Events In History
15 March 1919New Zealand troops riot in England
In the most serious breakdown of discipline in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in the European theatre, hundreds of men rioted at Sling Camp on Salisbury Plain. Read more...
4 November 1918New Zealand Division captures Le Quesnoy
By early November 1918 Germany stood alone against the Allies and revolution was breaking out behind the lines. But the German army was still resisting on the Western Front, and the New Zealanders’ capture of the walled northern French town of Le Quesnoy was a bold feat of arms. Read more...
26 June 1918Wimmera sunk by German mine
The steamer Wimmera, bound from Auckland to Sydney, struck a mine laid north of Cape Maria van Diemen in 1917 by the German raider Wolf. Twenty-six of its 151 passengers and crew were lost. Read more...
7 October 1917German 'Sea Devil' imprisoned in New Zealand
German Count Felix Graf von Luckner earned the epithet Der Seeteufel (the Sea Devil) for his exploits as captain of the raider SMS Seeadler in 1916–17. Read more...
24 September 1917Bere Ferrers rail accident
Ten New Zealand soldiers were killed when they were hit by a train at Bere Ferrers in southern England. The accident occurred as troops from the 28th Reinforcements for the NZ Expeditionary Force were being transported from Plymouth to Sling Camp on Salisbury Plain. Read more...
7 June 1917The Battle of Messines
The Battle of Messines was a prelude to the much larger Third Battle of Ypres, better known as Passchendaele. New Zealanders played a prominent role in this successful action but paid a heavy price: 3700 casualties, including 700 dead. Read more...
2 June 1917New Zealand steamer captured by the Wolf
The steamer Wairuna, en route from Auckland to San Francisco, was captured by the German raider Wolf and later sunk near the Kermadec Islands. The crew of 42 was taken prisoner. Read more...
25 August 1916First New Zealand soldier executed
After being found guilty of desertion, 28-year-old Private Frank Hughes was killed by a firing squad in Hallencourt, northern France. He was the first New Zealand soldier executed during the First World War. Read more...
31 May 1916HMS New Zealand fights at Jutland
In the misty North Sea on the last day of May 1916, 250 warships from Britain’s Royal Navy and Germany’s High Seas Fleet clashed in the First World War’s greatest and bloodiest sea battle. Read more...
11 April 1916Arrival of the NZ Division in France
The Minnewaska, a troopship carrying the headquarters of the recently formed New Zealand Division, arrived in Marseilles, France Read more...
1 March 1916New Zealand Division formed
After the evacuation from Gallipoli in December 1915, New Zealand forces returned to Egypt to recover. In February 1916, it was determined that Australian and New Zealand infantry divisions would be sent to the Western Front. On 1 March, the New Zealand Division was formed. Read more...
15 December 1915The evacuation of Gallipoli begins
In a well-planned operation which contrasted sharply with those mounted earlier in the campaign, the troops were successfully withdrawn between 15 and 20 December. Read more...
23 October 1915New Zealand nurses lost in Marquette sinking
The sinking of the transport ship Marquette in the Aegean Sea in late 1915 added to the grief of a nation still reeling from the heavy losses at Gallipoli. Read more...
21 August 1915New Zealand mounteds attack Hill 60
Hill 60 was the last offensive action fought by the New Zealanders during the Gallipoli campaign. This ‘abominable little hill’, as described by Brigadier General Andrew Russell, was the site of bitter fighting between New Zealand Mounted riflemen and Ottoman troops in late August 1915. Read more...
8 August 1915Wellington Battalion captures Chunuk Bair
The high point of the New Zealand effort at Gallipoli, the attack on Chunuk Bair highlighted the leadership of Lieutenant-Colonel William Malone. Read more...
9 May 1915Kiwi Wimbledon champ killed in battle
New Zealand's most successful tennis player, Anthony Wilding was one of the stars of the sport in the decade before the First World War. Read more...
2 April 1915Anzac soldiers riot in Cairo's Wazzir brothel district
On Good Friday about 2500 New Zealand and Australian troops rioted in the Haret Al Wassir red-light district of Cairo's Ezbekieh Quarter. Read more...
8 February 1915Ambush in Turkey leads to death of New Zealand seaman
Able Seaman William Edward Knowles became one of the first New Zealanders to be killed as a result of enemy action during the First World War. Read more...
16 October 1914Main Body of NZEF sails to war
Thousands of Wellingtonians rose before dawn and crowded vantage points around the harbour to watch as 10 grey-painted troopships, escorted by four warships, sailed to war. Read more...
29 August 1914New Zealand force captures German Samoa
Colonel Robert Logan led a 1400-strong expeditionary force to capture German Samoa in New Zealand’s first action of the First World War. This was the second German territory, after Togoland in East Africa, to fall to the Allies in the war. Read more...
5 August 1914New Zealand enters the First World War
New Zealand received the news of the outbreak of war just before 1 p.m. on 5 August. At 3 p.m. the Governor, Lord Liverpool, announced the news from the steps of Parliament to a large and enthusiastic crowd. Read more...
28 June 1914Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand
The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife Sophie in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914 eventually led to the outbreak of the First World War. Read more...
An overview of the formation and units of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles in the First World war
Page 2 – Auckland Mounted Rifles Regiment
The Auckland Mounted Rifles Regiment (AMR) was one of four mounted rifles regiments raised to serve overseas in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) during the First
Page 3 – Canterbury Mounted Rifles Regiment
After training in Egypt the CMR fought in the Gallipoli campaign from May to December 1915. On its return from Gallipoli the regiment spent another four months in Egypt before
Page 5 – Wellington Mounted Rifles Regiment
The Wellington Mounted Rifles Regiment (WMR) was one of four mounted rifles regiments raised to serve overseas in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) during the First
Page 6 – Auckland Mounted Rifles timeline 1914-19
Detailed account of the AMR in 1914
Page 7 – Canterbury Mounted Rifles timeline 1914-19
Formation and first actions of the Canterbury Mounted Rifles Regiment
Page 8 – Wellington Mounted Rifles timeline 1914-19
Timeline for the Wellington Mounted Rifles in 1914
It was the New Zealand Division's final action of the First World War. On 4 November 1918, just a week before the Armistice was signed, New Zealand troops stormed the walled French town of Le Quesnoy. The 90 men killed were among the last of the 12,483 who fell on the Western Front.
