Peace and new beginnings will be commemorated on Armistice Day, with the Rotorua Library giving people the chance to learn and share.

After four years, World War I finally came to a close with the signing of an armistice between Germany and the Allied Powers on November 11, 1918.

The community can learn about the earliest Armistice celebrations held in Rotorua from Rotorua Library heritage specialists Alison Leigh and Trish Brown.

This year marks 100 years since Armistice, the declaration of peace in World War I.


This session will give the community a chance to find out how Rotorua first commemorated Armistice, as well as about the official Peace Day Celebration which was held from July 19 to 21 in 1919.

Researched and compiled by Rotorua Library heritage specialists, this presentation is unique because there is little other information available on the topic due to the lack of local newspaper resources from c1910 to 1931, library heritage and research specialist Alison Leigh says.

"It paints a picture for those locals who lost loved ones during the war and people researching their family history are often asking for the kind of information that will be presented."

Much of the research done for the presentation has made use of items held in the Heritage Collections in the Don Stafford Room of the library.

Books on local history were drawn from, along with references from archival material, Papers Past, and the research notes of Don Stafford.

The team has also sourced information and images from further afield, with material from Rotorua Museum, Auckland Libraries and Archives New Zealand included.

Alison says Armistice Day in Rotorua was initially commemorated more than Anzac Day.

Fellow library heritage and research specialist Trish Brown feels that taking a look back at Armistice Day reminds us of connections we have with other people.

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"So many of us have people in our past that played their part in wartime, and it's nice to remember them, and maybe think about what we don't want for our future or that of our children".

As well as learning about early commemorations, finding and sharing your family's war memories is being made easier with He Pou Aroha, the Community Cenotaph Roadshow Unit.

He Pou Aroha Community Cenotaph is a purpose-built digitisation kiosk which gives access to the Online Cenotaph, and enables people to scan and add their family's war-related memorabilia to the site.

An initiative of the Auckland War Memorial Museum, the digitisation unit has visited libraries, community centres and museums across the North Island.

It will be on the second floor of Rotorua Library from until November 23.

Heritage and Research Team lead Ani Sharland says the arrival of the kiosk is timely and coincides with commemorating Armistice Day and 100 years since the end of World War I.

"It's an opportunity for the community to read and contribute material about family members and loved ones who served for Aotearoa New Zealand."

Ani encourages members of the community to bring items such as photographs, letters, diaries and medals to the library to scan and upload using the kiosk.

There is no cost and no need to book. For more information go to

The details
- What: Rotorua History of Armistice
- When: Friday November 9
- Where: Discovery Space, Rotorua Library Te Aka Mauri
- Cost: Gold coin koha appreciated, no booking required