NZ'S FIRST WORLD WAR CENTENARY 2014–2019

The story of our war

We've created a series of animated videos to explore some of the more curious aspects of New Zealand's First World War experience, which will be released periodically over 2016-17.

New Zealand's Darkest Days

On 12 October 2017, we'll be marking the centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele, when New Zealand lost 842 soldiers in just a few hours. In terms of lives lost, it remains the single most disastrous day in New Zealand history. 

More links to get you thinking:

The New Zealand Pioneer Battalion

The New Zealand Pioneer Battalion was formed in 1916, during the First World War. This skilled labour force was made up of Māori, Pākehā (mainly from the former Otago Mounted Rifles unit), Cook Islanders, Tongans, Samoans, Niueans and one man from Tuvalu.

More links to get you thinking:

The impact of war

Everyone knew someone who left.

100,000 New Zealanders served overseas during the First World War. At the time, it was as if everyone in Dunedin, Nelson, Napier and Hamilton had simply gone, leaving a massive absence keenly felt by all.

More links to get you thinking:

Socks for soldiers

At war, you can never have too many pairs of socks. 

In the First World War, Harriet Gardiner, a pensioner from Rangataua, made 300 pairs of socks for New Zealand troops serving overseas. That's almost 1.5 pairs a week for all 220 weeks of the war.

Fundraising feats like Harriet's show that the national war effort went beyond service in the armed forces. 

More links to get you thinking:

Western Front casualties

2,779 New Zealand soldiers died at Gallipoli. Yet 12,483 died on the Western Front – four times as many lives lost, 75% of all New Zealand deaths in the First World War. But it's Gallipoli we remember. Why?

More links to get you thinking:

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