Page 2 – The liberation of Le Quesnoy
The capture of the French town of Le Quesnoy by the New Zealand Division on 4 November 1918 has special significance in New Zealand's military history.
Page 3 – Visiting Le Quesnoy
Just 4 kilometres east of Beaudignies in northern France is Le Quesnoy. This town was in German hands for almost all of the First World War, from August 1914, until the New
Page 4 – Battle accounts, Lieutenant Averill
Leslie Cecil Lloyd Averill is best remembered for his exploits during the liberation of Le Quesnoy on 4 November 1918.
Page 5 – Battle accounts, Private Nimmo
Captain James Matheson Nimmo joined 3rd Battalion, 3rd New Zealand (Rifle) Brigade on 27 September 1918.
The New Zealand war memorials of the First World War have become part of the common fabric of our lives, like stop signs or lamp-posts. Virtually every township in the country has one, usually in the main street.
Page 3 – Further information
Links and books relating to New Zealand's First World War memorials
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.
Page 2 – Origins of the war
As part of the British Empire, New Zealand was formally involved in the First World War (often referred to as the Great War) by the declaration of war on Germany by King George
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
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.
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.
Page 7 – First World War timeline
A list of key events marking New Zeland's experience of the First World War.
Page 9 – Further information
Find more information about the First World War.
Māori reactions to serving in the First World War largely reflected iwi experiences of British actions in the 19th century.
Page 2 – White man's war?
Imperial policy initially doubted the wisdom of 'native' troops fighting a 'white man's war'.
Page 3 – Māori objection to conscription
Māori served in the First World War in the Maori Contingent. At home, some Māori strongly opposed conscription.
A truly nightmarish world greeted the New Zealand Division when it joined the Battle of the Somme in mid-September 1916. Fifteen thousand men of the Division went into action. Nearly 6000 were wounded and 2000 lost their lives. More than half the New Zealand Somme dead have no known grave.
Page 2 – Overview
'Somme. The whole history of the world cannot contain a more gruesome word.' This is how one German officer described the Battle of the Somme in 1916.
Page 3 – New Zealand's Somme experience
It was on the Somme that the largest number of New Zealanders were killed or wounded during the First World War.
Page 4 – Men and machines
By the time of the Somme offensive of 1916, the Great War was shaped by artillery.
Page 5 – New Zealand artillery on the Somme
The big guns roared into life along the New Zealand Division's line on the Somme in support of a major attack on 15 September 1916.
There are always supporters and opponents of a country fighting a war. Over 2500 conscientious objectors lost their civil rights in New Zealand for refusing to serve in the First World War.
- Page 1 - Conscientious objection and dissent in the First World WarThere are always supporters and opponents of a country fighting a war. Over 2500 conscientious objectors lost their civil rights in New Zealand for refusing to serve in the First
Each year on Anzac Day, New Zealanders (and Australians) mark the anniversary of the Gallipoli landings of 25 April 1915. On that day, thousands of young men, far from their homes, stormed the beaches on the Gallipoli Peninsula in what is now Turkey.
Page 2 – Gallipoli in brief
The Ottoman Empire entered the war on the side of the Central Powers. New Zealand and Australian troops supported British and French soldiers in an attempt to capture the
Page 3 – Invasion
Allied forces landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula on 25 April 1915. British (and later French) forces made the main landing at Cape Helles on the southern tip of Gallipoli, while
Page 4 – Stalemate
By 29 April, the battle of the landing was over; both sides had fought themselves to a standstill. While the New Zealanders and Australians had established a beachhead at Anzac
Page 5 – The Sari Bair offensive
As the futile attacks continued at Helles, the Allies began looking at alternative strategies to break the deadlock. Lieutenant-General Birdwood, the ANZAC commander,
Page 6 – Evacuation
Hill 60 was the last major Allied attack at Gallipoli. The failure of the August offensive raised more questions about the future of the campaign, especially in light of the
Page 7 – Soldiers' experience
Life for the New Zealand soldier on Gallipoli was tough. They struggled with the harsh environment, living and fighting amongst the deep ravines and high cliffs that towered
Page 10 – Gallipoli biographies
Find out more about some of the New Zealanders involved in the Gallipoli campaign between April 1915 and January 1916.
Thousands of New Zealanders donated money, goods or time to help those affected by the First World War.
Page 2 – Overview: 1914-1919
The sacrifices of the men at the front, and the plight of those living in the war zones, drove many New Zealanders to donate money, goods and time to help the war effort. By
Page 3 – Who were the volunteers?
The outbreak of war saw New Zealanders from all walks of life donate money, goods and time to fundraising efforts.
Page 4 – What were the causes?
War relief and aid societies directed their efforts at a wide variety of causes.
Page 5 – Supporting Belgium: Queen Elisabeth Medal
The Belgian government created the Medaille de la Reine Elisabeth, or Queen Elisabeth Medal, to honour Belgian and foreign women who had performed outstanding services in aid
The daily tasks of life went on despite the hellish conditions of the Western Front trenches.
- Page 1 - Life in the trenchesThe daily tasks of life went on despite the hellish conditions of the Western Front
Ever since 1917 Passchendaele has been a byword for the horror of the First World War. The assault on this tiny Belgian village cost the lives of thousands of New Zealand soldiers. But its impact reached far beyond the battlefield, leaving deep scars on many New Zealand communities and families.
Page 2 – The battle for Messines
The assault on Passchendaele was part of a vast Allied offensive launched in mid-1917, which, for New Zealanders, started with the Battle for Messines.
Page 3 – The Passchendaele offensive
The failed attempt to capture the town of Passchendaele saw more New Zealanders killed in one day than in any other military campaign since 1840.
