Across the Street, Across the World: A History of the Red Cross in New Zealand 1915-2015 covers the role of the Red Cross in both world wars and in times of disaster, from the 1931 Hawkes Bay earthquake to the more recent Canterbury earthquakes. It explores, through the lens of one organisation, the on-going impact of war on transitions to peace, the place of charity within a welfare state, and the interplay of professional and managerial forces on an organisation with a strong voluntary ethos. The international dimension also features, from the evolution of the Geneva Conventions, aid worker assistance during the Sino-Japanese war in the 1930s, through to the Ebola outbreak of 2014.
Whether providing education in ‘the law of war’, parcels for POWs, meals on wheels, or blankets and hot water bottles after the Canterbury earthquakes, the Red Cross became a versatile and trusted source of non-discriminatory humanitarian aid. The book explores how, and why.
Margaret Tennant was formerly Professor of History at Massey University and now works as a freelance historian. The History of the New Zealand Red Cross is now available from the Society using the attached order form, or from selected bookshops.