Going to War

Britain’s declaration of war caused great excitement in Canterbury, followed by thousands of enlistments in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force. Those accepted as recruits underwent training before leaving New Zealand on troopships.

As the War dragged on, voluntary enlistments declined and conscription was introduced to keep up the supply of men. While many young men left the country expecting a great adventure, their families worried that they would never see them again.

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1976.96.23 Troop at Lyttelton

Troops boarding the Tahiti at Lyttelton in September 1914.

Canterbury Museum 1976.96.23

Video: Dressed for War

Barry O'Sullivan, author and collector of New Zealand uniforms and accoutrements, talks about the dress for Kiwi soldiers in World War One

New Zealand Goes to War

The New Zealand Expeditionary Force was established after Britain accepted New Zealand’s offer of an 8,000 strong force

Harold Edgar album Trentham arrivals5

Men arriving at Trentham Camp, 1917

Courtesy of Margaret Johns

More Men

The number of men volunteering for the war effort remained strong until late 1915

Training the Troops

Camps were necessary to train the newly-enlisted troops

Becoming a Soldier

A denim fatigue uniform was worn for the first 2 weeks of training at Trentham and Featherston Camps

WW301 180910

World War One uniforms on display during the exhibition Canterbury and World War One: Lives Lost Lives Changed 30 November 2017 to 11 November 2018

The Journey to War

Almost 10,000 New Zealand personnel were transported to Europe and the Middle East by troopships during the War

This online exhibition is representative of Canterbury and World War One: Lives Lost Lives Changed, a temporary exhibition which ran from 30 November 2017 to 11 November 2018 at Canterbury Museum.