Page 4 – After Passchendaele
Military events in Belgium after the Passchendaele offensive of October 1917, including the failed attack at Polderhoek
Page 5 – The human impact
One in four New Zealand men aged 20–45 was either killed or wounded in the First World War, but the impact of the war reached far beyond these individuals and directly affected
Page 6 – Helping the wounded
More than 14,000 New Zealanders were wounded between June and December 1917 in Belgium, and medical staff, orderlies, chaplains and stretcher-bearers worked round the clock to
New Zealanders have one of the highest pet-ownership rates in the world. Wartime was no different. Take a tour through this menagerie of military mascots: dogs, cats, donkeys, monkeys, pigs, goats and birds. There's the famous bull terrier Major Major, along with the less well-known, but very cute, slow loris adopted by 1 RNZIR in Borneo.
Page 2 – First World War mascots
First World War mascots from the New Zealand Rifle Bigade's Great Dane, Freda, to Pelorus Jack of HMS New Zealand.
After four terrible years, the First World War finally came to a close with the signing of an armistice between Germany and the Allied Powers on 11 November 1918. New Zealanders celebrated enthusiastically, despite having recently celebrated the surrenders of the three other Central Powers and the premature news of an armistice with Germany.
Page 2 – Pre-Armistice Day surrenders
From October 1918 New Zealanders progressively celebrated the surrenders of Bulgaria, the Ottoman Empire and Austria-Hungary before the armistice with Germany on 11 November.
Page 3 – False armistice
On 7 November 1918 the Prime Minister assured the public - following rumours to the contrary - that the government was not holding back news of a German surrender. The next
Page 4 – Armistice Day celebrations
The news everyone had been waiting for finally came through on the morning of 12 November 1918 – a Tuesday. Germany had surrendered and signed an armistice with the Allies the
Page 5 – Armistice Day and the flu
The influenza pandemic dampened some Armistice festivities, particularly in Auckland.
Page 6 – New Zealanders overseas
The New Zealand Division official history records that those in France received the news of the Armistice ‘generally in a matter of fact way, totally devoid of any
Page 7 – New Zealand in 1918
Some facts and stats about New Zealand in the year of the First World War armistice
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.
Page 3 – Seizing German Samoa
With hindsight, New Zealand's capture of German Samoa on 29 August 1914 was an easy affair. But at the time it was regarded as a potentially risky action with uncertain
The Imperial Camel Corps, which included two New Zealand companies, played a vital role in the Sinai and Palestine campaigns during the First World War. Between 400 and 450 New Zealanders fought in the Corps, and 41 died before the two New Zealand companies were disbanded in mid-1918.
Page 2 – Formation and expansion
Camels have often fulfilled the role of cavalry on the battlefields of the Middle East and adjacent regions, including during the Sinai and Palestine campaigns of the First
Page 3 – New Zealand Camel Companies
In August 1916 No 15 (New Zealand) Company, Imperial Camel Corps, was formed from men originally intended as reinforcements for the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade.
Page 4 – End of the Imperial Camel Corps
The New Zealand camel companies served with the Imperial Camel Corps Brigade in Palestine until it was disbanded in June 1918. At that point the Kiwi cameliers were reorganised
Page 5 – Cameliers and camels at war
The cameliers of the Imperial Camel Corps would ride their mounts to the scene of the action but once there they were expected to dismount and fight on foot – as infantrymen.
Page 6 – Imperial Camel Corps organisation
Reflecting their ad hoc origins, the camel companies used a unique mixture of infantry and mounted rifles organisation and nomenclature.
The Sinai campaign is less well known than other First World War campaigns like Gallipoli and those on the Western Front. But it was here, in the harsh, arid desert, that the Allies took the first major step towards their ultimate victory over the Ottoman Turks in the Middle East.
Page 2 – Overview
The Sinai campaign arose from a change in British thinking about the defence of the Suez Canal.
Page 3 – Action at Katia
In March 1916 the commander of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF), General Sir Archibald Murray, ordered his forces to occupy the area around the Katia oasis, 40 km east of
Page 4 – Battle of Romani
Although the action at Katia boosted Ottoman morale, it soon became clear that it had not deterred the British from continuing their offensive into the Sinai.
Page 5 – Battle of Magdhaba
By mid-December 1916 the Egyptian Expeditionary Force had advanced across the Sinai to within sight of the original objective of the campaign, the town of El Arish.
Page 6 – Battle of Rafah
If the British failed to capture Rafah quickly they risked being overwhelmed by large Ottoman forces sent from Gaza.
Page 7 – Further information
Further reading and links to more information about the Sinai campaign
The British invasion of Ottoman-held Palestine in 1917-18 was the third - and last - campaign launched by the Allies against the Ottoman Turks in the Middle East during the First World War.
Page 2 – Overview
Victory in Sinai led to pressure from the British government, led by new Prime Minister Lloyd George, to invade Ottoman-controlled Palestine in 1917.
Page 3 – First Battle of Gaza
The commander of Eastern Force mistakenly thought that the Egyptian Expeditionary Force could capture Gaza in March 1917 by using essentially the same tactics as those employed
Page 4 – Second Battle of Gaza
The Second Battle of Gaza three weeks after the First Battle, was an even bigger disaster – a frontal attack by British infantry divisions resulted in their suffering
Page 5 – Third Battle of Gaza
The third, successful attempt by the British to capture Gaza began in late October 1917.
Page 6 – The Trans-Jordan raids
Two raids east of the Jordan River cost 3000 casualties. They are the first real defeats suffered by the EEF since the Second Battle of Gaza.
Page 7 – Battle of Megiddo
The final battle of the Palestine campaign in September 1918 resulted in arguably the most decisive British victory of the war.
