Mike Subritzky


They clad us in the colours of the forest,
and armed us with the weapons made for war.
Then taught to us the ancient trade of killing,
and lead us to the sound of battles roar.

So give us comfort as we lay down bleeding,
and pray upon our cold and stiffened dead.
But mark our place that we might be accounted;
this foreign soil becomes our graven bed.

Now children place upon this stone a garland,
and learn of us each Anzac Day at dawn.
We are New Zealand’s dead from distant conflict,
our sacrifice remembered ever more.

Author’s Note: This is the first New Zealand poem to be read at the ANZAC War Memorial, Hyde Park, London. It was read on ANZAC Day 2004 by The Honourable Russell Marshall, New Zealand High Commissioner.

ANZACs, brothers Harold (left) and Arthur Bartleet: November 20, 1915
The ANZACs in this photo are brothers Harold (left) and Arthur Bartleet. The photo was taken outside of their
dugout on Gallipoli on Arthur’s 21st Birthday on the 20th of November 1915. Both brothers survived the war.

War Poets and Artists Work On Public Display
By BETTY JEEVES [April 2008]

The Waihi Arts Centre and Museum Committee Invitation

The Waihi Arts Centre and Museum Committee Invitation
Seasons of the Martha 1967: Campbell Smith

Campbell Smith, Sue Baker-Wilson, and Mike Subritzky at the Lines of Light Exhibition: April 18, 2008
Campbell Smith, Sue Baker-Wilson, and
Mike Subritzky at the Lines of Light Exhibition
April 18, 2008
War poets and artists have had their works put on display for the wider community to reflect upon and enjoy.

On Friday at the Waihi Arts Centre and Museum two exhibitions were opened in the Lee – Johnson Gallery.

“Lines of Light” features wood engravings by Campbell Smith and Colours of War shows images and poems by Sue Baker-Wilson with Anthony Pahl OAM, Ricky Havoc and Mike Subritzky.

The exhibitions form part of the Waihi Heritage Vision Group 08 Anzac Day initiative.

The multi-media display includes works by one of New Zealand’s best known war poets Mike Subritzky. Katikati-born, he was educated at St Joseph’s Convent School in Waihi and later Waihi College. Following an apprenticeship as a leather cutter, Mr Subritzky joined the New Zealand military and throughout his 25-year career, has the distinction of having enlisted and served in all three of the New Zealand Armed Forces; The Royal New Zealand Navy, New Zealand Army and New Zealand Air Force. He also served in three military fire brigades. Trained in various occupations including the rudiments of combat surgery, the sergeant was part of the armed New Zealand Peacekeeping Force in Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe). The reason may have been to keep the peace, but Mr Subritzky was affected by the atrocities he saw.

During his tour of duty he kept a diary and in 2000 assisted with the making of a Millennium television series on the history of New Zealand.

Mr Subritzky’s poetry has been read in Westminster Abbey and Spirit of Anzac was the first New Zealand poem to be read at the Anzac War Memorial in Hyde Park, London, on Anzac Day 2004. He has a book of poems of the same title on sale, a tribute of verse and photographs to ordinary New Zealand men and women who have experienced war.

Andrew Baldwin, composer in residence at Saint Paul’s Cathedral, Wellington has set one of his poems to music, a choral piece which will be sung by the choir in the cathedral on Anzac Day.

Exhibitor Campbell Smith taught in Waihi and has been credited with saving the Cornish pumphouse from demolition. In 1958 the army wanted to blow it up.

“‘I think I was the only one who took the trouble to say ‘don’t do it’:” he said. “I don’t think they would have done it, it was too hard.”

Kit Wilson, who spoke at the exhibitions’ launch on Vision Waihi’s behalf on Friday, said Mr Smith was the pumphouse’s saviour. “We tell people that when we take them through.”

The exhibition is timed to coincide with Anzac Day celebrations and runs until May 11. The centre and museum is open from Thursday to Sunday.