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The Voices Against War website is one component of an educational peace project, “Pacifist Women, Men and their Families in Canterbury” co-ordinated by the Disarmament and Security Centre (DSC) in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Our aim was to identify, research and publicise in a range of forms, the stories of women, men and their families throughout Canterbury who opposed conscription and militarism, supported the conscientious objectors (COs), and campaigned for a new world order before during and after World War I.

The project leader was Dr Kate Dewes, Co-Director of the DSC. The lead researcher and writer was community historian, Margaret Lovell-Smith, who as well as writing for the website has prepared and delivered lectures and presentations to numerous community groups. History graduate student Dan Bartlett worked on the project as a University of Canterbury ‘summer scholar’ in December-February 2015-2016 and has continued to work for the project as a writer, researcher, and speaker. Frank Wills was a summer scholar on the project in 2016-2017. Dan Richardson, who was a UC Voices Against War intern in 2019, added two further articles to the website, while an article by independent historian Martin Crick was added in 2020. The project was supported by the University of Canterbury’s School of Humanities and Creative Arts and is based in the UC Arts Digital Lab. Dr Jane Buckingham, Associate Professor of History at UC, edits the website content, and works closely with the team.

An exhibition originally developed for Heritage Week in October 2016 and staged in the University of Canterbury Library has since been displayed in several of the Christchurch City Libraries and other community venues.

The DSC gratefully acknowledges the financial assistance of the World War I Commemoration Heritage Lottery Fund, Environment and Heritage Committee, Te Tahua Whakamaharatanga ki te Pakanga Tuatahi o te Ao, Te Taiao me ngā Taonga Tuku Iho; Quaker Peace and Service Aotearoa/New Zealand, and the support of the University of Canterbury’s School of Humanities and Creative Arts, in the preparation and maintenance of this website, designed and developed by the UC Arts Digital Lab. Further funding was later received from the Peace and Disarmament Education Trust, and from the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, to facilitate the continuation of the project and for the preparation of a book.

For help with locating and accessing images for the website, the DSC also acknowledges the co-operation of the Macmillan Brown Library at the University of Canterbury, the Canterbury Museum, Christchurch, the Christchurch City Libraries, the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, the Hocken Library, Dunedin and the Auckland Institute and Museum Library.

The website is a work in progress and further content will be added as it becomes available.

We welcome enquiries. We endeavor to place students with the project through internships and summer scholarships each year.

If you would like to contact the Voices Against War team, please email: voicesagainstwarnz@gmail.com

For a more detailed discussion about the World War I peace movement and actions taken by those who objected to military training or service, we recommend 'I Don't Believe in Murder': Standing up for peace in World War I Canterbury, a book written by Margaret Lovell-Smith and published by Canterbury University Press in 2023.  The book greatly extends and develops research done by Margaret and Dan Bartlett for the Voices Against War website.