Key statistics and facts about the forces of Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, Germany and the Ottoman Empire during the First World War
Page 2 – The German Empire
Key information and statistics about the German Empire during the First World War
Page 3 – Austro-Hungarian Empire
General facts and statistics about the Austria-Hungarian Empire during the First World War
Page 4 – Kingdom of Bulgaria
Key information and statistics about the Kingdom of Bulgaria during the First World War
Page 5 – Ottoman Empire
Key information and statistics about the Ottoman Empire during the First World War
The military alliance that fought against the Central Powers was known as the Allies. Initially this alliance was based around the four great powers of Russia, France, Japan and the British Empire, along with the smaller states of Serbia, Montenegro and Belgium that also went to war in 1914.
Page 2 – Kingdom of Belgium
Key information and statistics about the Kingdom of Belgium during the First World War
Page 3 – Republic of China
Key information and statistics about the Republic of China during the First World War
Page 4 – Republic of France
Key information and statistics about the Republic of France during the First World War
Page 5 – Kingdom of Italy
Key information and statistics about the Kingdom of Italy during the First World War
Page 6 – Empire of Japan
Key information and statistics about the Empire of Japan during the First World War
Page 7 – Kingdom of Montenegro
Key information and statistics about the Kingdom of Montenegro during the First World War
Page 8 – Republic of Portugal
Key information and statistics about the Republic of Portugal during the First World War
Page 9 – Kingdom of Romania
Key information and statistics about the Kingdom of Romania during the First World War
Page 10 – The Russian Empire
Key information and statistics about the Empire of Russia during the First World War
Page 11 – Kingdom of Serbia
Key information and statistics about the Kingdom of Serbia during the First World War
Page 12 – United States of America
Key information and statistics about the United States of America during the First World War
Page 13 – Other states
Key information and statistics about the other states who joined the Allies during the First World War
Key information and statistics about countries who fought as part of the British Empire during the First World War
Page 2 – Dominion of New Zealand
Facts and statistics about New Zealand during the First World War.
Page 3 – Commonwealth of Australia
Key information and statistics about the Commonwealth of Australia during the First World War
Page 4 – Dominion of Canada
Key information and statistics about Canada during the First World War
Page 5 – British India
Facts and statistics about India during the First World War
Page 6 – Dominion of Newfoundland
Key information and statistics about the Dominion of Newfoundland during the First World War
Page 7 – Union of South Africa
Facts and stats about South Africa and the First World War.
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 War
More than 2000 Maori served in the Māori Contingent and Pioneer Battalion during the First World War
Page 2 – Maori Contingent at Gallipoli
The first Maori Contingent sailed from Wellington aboard the SS Warrimoo in February 1915. The contingent served on the Gallipoli Peninsula.
Page 3 – Pioneer Battalion
In early 1916 the Maori Contingent ceased to exist and was replaced by the New Zealand Pioneer Battalion.
Page 4 – On the Western Front
The New Zealand Pioneer Battalion arrived in France in April 1916. It was the first unit of the New Zealand Division to move onto the bloody battlefield of the Somme.
Page 5 – Further information
Further information about Māori in the First World War.
Guidelines for anyone wanting to research New Zealand First World War soldiers.
- Page 1 - Researching New Zealand soldiers in the First World WarGuidelines for anyone wanting to research New Zealand First World War
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.
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 trade.
Page 3 – The Otaki's epic battle
Many Home boats were lost, especially in 1917-18 when Germany stepped up its submarine warfare against Allied commerce. One action stood out, an epic battle between the New
Page 4 – Hospital ships
In May 1915, as casualties mounted at Gallipoli, the government chartered a hospital ship, the Union Company's 5282-ton trans-Tasman liner Maheno
Page 5 – The Wahine's wanderings
Most requisitioned ships continued to carry people or cargo. One Union Company ship, however, entered the Royal Navy and bore the prefix HMS. The Wahine was no ordinary ship
Page 6 – Agony on the Aparima
One of the worst losses of New Zealand lives at sea occurred on the Union Company’s Aparima in 1917.
Page 7 – Home waters
The First World War had a dramatic impact on shipping to and from New Zealand.
Page 8 – Politics, patriotism and protest
Although New Zealand seafarers served in many hostile theatres, some questioned the politics of the war.
Page 9 – Merchant marine Roll of Honour
This roll lists the names of over New Zealand-born or – resident seafarers who died during the First World War while serving aboard merchant ships
Participation in the First World War changed Pacific Islanders' lives. Returning servicemen had seen the world.
Page 3 – Troop repatriation
When the Armistice was signed in November 1918, Pacific island troops in New Zealand service were stationed in a number of locations.
Page 5 – Economic, social and political impact
The First World War opened the Pacific Islands to the world more than they ever had been before.
History of the military training camp at Featherston during the First World War
Page 2 – Featherston camp death register 1915–19
A transcript of the Featherston Camp death register from the First World War
Seventy years old in October 2011, the Royal New Zealand Navy is today an integral part of the New Zealand Defence Force. But its 1941 establishment was the result of a long process of naval development.
Page 3 – First World War
When the Reform government took office in 1912, the way was opened for New Zealand to begin a new approach. The new minister of defence, James Allen, had long wanted New
During the First World War official and unofficial New Zealand war artists produced a wide range of works depicting this country's war effort. These works later became part of New Zealand's National Collection of War Art.
