Skip to main content

British Empire

Articles

British & Irish immigration, 1840-1914

Who were the ancestors of Pākehā New Zealand? Where did they come from and what sort of people were they? These are some of the questions which this feature sets out to answer. Read the full article

Page 1 - British and Irish immigration 1840-1914

Who were the ancestors of Pākehā New Zealand? Where did they come from and what sort of people were they? These are some of the questions which this feature sets out to

First World War - overview

Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and his wife Sophie were assassinated in the Bosnian city of Sarajevo. This was a key event in sparking the Great War of 1914–18. Read the full article

Page 1 - New Zealand and the First World War

Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and his wife Sophie were assassinated in the Bosnian city of Sarajevo. This was a key event in

Page 3 - Preparing for war

News of the outbreak of war was received in Wellington at 1 p.m. on 5 August 1914. It was announced by the governor, Lord Liverpool, on the steps of Parliament to a crowd of over

Page 4 - New Zealand goes to war

Before the outbreak of war, Prime Minister W.F. Massey had made it clear that New Zealand’s main contribution would be supplying troops to the major theatre of conflict. But

Page 5 - The war at home

New Zealand played a small but useful part in the British Empire's war effort, and its essential war aim was achieved with the defeat of Germany and its allies in late 1918. New

Page 6 - The legacy of war

The war had a major impact on constitutional arrangements within the British Empire, and it affected New Zealand's international status.

History of the Governor-General

New Zealand has had a governor or (from 1917) a governor-general since 1840. The work of these men and women has reflected the constitutional and political history of New Zealand in many ways. Read the full article

Page 3 - Crown colony era

New Zealand became a British colony in 1840, legitimised by the Treaty of Waitangi and Lieutenant-Governor William Hobson's 21 May declaration of

Page 5 - Splendid ornamentals

With the appointment of Lord Onslow in 1889, a new type of governor took up residence in Government

Page 6 - Regalised

The constitutional arrangements of the British Empire changed greatly between the creation of the Imperial War Cabinet in 1917 and the passing of the Statute of Westminster in

Governors and Governors-General

New Zealand has had 16 resident governors and 22 governors-general. Two early governors were called governor-in-chief. Read the full article

Page 3 - Career paths

As the job evolved over time, so did the type of person needed to govern successfully. Between 1840 and 1853, when governors ruled personally, they were junior navy or army

Parliament's culture and traditions

Explore Parliament's rich history and its colourful culture and traditions. Read the full article

Page 4 - Westminster traditions

Many parliaments take a lead from Britain's ancient House of Commons, and New Zealand, too, followed the traditions in the home

Capture of German Samoa

When war broke out in Europe in August 1914, Britain asked New Zealand to seize German Samoa as a ‘great and urgent Imperial service’. Although the tiny German garrison offered no opposition, at the time it was regarded as a potentially risky action. Read the full article

Page 2 - New Zealand in the Pacific

Samoans were not consulted when Britain, Germany and the United States agreed to partition their islands in December

British Empire

Key information and statistics about countries who fought as part of the British Empire during the First World War Read the full article

Page 1 - The British Empire

Key information and statistics about countries who fought as part of the British Empire during the First World

Page 2 - Dominion of New Zealand

Facts and statistics about New Zealand during the First World

Page 3 - Commonwealth of Australia

Key information and statistics about the Commonwealth of Australia during the First World

Page 4 - Dominion of Canada

Key information and statistics about Canada during the First World

Page 5 - British India

Facts and statistics about India during the First World

Page 6 - Dominion of Newfoundland

Key information and statistics about the Dominion of Newfoundland during the First World

Page 7 - Union of South Africa

Facts and stats about South Africa and the First World

Page 8 - United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland

Key information and statistics about the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland during the First World

Premiers and Prime Ministers

From Henry Sewell in 1856 to Chris Hipkins in 2023, New Zealand has had 41 prime ministers and premiers. Read biographies of the men and women who have held the top job, discover more about the role's political origins, and explore fascinating prime ministerial facts and trivia. Read the full article

Page 2 - Political origins

Overview of the influence of the British political system in New Zealand and our move toward self-government in the 19th

Merchant marine

On 3 September New Zealand honours Merchant Navy Day. Here we explore the little-known but vital role played by the merchant marine during the First World War, when these civilian seafarers often found themselves in the front line of the war at sea. Read the full article

Page 2 - The merchant marine goes to war

The outbreak of war in 1914 posed special problems for New Zealand because of its dependence on sea