NZ'S FIRST WORLD WAR CENTENARY 2014–2019

WW100 Final Survey – Measuring the impact of New Zealand's WW1 centenary commemorations

Results from the final survey of the New Zealand public to measure the impact of their experience with the First World War centenary commemorations.


Independent research company Colmar Brunton carried out three nationwide surveys for the WW100 Programme Office over the centenary period. The first survey was conducted in 2012 and provided baseline information about New Zealanders’ knowledge about, and attitudes to, the First World War and the centenary commemorations. The 2016 interim survey and the final 2018 survey have measured changes against this baseline. The 2018 survey also measured overall engagement levels and the impact of the centenary on New Zealanders. Some key findings from this research programme are presented here.

Final survey results – Word document (2 MB)

Final survey results – PDF document (2 MB)

Highlights from the WW100 Final Survey Results

Most New Zealanders took part

  • 93 percent of New Zealanders aged 15 years+ engaged in the five-year WW100 centenary programme in some way. This high level of engagement held true for young people (15-24), Māori and Pacific Peoples, and amongst those in rural and urban centres.

New Zealanders engaged in a range of activities

  • Attending an exhibition at a museum or gallery was the most common centenary activity, 71 percent of New Zealanders said they had done this.
  • 58 percent of New Zealanders watched a First World War TV documentary.
  • 57 percent of New Zealanders attended or followed a broadcast of a commemorative service.
  • 69 percent of New Zealanders aged 15 to 19 said they had studied the First World War at school.

New Zealanders’ knowledge of the First World War has increased over the commemorative period

  • 83 percent say they now have at least a basic understanding of New Zealand’s involvement in the First World War, up from 79 percent in 2012
  • 39 percent say they have more than a basic understanding, significantly higher than in 2012 (31 percent)
  • 87 percent of New Zealanders are aware of at least one way the First World War impacted on those who remained in New Zealand. This is significantly higher than in 2016 (81 percent)
  • The misconception that more New Zealanders were killed at Gallipoli than on the Western Front remains. Only 26 percent of people correctly identified that more New Zealanders were killed on the Western Front than at Gallipoli, but the proportion had risen from 17 percent in 2012.

New Zealanders feel it was important to commemorate the centenary of the First World War

  • 89 percent of New Zealanders placed some level of importance on commemorating the centenary, consistent with the proportion in 2012 (88 percent).
  • Perceived importance has strengthened over time, with more New Zealanders believing it is very important to commemorate the centenary (56 percent, versus 48 percent in 2012).

New Zealanders believe the First World War has been relevant in shaping our national identity

  • 82 percent of New Zealanders believe the First World War has been relevant in shaping our identity to some extent, an increase of 5 percentage points from 2012.
  • The perceived relevance has also strengthened over time, with more New Zealanders rating the First World War’s relevance to our national identity as five out of five (36 percent in 2018 versus 26 percent in 2012).

The centenary commemorations had an impact on New Zealanders

  • 71 percent of those who engaged in the commemorations agreed that it reinforced for them the importance of New Zealand’s commitment to peace.
  • 54 percent were left with some kind of lasting impression, such as the suffering and sacrifice of those who experienced the First World War.

Survey Methodology

The 2018 survey used an approach consistent with the two previous surveys.

An online survey of 4,010 New Zealanders aged 15+ years was completed. Respondents were sampled from Colmar Brunton’s online panel of over 100,000 New Zealanders, and panel partners. Quotas were used, and the data was post-weighted to ensure the sample was representative of the New Zealand population aged 15+ with regards to age, gender, region and ethnicity. The main limitation of the online survey methodology is that it excludes people who do not have access to the internet.

The fieldwork for the final survey took place from 21 November to 12 December 2018. The response rate was 31 percent and the survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.5 percent.

Related links

2012 Benchmark Survey results

2016 Interim Survey results

WW100 Final Report (2019)

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