Page 2 – Unofficial war art
New Zealand soldiers used art to interpret the experience of the war for an audience of noncombatant civilians. Civilian artists in turn produced works that responded to and
Page 3 – Official war art
The NZEF employed its first official war artist, Lance Corporal Nugent Welch, in April 1918. Welch documented the activities of the New Zealand Division in France and Belgium,
Page 4 – Establishing a collection
Following the end of the war, attention turned to where New Zealand's official First World War art collection would be stored. Plans for a National War Memorial Museum in
Page 5 – National Collection of War Art
There are around 1500 paintings, drawings, sketches, cartoons and prints in New Zealand’s National Collection of War Art. This collection has its origins in the final year of
Page 6 – Kiwi war artists
Selected biographies of New Zealand First World War artists
Page 7 – Further information
Website links and books relating to New Zealand First World War art collection
Armistice Day was the initial focal point for commemorations in the Cook Islands and Niue after the First World War. But because men from both countries had served in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, observances gradually shifted to Anzac Day in April
Page 2 – Early commemorative efforts
During the 1920s war memorials provided a focus for commemoration services in the Cook Islands, where the first Anzac Day service was possibly held in 1927. On Niue, Armistice
Page 3 – The growth of Anzac Day
By the end of the Second World War military commemorations in the Cook Islands and Niue centered around Anzac Day. Services in both countries followed the pattern of those in
Page 4 – Present day commemorations
In the new millennium there has been increasing interest in the story of Pacific Island involvement in the First World War. In the Cook Islands there have been efforts to
Page 5 – Further information
Books and further reading relating to the history of Anzac Day in the Pacific Islands of Niue and the Cook Islands
Schools and children were quickly called into action at the outset of the First World War in 1914. Developing patriotic, fit and healthy citizens was seen as important to the survival of the country and the Empire. Hundreds of teachers joined the NZEF, including many from sole-teacher schools. Almost 200 never returned.
Page 2 – Schools in 1914
The head of the Department of Education believed that ‘moral purpose should dominate the spirit of the whole school life.’ Schools and teachers were to shape children into
Page 3 – Displaying patriotism
In late 1917 district education boards ordered that children salute the New Zealand flag at the start of each school day. Some teachers opposed this as too militaristic.
Page 4 – The School Journal
During the First World War the New Zealand School Journal played an important role in encouraging patriotism, self-sacrifice, obedience and support for the war effort among
Page 5 – Turning boys into soldiers
The Defence Amendment Act 1900 introduced military cadet training into schools. The Defence Act 1909 made military training for nearly all boys compulsory from the age of 12
Page 6 – Supporting the war effort
During the war children were encouraged to be ‘cheerful’ and ‘helpful’, to ease the worry and sorrow of the mothers and wives of soldiers. There were also many practical ways
Page 7 – Teachers who served
Whether as school cadet officers or supporters of saluting the flag, teachers did much to set the moral tone of New Zealand schools before and during the war. Many hundreds
Page 8 – Further information
Links and books relating to schooling during the First World War
23 October is the anniversary of the 1915 sinking of the Marquette with the loss of 32 New Zealanders, including 10 nurses. They were en route from Egypt to the Greek port of Salonika as New Zealand’s contribution to the little-known Allied campaign in the Balkans
Page 2 – Lemnos
The Balkan campaign of the First World War (also known as the Salonika or the Macedonian campaign) came about because of the changing strategic aims of the Allies and Central
Page 3 – Serbia 1915
As New Zealand forces rested on the island of Lemnos in the autumn of 1915, the crisis in the Balkans intensified.
Page 4 – Campaign summary
The failure of the Anglo-French advance into Serbia in November 1915 forced the Allied forces to dig in on the outskirts of Salonika in case the Bulgarians attacked Greece.
Page 6 – Hidden Anzacs
A number of New Zealanders served in the British imperial forces at Salonika rather than with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force.
Between 1914 and 1916 the New Zealand government acquired more than 10,000 horses to equip the New Zealand Expeditionary Force. They served in German Samoa, Gallipoli, the Middle East and on the Western Front. Of those that survived the war, only four returned home.
Page 2 – Acquiring horses for war
Between 1914 and 1916 the New Zealand government acquired more than 10,000 horses to equip the New Zealand Expeditionary Force.
Page 3 – Transporting horses from NZ
Nearly all of the 10,000 horses the government acquired for the New Zealand Expeditionary Force between 1914 and 1916 went overseas.
Page 4 – German Samoa
A total of 141 New Zealand horses were transported to Samoa during the First World War. Of these, 25 were despatched with the Samoa Advance Party of the New Zealand
Page 6 – Sinai and Palestine
Several thousand of the New Zealand forces’ horses remained in the Middle East when the New Zealand Division sailed to France. These horses served with the New Zealand Mounted
Page 7 – Western Front
More than 3000 horses and mules went from Egypt to France with the New Zealand Division in April 1916. Most of these horses had probably come from New Zealand originally.
Page 8 – The end of the war
Of the 10,000 horses the government acquired between 1914 and 1916 very few died in New Zealand, or whilst being transported. Many died from disease or injury once overseas. Of
Page 9 – Further information
Recommended books and links to information about New Zealand horses in the First World War
More than 800 New Zealanders served as air or ground crew in the war between 1914 and 1918, the vast majority of them in Europe. A handful saw action in Gallipoli and the Middle East.
Page 2 – Early military aviation
Military aviation began with balloons. Powered aircraft were first used for military purposes just before the outbreak of the First World War
Page 3 – First World War developments
The remarkable story of how over four years a new and primitive weapon developed into a key element of warfare.
Page 4 – New Zealand's air war 1914-1918
With no military flying corps in New Zealand, hundreds of adventurous young Kiwis joined British and Australian air services during the First World War.
Page 5 – Kiwi stories
Find out more about some of New Zealand's First World War airmen.
Page 6 – Further information
Books and links relating to the War in the Air during the First World War
The Maheno and Marama were the poster ships of New Zealand's First World War effort. Until 1915 these steamers had carried passengers on the Tasman route. But as casualties mounted at Gallipoli, the government - helped by a massive public fundraising campaign - converted them into state-of-the-art floating hospitals.
Page 3 – Gallipoli calls
The terrible casualty rate of the Gallipoli campaign spurred Governor Liverpool to raise funds for New Zealand hospital ships
Page 4 – Civilians at Gallipoli
The Maheno arrived in the Mediterranean in time for the Allies’ bloody late August 1915 offensives to find that not much had improved since the April landings
Page 5 – Life on board
What was life like aboard a hospital ship? That largely depended on your job, your rank and your gender.
