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New Zealanders who resisted the First World War

Page 1 – Introduction

This section provides resources for studying New Zealanders who protested against – or resisted military service in – the First World War. It will be useful for researchers studying the war itself and for family historians interested in specific people.

The list of imprisoned conscientious objectors documents all those who served prison sentences for refusing military service under the conscription system. The report of the Religious Advisory Board provides more information on the 273 objectors still in prison in early 1919.

The list of sedition convictions records all those punished for speaking out against the war in public or private settings.

The Military Defaulters List includes all those who were deemed to have deliberately avoided military service under the conscription system, and were therefore deprived of some civil rights for 10 years after the war.

These lists are based on original research by NZHistory, chiefly in records held by Archives New Zealand. We particularly acknowledge Archives’ efforts to digitise all First World War personnel files, which has created many new possibilities and opportunities for First World War research. This project would not have been possible had Archives not had the foresight and commitment to undertake this digitisation project.

For more context see our Conscientious objection and dissent article.

How to cite this page

New Zealanders who resisted the First World War, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated