World War One (New Zealand involvement)
Where can I find information about New Zealand's involvement in World War One?
Entry last updated: 26/05/22
World War One, also called the First World War or the Great War, took place between 1914 and 1918. New Zealand was part of the British Empire then, so we joined the war as one of the Allies (the British Empire, France, Russia and others) to fight against the Central Powers (Germany, Italy, Turkey and others). The involvement in the war had a huge impact on life for all New Zealanders.
New Zealand sites
The websites below are the best place to start looking for information on New Zealand's involvement in World War One.
Te Ara is an excellent starting point for all questions about the history of New Zealand Aotearoa.
- Scroll down the page and look for the section Government and Nation.
- From there, choose War and Defence.
- Next choose First World War to read why New Zealand got involved, the different battles fought in Gallipoli and the Western Front etc and impact of the war at home.
- Also look at Ngā pakanga ki tāwāhi – Māori and overseas wars to read about Māori involvement in the First World War.
Tips: remember to explore External links and sources from this page for links to other websites and information on this topic
NZHistory is another great website for information about New Zealand Aotearoa.
- Choose New Zealand at war from the home page.
- Then, choose First World War and take a look at all the different headings for information on the battles fought, the work of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF), New Zealand Army Nursing Service, including the Māori and Pacific troops and more.
Tips: Te Ara and NZHistory belong to the Ministry for Culture and Heritage. You can tell because of their web address – they have either .govt or .ac, meaning they are from government or educational organisations. They’re also New Zealand sites, so relevant and reliable for us.
This is a great website put together especially for school students who are studying World War One.
- First, choose your language. You are able to view this site in te reo Māori or in English.
- Then you can choose different Focus Areas or Inquiry Guides. We like this website because it is broken down into different year levels so you will be able to find resources perfect for you.
Tips: If we scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page we can see that this website is supported by the New Zealand Government, as well as the Ministry of Education, National Library of New Zealand the WW100 Programme Office.
This is a New Zealand government website dedicated to remembering the First World War, one hundred years on. It is a rich source of information on stories, heroes, commemorations and lots more.
- Select the NZ at War tab from the top of the page. Here you will find heaps of articles about different battles, victories and experiences of the war.
- There's also an interactive timeline and personal stories of New Zealand's involvement.
Topic Explorer is an online tool from the National Library of New Zealand. It contains a wide range of quality resources from reliable national and international sources.
- Scroll down the page to New Zealand and the First World War.
- Select from the range of media like audio, images, archives, newspapers, articles, and videos on this topic.
Tips: Remember to explore related topics such as Anzac and Gallipoli from the Related topics listed in the column on the right.
This website is from the Victoria University of Wellington and has heaps of history books from their library that you can read online.
- Use the search function along the right to type in 'World War One'.
- Have a look at New Zealand in the First World War 1914 - 1918. This is a collection of history books about the war.
- Select to read The War Effort of New Zealand. The book covers different aspects of the war that New Zealand was involved in, such as the chapter on New Zealand Army Nurses.
Tips: This site uses Google to search, so the results will look like a normal Google search but all the results are from the NZETC.
Primary sources are things like diaries, photos, newspapers and other documents written during the war or soon after by people who were involved in it.
This organisation has digitised heaps of primary sources relating to World War One.
- From the home page, go to Explore.
- Then, go to Local history, and select Digital collection.
- Next, scroll down to War and conflicts, and choose World War 1: 1914-1918.
This link will lead you to heaps of World War One primary sources such as diaries, letters, postcards, portraits, shipboard magazines, and information about conscientious objectors.
Tips: Writing from around 100 years ago can be difficult read - take it slowly, and look out for letters and words you can recognise and compare them with ones you're not so sure about.
This website is great for archived newspaper articles published in New Zealand about World War One.
- Choose Newspapers.
- Then search using keywords like 'World War One' or "Gallipoli' or any other words related to this topic.
- Next use the options to narrow your search by title, region or year between 1914 to 1918.
Tips: Search words, or keywords, are the most important words in our question. Usually it’s better to leave out small words like ‘the’, ‘a’ and ‘of’ and just choose the main ones, eg [World War One]. We can always change our keywords or add more if we need to.
DigitalNZ is a search site that focuses on New Zealand history and brings together results from different New Zealand libraries, museums, universities and government sites all at once.
- Enter your keywords World War One into the search bar.
- Then select from the range of formats like images, videos, newspapers, articles or manuscripts like the World War One letters .
- You can also filter by choosing the tab called Date, then go on toselect a range of dates from 1910 to 1930 which covers the period of the war.
Tips: We like PapersPast and DigitalNZ because they are from government organisations. You can tell this by their web address, which includes .govt. They're is also a New Zealand site, so relevant for us.
Audio and videos
Audio and videos are some the best ways that history has been recorded. Take a look at these two websites that have special collections on New Zealand's involvement in WW1.
This is New Zealand's public radio service on news, views, current affairs and history.
- Go to the tab called Topics from the top of the page, then scroll down to select Collections.
- Find the collection called World War One: Up Close and Personal. You can listen to experiences of WW1 from those who went through it.
NZOnScreen is an online showcase of New Zealand television, film and music videos. It is especially useful for NZ history and primary sources.
- Use the search box to type in 'World War One'.
- Scroll down the page to Collections to find the one called The World War 1 Collection to view stories from soldiers and pioneer women of New Zealand.
Tips: Websites that have .com or .co in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the company’s mission and values are.
Check out some of these books at your school or local library. Don't forget you can always ask your librarian for more recommendations too.
- New Zealand and the First World War: 1914-1919by Damien Fenton.
- Gallipoli by Ruth Naumann.
- Passchendaele by Ruth Naumann.
- Anzac Day : the New Zealand story : what it is and why it mattersby Philippa Werry.
- Armistice Day : the New Zealand Story: What it is and Why it Matters by Philippa Werry.
- Whitiki! Whiti! Whiti! E! : Māori in the First World War by Monty Soutar.
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