Page 6 – Later service and legacies
The Marama missed Gallipoli, reaching the Mediterranean a few weeks after the Allies abandoned the peninsula. The ships’ service pattern would now be dominated by long voyages
Page 7 – Hospital ships' movements 1915-19
Movements of the hospital ships Maheno and Marama during the First World War
The Post and Telegraph Department (the government agency from which New Zealand Post, Telecom and Kiwibank are descended) was crucial to this country’s participation in the First World War.
Page 2 – Post and Telegraph timeline
Key events in the Post and Telegraph Department before, during and after the First World War.
Page 6 – Communications on the Western Front
In April 1916, the recently formed New Zealand Division was transported by troopship across the Mediterranean from the Egyptian port of Alexandria to Marseille in the south of
Videos screened on TV3 as part of the Great War Stories series. Each video is accompanied by extra information and links to primary sources
Between 1914 and 1918, New Zealanders farewelled more than 100,000 men as they headed off to a military training camp or went straight to war.
- Page 1 - First World War farewellsBetween 1914 and 1918, New Zealanders farewelled more than 100,000 men as they headed off to a military training camp or went straight to war.
This article provides a clearly written and carefully argued statistical survey of New Zealand’s military contribution to the First World War.
- Page 1 - First World War by the numbersThis article provides a clearly written and carefully argued statistical survey of New Zealand’s military contribution to the First World War.
The New Zealand public service played a central part in New Zealand’s war effort, both at home and abroad
- Page 1 - The Public Service at war - overviewThe New Zealand public service played a central part in New Zealand’s war effort, both at home and
The railway system and its workforce was one of the most valuable assets available to the New Zealand state to support the national effort during the First World War
Page 2 – Railways in the First World War
The steam railway was a driving force of the industrial revolution and European imperialist expansion
Page 4 – Railwaymen in the NZEF
More than 5000 permanent NZR employees served overseas during the war, about 40% of the 1914 workforce
Page 7 – Further information
This web feature was written by Neill Atkinson and produced by the NZHistory team. Primary sources5th New Zealand Light Railway Operating Company - War Diary, 5 February
The 550 or so New Zealand nurses who served overseas during the First World War enlisted for the same reasons as the soldiers – duty, patriotism and adventure.
- Page 1 - New Zealand Army Nursing Service in the First World WarThe 550 or so New Zealand nurses who served overseas during the First World War enlisted for the same reasons as the soldiers – duty, patriotism and
Government rolls of honour and obituaries published at the end of the First World War.
Page 2 – Public Service Roll of Honour
This Roll of Honour lists 218 men from the core Public Service who died in the First World War. It was originally published in the New Zealand Gazette on 29 April 1920.
Page 3 – Post and Telegraph Roll of Honour
This Roll of Honour lists 234 men from the Post and Telegraph Department who died in the First World War.
Page 4 – Railways Department Roll of Honour
This Roll of Honour lists 450 men from the Railways Department who died in the First World War.
Page 5 – Public Service Journal obituaries 1915-18
Obituaries of soldiers killed in the First World War that were published in the Public Service Journal from 1915-1918.
Page 6 – Railway workers' obituaries
Obituaries were published during the First World War in the New Zealand Railway Review,
Page 7 – Post and Telegraph obituaries
These obituaries were published in the journal of the Post and Telegraph Officers' Association, The Katipo, between 1916 and 1919.
Page 8 – Education service Roll of Honour
Roll of honour for education service employees killed in the First World War
This article provides an overview of how the New Zealand forces were organised during the First World War.
- Page 1 - First World War military formationsThis article provides an overview of how the New Zealand forces were organised during the First World
Overview of the role of Specialist Units in the First World War
Page 2 – Engineers
The role, organisation and heraldry of the New Zealand Engineers in the First World War
Page 5 – Machine Gunners
The role and organisation of the New Zealand Machine Gunners unit in the First World War
Page 7 – Signallers
The role and organisation of the New Zealand Signallers unit in the First World War
Page 8 – Railway companies
The role and organisation of the New Zealand Railway Company and Light Railways Operating Company during the First World War
Page 9 – Entrenching Battalions
The New Zealand entrenching battalions dug trenches and other earthworks to assist units such as tunnellers, pioneers, railways, engineers and signals.
Page 10 – Imperial Camel Corps
Formation information relating the New Zealand Camel companies during the First World War
Page 11 – Further information
Recommended reading for information about New Zealand Specialist units in the First World War
The New Zealand Expeditionary Force was supported by a broad network of medical services in the First World War
Page 2 – New Zealand Medical Corps
Field AmbulanceA Field Ambulance was not a vehicle but a front-line unit of around 250 personnel which treated men injured in battle.
Page 3 – New Zealand Army Nursing Service
The New Zealand Army Nursing Service was created in January 1915 to provide nurses for NZEF hospitals
Page 4 – Dental Corps
The New Zealand Dental Corps provided dental treatment to military personnel in New Zealand, and in the theatres of war from late 1915
Page 5 – Veterinary Corps
Overview of the work and formations of the New Zealand Veterinary Corps during the First World War
Administrative units helped to ensure that soldiers were fed, clothed, and supplied with all the necessaries of warfare
Page 2 – Army Service Corps
The Army Service Corps was the NZEF’s supply and transport branch, providing food, equipment and ammunition, and helping evacuate the wounded
Page 3 – Employment Companies
New Zealand’s two employment companies, created in 1917, carried out labouring work behind the lines on the Western Front
Page 4 – Chaplains
Chaplains provided spiritual support to the troops, performing church services, officiating at burials, comforting the ill and dying, and organising entertainment for the men
Page 5 – Army Ordnance Corps
The Army Ordnance Corps maintained and issued all types of stores except food and fuel at defence stores and depots during the First World War
Page 6 – Army Pay Corps
The Army Pay Corps (sometimes Army Pay Department) issued pay to the men of the NZEF
Page 7 – Army Postal Service
The New Zealand Postal Corps section managed postal services for New Zealand military personnel from the outset of the war, and maintained field postal officers at divisional
Māori and Pacific troops served mainly as non-combatants at Gallipoli, the Western Front and in Sinai-Palestine during the First World War.
