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Object: Poster, ’Protect New Zealand’

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Title Poster, ’Protect New Zealand’
Production N.Z. National Savings Committee (creating agency), June 1942, Wellington
Materials paper, printing ink
Classification political posters
Technique offset lithography
Dimensions Overall: 487mm (Height) x 362mm (Width)
Credit line Gift of Mr C H Andrews, 1967
Registration number GH014046

This poster advertised the National Savings Act, which the government enacted in October 1940 to encourage the habit of saving among New Zealanders.


Ideas of protection and financial contribution are closely entwined in this poster. A battleship sweeps past a highlighted map of New Zealand, evoking the idea of protection, while the text makes it clear that protection must be paid for. The imagery taps into New Zealand's fear of coastal attack by Japan in 1942.


The New Zealand government financed the country's contribution to World War II from internal resources, raising substantial amounts through taxation, internal loans, and encouraging people to put money into National Savings accounts. Posters played a significant part in the associated fund-raising campaigns, making intense appeals to New Zealanders' sense of patriotism and sacrifice.

National Savings

National Savings became a constant feature of everyday life during the war, attracting small weekly investments from a wide cross-section of the public. Contributions could be made either individually or through workplace groups. Employees could authorise their employers to transfer regular amounts from their wages into National Savings accounts. Savings bonds and accounts bore interest at 3 percent, and the money invested in National Savings was paid into the government’s War Expenses Account.

The scheme was advertised to the public as a way for everyone to make a contribution, no matter how small. Saving was also encouraged as preparation for the post-war period when goods would become more plentiful. Public support was generally very positive. Most New Zealanders were willing to cut back or postpone spending on consumables to support the war and save more of their incomes.


Several posters were published and issued by the National Savings Office during World War II. They were seen in public places such as post offices, savings banks, and railway stations. Posters such as this one had the potential for long display lives as the National Savings scheme remained at 3 percent throughout the war.

Related information

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