the sacrifices they made for us’
    Now don’t get me wrong. This is all well and good. I am a supporter of our (even if now largely pathetic) military and people who serve their country deserve our respect and gratitude.


    I had to think looking at the plastic presenters trying to appear like they knew what they were talking about – ‘Do they know what they are talking about? Have they any idea what our forebears actually fought for?
    Was it to see superficial idiots prance about on TV spouting inanities while the principles they fought and died for, the actual reasons why they went to war are forgotten and tossed way?
    And what about all those who attend the services? Do they really know? Would the people they are honouring like what is happening to our country, or would they give their descendants a resounding smack across the ear and ask us what the hell we have done with the opportunity they gave us? The opportunity to be free of (at least external) oppression, to continue to build a nation where all are considered equal and free?
    Somehow I think most of us would be sporting very sore ears.

  5. John A very thought provoking post – I’m sorry to hear that your father died eighteen months ago. I can see that he meant a great deal to you and you do honour to his memory.

    1. Thank you Irene. My father lived to 91 and his death when I was 53 was my first experience of the loss of a close family member. Compared to others, that makes me very lucky indeed.

      I’m sure Dad was no more important to me than your dad is or was to you, but his passing made me realise that theirs is/was a very special generation. They far more than we understand that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance. They far more than we understand the damage wrought by policies of appeasement.

      Perhaps that’s why my audiences are mainly comprised of older New Zealanders. I salute them and I’m proud to have them there. They, it seems, are where most of our nation’s courage and decency resides.

      But I wonder despairingly: Who will be the keepers of the courage and the ethics when the last of that golden generation is gone?

      Do the rest of us have the collective will and guts to do what’s right?

  6. Yes, I feel the same way…My Grandad was badly wounded by a mortar shell and his rescuers had to untangle him from a barbed wire fence with his entrails visible. He had metal fragments in his abdonimal cavity all his life and wore a corset as his stomach muscles were blown out.
    Before he died he said he wouldnt have bothered had he known how things would eventuate.

    Now it seems that we cant even stand up for our own freedoms and there’s no one shooting at us …well not yet. We have gone years with not reacting and being polite and reserved while by stealth, the progressives have pushed the wedge in further. Little by little they push on and one day we wake up to it and ask…. “How did this happen?”
    Well, we let them…thats how!…by being silent.

    This can only continue with our compliance and capitulation though. If there are 80% of NZers against this they wont win…. but that 80% needs to become very vocal, very soon and frighten a few politicians…or we will become a Kumara Republic that we wont want to live in. They will have won and your prized real estate may not be worth a pinch of puha….Think of what would happen if theres an exodus… and if they win it will probably happen.
    Now do we still want to be polite reserved and quiet?

  7. All very true John. A very well written commentary.

    On a different topic if anyone is interested here are a couple of articles on Native Indian policies in the US. I think you will be able to draw your own conclusions.

    “Before we proceed, I will give you some statistics. Native Americans receive more federal subsides than anybody else in the United States. This includes subsidized housing, health, education, and direct food aid. Yet, despite the uninterrupted flow of federal funds, they are the poorest group in the country. The poverty level on many reservations ranges between 38 and 63 percent (up to 82 percent on some reservations),[4] and half of all the jobs are usually in the public sector.[5] This is before the crisis of 2008! You don’t have to have a Ph.D. in economics to figure out that one of the major sources of this situation is a systemic failure of the federal Indian policies.”

    Mises Institute:

    “When customers who live and work on the nearby Crow Indian reservation don’t make their car payments, there’s not much Square One Finance of Bil
    lings, Montana, can do. Going to state court to repossess the car or garnish wages is not an option. Instead, Square One enters the murky realm of international affairs. The reservation is a separate nation—judgments in American courts can’t be enforced. And the chances of finding the customer and the car on the sprawling rural reservation, or winning in the unpredictable Crow courts, are slim. “We take on such a huge extra risk with someone from the reservation,” says Square One’s Nancy Vermeulen. “If I knew contracts would be enforced, then I could do a lot more business there.”


  8. Indigenous people have rights according to g palmer, nothing to do with the tow.

    “Indigineous rights” are the next “money gravy train” to be borne by the 85%
    “not indigineous” kiwis.

  9. Well we have nothing to worry about then, Albert, because people of maori descent aren’t indigenous. David Rankin, a Nga Puhi Chief has said so and we all know they all came in boats like the rest of us.

    Whatever they signed up to, doesn’t make them indigenous even if the United Nations has altered the meaning.

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