Page 2 – Māori units
Formation and organisation of the Maori (akak Native) Contingent and Pioneer Battalion during the First World War
Page 3 – Rarotongan Company
Rarotongan and Niuean recruits were included in the NZEF’s Māori units durng the First World War
During 1917, Allied hopes of a decisive breakthrough on the Western Front were repeatedly raised, then dashed.
- Page 1 - 1917: Arras, Messines and PasschendaeleDuring 1917, Allied hopes of a decisive breakthrough on the Western Front were repeatedly raised, then
Overview of the roll of the New Zealand artillery in the First World War
Page 2 – New Zealand Field Artillery Brigades
The New Zealand forces on Gallipoli initially included a single artillery brigade, with a second added in July 1915.
Page 3 – Ammunition Column
The work and unit history of the Ammunition columns during the First World war
Page 4 – Trench Mortar Batteries
A unit history of the NZEF Trench mortar batteries in the First World War
This list provides basic definitions of common First World War terms and abbreviations found in military personnel files
- Page 1 - First World War glossary and list of abbreviationsThis list provides basic definitions of common First World War terms and abbreviations found in military personnel
First observed in 1916, Anzac Day - 25 April - commemorates those killed in war as well as honouring returned servicemen and women. The ceremonies that are held at war memorials across the country, or in places overseas where New Zealanders gather, are rich in tradition and ritual.
- Page 2 - The AnzacsThe word Anzac is part of the culture of New Zealanders and Australians. The word conjures up a shared heritage of two nations, but it also has a specific meaning, dating from
Cook Islanders, Niueans, Fijians and Gilbert Islanders all took their place in the ranks of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force during the First World War. As well as the dangers of war, Pacific soldiers faced language difficulties, an unfamiliar army diet and European diseases.
Page 2 – Niueans and Cook Islanders
Information about Niuean and Cook Island soldiers who were part of the 3rd Maori Contingent of Reinforcements in 1916.
Page 3 – The Rarotongan Company
Information on the New Zealand Rarotongan Company, which served in the Sinai and Palestine campaigns 1916-18.
Page 4 – Fijian and Gilbert Island Contingents
Information about men from Fiji and the Gilbert Islands who enlisted for service in the NZEF.
Page 5 – Difficulties faced by Pacific Islanders
Information on the difficulties faced by Pacific Islanders when they left their island homes for the first time and entered the army.
Page 6 – Roll of Honour
List of soldiers from the Cook Islanders and Niue who were killed in the First World War
Links to military resources including personnel records, medal winners and war graves.
- Page 3 - First World WarRecommended links for researching New Zealand and the First World
Although the guns fell silent on 11 November 1918, peace wasn't officially proclaimed until 28 June 1919, when the Treaty of Versailles was signed. In July 1919 communities throughout New Zealand and the Empire celebrated peace with elaborate public events over several days.
Page 3 – Plans change
Instructions from the British government hindered New Zealand's efforts to plan peace celebrations, but the coal shortage had a much greater impact on the form they eventually
Page 4 – Peace celebration days
Peace celebrations were held throughout New Zealand. Most communities held a Soldiers’ Day, a Day of Thanksgiving, and a Children’s Day on Saturday 19, Sunday 20 and Monday 21
Page 5 – Further information
Suggestions of where to find further information on the peace celebrations.
The function and form of the New Zealand infantry units during the First World War
Page 3 – Canterbury Infantry Regiment
Information about the structure, badges and campaigns of the Canterbury Infantry Regiment during the First World War
Page 4 – Otago Infantry Regiment
The organisation and insignia of the Otago Infantry Regiment during the First World War
Page 5 – Wellington Infantry Regiment
Information about the structure, badges and campaigns of the Wellington Infantry Regiment during the First World War
Page 6 – New Zealand Rifle Brigade
Part of the infantry of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force.The New Zealand Rifle Brigade was created in April 1915 as a second New Zealand infantry brigade, to complement
The pavlova - that frothy, baked confection of egg whites and sugar - has long been seen as an icon of New Zealand cuisine; its place of origin has been debated with Australians for just as long in one of the many instances of trans-Tasman rivalry.
Page 5 – Fruit and vegetables
A house and garden on a patch of land were part of the 'New Zealand dream' for most of the twentieth century.
Timeline for the Wellington Mounted Rifles in 1915
Page 2 – 1916
Timeline for the Wellington Mounted Rifles in 1916
Page 3 – 1917
What the Wellington Mounted Rifles did in 1917
Page 4 – 1918
The Wellington Mounted Rifles Regiment (WMR), along with the rest of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade (NZMR), moves east across Palestine into the Jordan Valley in early
Page 5 – 1919
Like the rest of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade (NZMR), the return of the Wellington Mounted Rifles Regiment (WMR) to New Zealand in 1919 is delayed by a shortage of
In May the CMR and the rest of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade (NZMR) are thrown – as infantry – into the desperate struggle to seize the commanding heights of the Gallipoli Peninsula. In the next four months the regiment suffers more than half of all its casualties in the war.
Page 2 – 1916
When most of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force goes to France in April 1916, the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade (NZMR) remains in Egypt as part of an Anzac Mounted
Page 3 – 1917
During 1917 the Canterbury Mounted Rifles Regiment (CMR) and the rest of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade (NZMR) take part in three battles for Gaza.
Page 4 – 1918
The Canterbury Mounted Rifles Regiment (CMR) and the rest of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade (NZMR) move east across Palestine into the Jordan Valley in early 1918 as
Page 5 – 1919
The voyage home of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade (NZMR) is delayed by a shortage of shipping. The men take classes designed to ease them back onto ‘civvy street’ after
The Auckland Mounted Rifles Regiment actions in 1915, from Sinai to Gallipoli
Page 2 – 1916
When most of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force goes to France in April 1916, the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade (NZMR) remains in Egypt as part of an Anzac Mounted
Page 3 – 1917
During 1917 the Auckland Mounted Rifles Regiment (AMR) and the rest of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade (NZMR) take part in three battles for Gaza.
