18 Jul 2023

The tragedy and horror of armed conflict was a matter of major concern for Christchurch’s women’s groups from the 1890s to the end of World War I.

Later this month, Margaret Lovell-Smith will speak to this history at a Tūranga event ‘Lay down Your Arms,’ discussing research from her forthcoming book ‘I don’t believe in murder’: Standing up for peace in World War I Canterbury. 

Ms Lovell-Smith says the book grew out of work she had previously done for the Voices Against War project – a regional study of Canterbury before and during World War I which was a war commemoration project. 

“Our aim when preparing the Voices Against War website was to write personal stories about those Canterbury people who opposed militarism and were anti-war before and during World War I,” says Ms Lovell-Smith. 

“This included the young men who refused to register for military training, and the men who objected to serving in the military during the war and became conscientious objectors. The third group of people we covered were those involved in the peace movement, including several women.” 

Ms Lovell-Smith says the presentation on women’s contribution to the peace movement is therefore just one aspect of a much bigger topic. 

Christchurch City Council Head of Libraries and Information Carolyn Robertson says it’s exciting to have Ms Lovell-Smith speak at Tūranga later this month. “This session is part of Christchurch City Libraries’ ‘Heritage Highlights.’ 

“Alongside other events in this series, ‘Lay down Your Arms’ explores our local history, including the people and places of Ōtautahi.” 

The event will take place at 10am Wednesday 26 July at Auaha Hīhī/ Spark Place, Ground Floor Tūranga. This free event is recommended for adult and bookings are required.