A Literary Trust Fund was established in late 2005 by the Museum’s Trust Board, as a result of a gift from an anonymous donor for the research of “an aspect of New Zealand’s international relations and their military implications, during the Second World War.” Mr Gerald Hensley was the recipient of the initial award and that resulted in the publishing of his book “Beyond the Battlefield – New Zealand and its Allies 1939-1945“.
This project became the beginning of the Museum’s support towards fostering and promoting historical research and publications of merit relating to New Zealand’s strategic, political and military commitment to conflict and conflict resolution.
The Literary Fund has been involved in a number of publications since this time including most recently Man of Iron: a biography of Lt Col William Malone by Jock Vennell. Other publications include: A Bloody Road Home – World War Two and New Zealand’s Heroic Second Division by Dr Christopher Pugsley, of “With Honour – Our Army, Our Nation, Our History” by Richard Wolfe and “Images of War – World War I” by Glyn Harper.
A Bloody Road Home – World War Two and New Zealand’s Heroic Second Division by Dr Christopher Pugsley was launched in late 2014 and covers the history of the 2nd NZ Division from its establishment in September 1939 to its disbandment on 26 February 1946 following their last operation facing Toto’s partisans in Trieste in late 1945. A Bloody Road Home is the only book to date that covers every one of the Divisions operations.
The book is dedicated to the Morrison family who were instrumental in the establishment of the Fund and provided financial support for this book. Four sons and one daughter served in World War II with two sons sadly killed in action.
The author not only describes the battles and the political situation in detail but cleverly includes excerpts from individual soldiers diaries which add considerably to the story. As the Governor General, Lt Gen The Right Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae states in the Foreward, “This is a story worth telling and deserves to be read by all New Zealanders.” A view supported by all who have read this very good history.
Dr Pugsley is one of New Zealand’s leading military historians and has written over 15 books.
“Beyond the Battlefield, NZ and its Allies 1939-1945” by Gerald Hensley was launched in Parliament on 3rd September 2009 to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of war.
The book examines a key part of New Zealand’s history during which time, under the immense pressure of fighting a war on both sides of the world, the country moved from being a quiet and faraway outpost in the Commonwealth to a strong, independent nation playing an influential role in the shaping of the United Nations. New Zealand’s sometimes rocky relationships with its wartime allies Great Britain, Australia and the United States during a period of great world turmoil are all exposed and explained in an engaging and thoughtful look into the human side of diplomacy – highlighting the irritants, the cross comments, the subterfuge and intrigue that are the real drivers of history.
Gerald Hensley was trained as an historian before he joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He served there for 20 years and was then appointed Permanent Head of the Prime Minister’s Department. In that role he worked for Sir Robert Muldoon and David Lange before becoming Co-ordinator for Domestic and External Security and later Secretary of Defence.
To Order the Book: “Beyond the Battlefield – New Zealand and its Allies 1939-1945” by Gerald Hensley download this form.