Page 4 – 1918
The Auckland Mounted Rifles Regiment (AMR) and the rest of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade (NZMR) move east across Palestine into the Jordan Valley in early 1918 as part
Page 5 – 1919
The return home of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade (NZMR) is delayed by a shortage of shipping.
Temperance was one of the most divisive social issues in late-19th and early-20th century New Zealand. Social reformers who argued that alcohol fuelled poverty, ill health, crime and immorality nearly achieved national prohibition in a series of hotly contested referendums.
- Page 4 - Voting for prohibitionThe First World War period brought total or partial prohibition to several countries: New Zealand came within a whisker of joining
Few Kiwis today know much about one of our main First World War enemies, the Ottoman Empire - a sophisticated but often forgotten empire whose soldiers fought against New Zealand troops for four years in the Gallipoli, Sinai and Palestine campaigns.
Page 5 – Ottoman Empire at war
How the Ottoman Empire fared during the First World War
Page 7 – Rise of Arab nationalism
As the Ottoman Empire entered the First World War in 1914 the loyalty of its Arab subjects could no longer be taken for granted.
War has played a defining role in shaping our nation since we first sent troops overseas to South Africa in 1899. As the centenary of the the First World War (2014-18) approaches, many New Zealanders will reflect on our nation's experiences of war and the impact of conflict on our society.
- Page 4 - They shall grow not old…
NCEA2 activities relating to New Zealand's role in the fight for Belgium during the First World War
- Page 6 - Their names liveth for ever more activityExercise for finding out more about someone who was killed during the
Sources for further reading about New Zealand's First World War experience.
- Page 1 - First World War bibliographySources for further reading about New Zealand's First World War
In 1918, a series of major German and Allied offensives broke the stalemate of trench warfare on the Western Front, resulting in the collapse of the German Army and the end of the war within the year. New Zealand units played an important part in the Allies' final push for victory.
- Page 1 - 1918: Amiens, Bapaume and victory - Western Front campaignIn 1918, a series of major German and Allied offensives broke the stalemate of trench warfare on the Western Front, resulting in the collapse of the German Army and the end of the
New Zealand's first warship, HMS Philomel formed the core of the country's naval forces during the First World War. The aged and largely obsolete vessel was commissioned in New Zealand in July 1914, and went on to serve in the Pacific, Mediterranean and Middle East.
- Page 1 - NZ's first warshipNew Zealand's first warship, HMS Philomel formed the core of the country's naval forces during the First World War. The aged and largely obsolete vessel was commissioned in New
Freyberg, Bernard Cyril
A First World War hero and commander of the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force, Bernard Freyberg proved to be a charismatic and popular military leader who would later serve a term as Governor-GeneralRead more...
Begg, Charles Mackie
Charles Begg was New Zealand's most decorated member of the Medical Corps during the First World War. He played a major role in the treatment of troops during the 1915 Gallipoli campaign.Read more...
Lance Corporal Samuel Frickleton took part in the attack on Messines, Belgium, on 7 June 1917 where his acts of extreme gallantry earned him a Victoria Cross.Read more...
Massey, William Ferguson
William Massey is our second-longest serving leader. Although he was reviled by the left for crushing workers in 1913 with his ‘Massey’s Cossacks’ (strike-breakers), his legacy is being re-evaluated.Read more...
Welch, Nugent Herrmann
Nugent Welch was New Zealand’s first ‘war artist.’ Thirty-two of Welch’s works are in New Zealand’s National Collection of War Art held at Archives NZ.Read more...
Butler, George Edmund
George Edmund Butler became New Zealand’s second official war artist in August 1918 – as it turned out, just three months before the end of the war. There are almost 100 of his works in New Zealand's National Collection of War Art, making him this country's most prolific First World War artistRead more...
Russell, Andrew Hamilton
Andrew Russell was one of New Zealand's most important military leaders of the First World War, known for his strategic brilliance and meticulous planning.Read more...
Burton, Ormond Edward
Ormond Burton was a Methodist minister and prominent pacifist who developed anti-war views after serving in the First World War.Read more...
As Minister of Defence from 1912 until 1920, James Allen was responsible for the organisation of New Zealand’s military forces during the First World War.Read more...
Godley, Alexander John
Godley was a man with considerable talent for organisation, as evidenced by his training of the Territorial Force in the early 1910s, and later command of the New Zealand Division in the First World War.Read more...
Baxter, Archibald McColl Learmond
Archibald Baxter's memoir, We will not cease, is a powerful account of dissent and its consequences, and has become a classic of New Zealand literature.Read more...
Rout, Ettie Annie
Ettie Rout gained an infamous public profile as a safe-sex campaigner during the First World War.Read more...
Robert Logan ran the military administration of German Samoa on behalf of Britain during the First World War.Read more...
Burn, William Wallace Allison
William Wallace Allison Burn was the first New Zealander to qualify as a military aviator. During the First World War he served in the Middle East, where he became the first New Zealand pilot to be killed in action.Read more...
Caldwell, Keith Logan
One of New Zealand's greatest aviators, Keith Caldwell recorded 25 confirmed victories while serving as a pilot in the First World War.Read more...
Rhodes-Moorhouse, William Barnard
William Rhodes-Moorhouse, the first airman to receive a Victoria Cross, served as a mechanic and pilot in the early months of the First World War.Read more...
McGregor, Malcolm Charles
Malcolm McGregor, known to colleagues as ‘Mad Mac’, achieved fame as a First World War air ace and later helped to establish civil aviation in New Zealand.Read more...
Euan Dickson was one of the most successful Allied bomber pilots of the First World War, flying 175 raids, and shooting down 14 enemy aircraft with the help of his observer.Read more...
Brandon, Alfred de Bathe
Wellington lawyer, Alfred de Bathe Brandon, was famed for his attacks on German Zeppelin airships during the First World War.Read more...
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