WW100 – New Zealand's First World War Centenary Programme ran from 2014 to 2019

Please note this site has been archived


Commemorating Passchendaele, Celebrating Compassion


New Zealand’s relationship with Belgium was forged not only on the battlefield, but also through efforts here at home.

In the lead up to the centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele we remembered New Zealand’s support for Belgium and its refugees during the First World War. 

Socks were knitted, clothing donated, and fundraisers held. By the end of the war New Zealanders had raised around £805,000 for the Belgian Relief Fund (that's around $100 million today). For their outstanding services in aid of Belgian refugees and the military, thirty-three women in New Zealand were recognised by the Belgian government with the Medaille de la Reine Elisabeth, or Queen Elisabeth Medal.

Check out the links below to learn more, and consider how this legacy of compassion continues today.

New Zealand's compassion in WW1

  • Belgium's gratitude – Discover the history of the Queen Elisabeth Medal, and the stories of the New Zealand women who supported Belgian refugees.
  • Who did we support? – New Zealanders rallied behind a number of patriotic causes during the First World War. You can learn about them on NZHistory.
  • Who are the New Zealand Red Cross? – The New Zealand Red Cross was established in the First World War. 

Events near you

How you can celebrate compassion

  • Free images you can use – Looking for photos to use in your project? Check out this link for a treasure trove of copyright-free images you can use.
  • Interested in organising an event? – Head on over to our forum for a list of ideas for events you could host and tips on how to promote them.
  • Share and discuss your ideas – Have a brilliant idea for how to remember and celebarate the compassion shown by New Zealanders but not sure how to bring it to life? Share and discuss your ideas in our forum area.
  • Celebrate Compassion poster (0.9MB) – Looking for a poster for your library or classroom? Download and print one here.