Armistice Day

At 11am on the 11th day of the 11th Month Germany officially signed an Armistice with the Allied Powers. The surrender of Germany meant celebrations in New Zealand could now officially start. Bells were rung, people danced in the street and work was forgotten.

An extract from Mr N.M Chappells memoirs (a former bnz employee and author of the New Zealand Bankers Hundred) recalls the celebrations;

His patriotism came into full play on Armistice Day on 11th November, 1918 when all work ceased and the people carried their rejoicing into the streets. L. P. Fraser, enlivened by samples of “Mountain Dew”, showed his Scottish enthusiasm by dancing a highland fling on the roof of the bank.’ [1]

BNZ branches were decorated with flags and bunting on the day and many branches including Woodville were decorated again for organised parades and the Peace Celebrations in 1919.

Unfortunately, not all of the country was able to celebrate in such a manner. Auckland, in the grips of the Spanish Flu decided against ‘ringing the bells’ or having large gatherings of people. This was to prevent the spread of illness and to allow those who were sick to rest.

Over half of the BNZ workforce served in WWI, 71 were killed and 136 wounded.

Today Armistice Day, alongside Anzac Day is a day to remember those that lost their lives in WW1 and WW2.

[1]Extract from Mr N.M Chappells Memoirs: BNZ Staff News Feb 1980

Woodville premises taken 1919 Resisized

Woodville branch decorated for Peace Celebrations - 1919

War memorials

BNZ War Memorial Plaques