Patriotic societies formed to co‑ordinate fundraising for soldiers and their families and relief projects were organised to assist civilians living in the war zones.
By 1920, almost £5.7 million ($520 million today) had been raised and another £550,000 in goods ($50 million today) had been sent to soldiers overseas.
Women contributed enormously to the support efforts by running fundraising activities, assembling care packages and knitting socks and other items for soldiers.
In 1916, the Canterbury Patriotic Society ran a Queen Carnival contest to raise £100,000 (almost $14 million today) for the relief of soldiers and their dependants. Nine queens were nominated representing various Canterbury societies and districts.
For 3 pence each, the public could cast their vote for their favourite queen and the queen who raised the most money won.
Miss Mabel Rutherford, Contestant 6 representing the Queen of the Hills, was the winner. Her votes brought in £27,140 (almost $4 million today), 27% of the total amount raised.
In early 1916, the Freemasons established the Masonic War Fund with the goal of collecting £10,000 ($1.4 million today) to help wounded soldiers and the families of men killed in action.
Dr Redman of Picton offered the Freemasons a set of nineteenth-century surgical instruments that had been used in 1805 during the Battle of Trafalgar. The Grand Lodge auctioned off the set through the Art Union, raising £558 ($77,000 today).
Auctioned items typically went to the highest bidder but Dr Redman stipulated that the instruments had to be donated to Canterbury Museum.
The New Zealand Branch of the British Red Cross was formed in 1915. During the War, the organisation assembled care packages for soldiers and sent them to a central distribution centre in England.
The first Red Cross shop was established in Christchurch in June 1915, selling second-hand goods as well as baking and even live chickens. Within a year, the shop had raised over £4,450 ($600,000 today) for the Sick and Wounded Fund. Additional funds were raised through dances, concerts and other social events.
The German Empire invaded the neutral country of Belgium in August 1914 and occupied it for the remainder of the War. Word of atrocities to Belgian citizens and stories of famine spread.
The international community responded with assistance. New Zealanders rallied to the cause and came up with novel ways of helping. In Canterbury, swan and hare hunting drives were organised. One drive held on Lake Ellesmere bagged nearly 500 birds which were frozen and sent to Belgium. In a gesture of thanks, a single feather decorated with the Belgian arms was sent back to Canterbury.
Mīria Pōmare, wife of Māori Member of Parliament Māui Pōmare, established the Māori Soldiers Fund with assistance from Lady Liverpool. Māori communities up and down New Zealand mobilised and Mrs Murewai Mutu took charge of South Island fundraising.
In 1916, Canterbury committees formed headed by Mrs C Flutey at Tuahiwi, Mrs Taiaroa at Taumutu and Mrs Torepa at Arowhenua. These Māori Soldiers Fund branches organised dances, performances of poi and haka and other events to raise money. By the end of 1917, South Island branches had gathered over £259 ($33,000 today) as well as 8,000 tītī (muttonbirds) to send to Māori soldiers at the front and in hospital.