Skip to main content

New Zealand South African War nurses


These nurses from Canterbury were the first to leave New Zealand for the South African War in January 1900. From left to right: Sister Annie Hiatt; Sister Gertrude Littlecott; Sister Emily Peter; and Sister Grace Webster.

It is estimated that around 30 New Zealand women worked in South Africa as nurses.

I found that I had to take the milk into my own hands, it was continually going bad through being put into dirty basins, bottles, etc. The doctors were all very pleasant, but from belonging to an ambulance corps whose only duty is to pick up the wounded on the field, they had no notion of cleanliness or antiseptics. The rooms were filthy everything I touched dirty. I had only one old table napkin that I looted to dry up everything on.

Sister Emily Peter in Gavin McLean and Ian McGibbon with Kynan Gentry (eds), The Penguin Book of New Zealanders at War , Penguin, North Shore, 2009, p. 87


Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: 1/4-015699-F
Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Matauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image

How to cite this page

New Zealand South African War nurses, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated