The role and structure of the New Zealand Volunteer Force 1885-1910
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
In this thesis I propose to examine the role and structure of the New Zealand Volunteer Force between 1885 and 1910; a period beginning with the upsurge of interest in defence matters due to the Russian war scare, and ending with the abolition of the Volunteer system. This has been a largely neglected area of study in New Zealand history, which this thesis goes in same way to redress. I begin by outlining the development of Volunteering in Britain and New Zealand before 1885. The roles of the Volunteer Force in the defence of New Zealand, and in local communities are studied in some detail. A study is also made of the type of men who joined, and some conclusions are reached as to why they became involved in the Movement. Particular attention is devoted to the structure and operation of Volunteer corps. The weaknesses of the Volunteer system are studied in some detail, as are the resultant limitations on the Force's military effectiveness. The composition and activities of the Force over the period are surveyed and related to changes in New Zealand's defence policy and posture. Finally, the nature of the Volunteer Movement is analysed.