The decision to sell 'Riverina' appears to have been taken by Willie (with Colin's agreement). He later explained the decision as having been brought about by a shortage of hired labour in the area, but other, more personal, considerations may have come into play. His marriage in December 1905 (at the age of 50) also indicates a desire for a new beginning after many years of acting as 'right-hand man' to his parents. His bride, Janet Agnes Somerville of Anderson's Bay, Dunedin, was the sister of Wairoa's resident GP. The newly-weds first settled to farm on the Tukituki River, near Waipawa and therefore close to Maggie and Colin, but following Colin's death they moved on to Whakatu, near Clive (between Hastings and Napier). There Janet died, childless, in June 1911. Willie would subsequently remarry - in 1915, to Mary Anne McKinlay - and have a daughter, Jean, who was born after his death in 1920.
By the outbreak of the First World War, therefore, Isabella and Colin's children were scattered over much of the North Island. How exactly the war impacted upon their lives is less easily perceived than in the case of their cousins in Scotland. Despite distance from the main centres of conflict in Europe and the Middle East, New Zealand (which became a self-governing dominion in 1907) was deeply involved in the war. Nearly twenty per cent of the adult male population - the highest proportion in any English-speaking country - served in the armed forces, and many saw action in some of the bloodiest campaigns, including Gallipoli in the Dardanelles and Passchendaele on the Somme.
At least two members of the Munro family - both brothers - saw service overseas. Alan Munro, Murdoch's second son, enlisted at Te Hapua, joining the Auckland Infantry Battalion as a private. He left New Zealand in August 1915 and went into action as a machine gunner first at Gallipoli and then on the Western Front. He was wounded in the Battle of Messines Ridge (near Ypres) in June-July 1917, but survived his wounds and returned to civilian life in New Zealand in 1919. Alan's youngest brother, Murdoch Might Munro (Maggie's ward), was articled to a law firm when the war broke out. He too was called up into the army, and served as a gunner with the New Zealand Field Artillery in France. He survived the bloodshed, returning to North Island in 1919 to abandon a career in law in favour of one in school-teaching.
Meanwhile, his father, Murdoch (Murdy), also had a brush with the harsh realities of war - despite living in virtual exile in the far reaches of Northland. In June 1918 the small passenger liner, s.s. Wimmera, on a voyage from Auckland to Sydney in Australia, struck a mine off Cape Reigna that had been laid by the German sea-raider Wolf. The vessel
sank with the loss of 26 lives, but the survivors found shelter at Murdoch's homestead, which was the nearest settlement to the scene of the tragedy, and he and his Maori neighbours were instrumental in alerting the authorities and securing assistance for the stranded passengers and crew.
By the time of the sinking Murdoch was in a relationship with a Maori woman named Waikaraka Tahana, and in September 1917 they had had a son, Haretana Munro. Long after the war, Haretana would marry a young Maori woman, Miriana Pirangi, and with her start a family that would create a Maori branch of the Munros.
For most of the family the war-time experience would have been less exciting, but nevertheless stressful. Although commodity prices reached new heights, labour was even scarcer than before, and women and older men were called upon to cover work once done by the absent young men. The shortage and high cost of shipping meant a scarcity of imported goods, and a stimulus to local self-sufficiency. And then, in 1918-19, the great world influenza pandemic, caused by the mass movement of men around the theatres of war, also struck New Zealand. Daniel MacDonald died in 1918, a year after his wife Catherine (Kitty) had passed away in hospital in New Plymouth. It is not clear at this point if Daniel was a victim of the pandemic, but it certainly carried away his and Kitty's youngest son, William, as well as Kitty's youngest brother, Colin Munro jnr., who died in Waipukarau hospital, near Waipawa.
Although the pandemic reached across generations, it also served a something of a watershed between them. As it departed New Zealand, and the country returned to the 'normality' of peace-time, the second generation of the Munro family that had dispersed from Glen Orrin was beginning to pass away. Kitty's death in 1917 and Colin junior's in 1918 was soon followed by the passing of Willie in 1920 and of Murdoch (Murdy) in 1922. As in Scotland and in the USA, the torch of family progress was being handed over to the third generation.