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More Info About the Films

The For King & Country programme starts with glimpses of the early days of filmmaking and cinemagoing in New Zealand. Look out for pictures of JOSEPH PERRY AND THE SALVATION ARMY BIORAMA STAFF, TJ WEST, JAMES MCDONALD and HENRY GORE AND STAFF throughout this section. The first footage shows Māori at Whakarewarewa in SIGHTS IN ZEALAND (1906). We then move to New Plymouth, where cameraman Brandon Haughton captured crowd scenes of locals parading on the lawn at the TARANAKI JOCKEY CLUB’S ANNUAL MEETING (1912), and kids of the region in SCENES AT THE ANNUAL EAST END PICNIC, NEW PLYMOUTH (1912). The years leading up to the war also saw an increase in military build-up. A newly scanned film shows one aspect of this: AUCKLAND'S RECEPTION TO THE BATTLESHIP HMS NEW ZEALAND (1913) is one of the few surviving films showing the gifted battleship during her tour of New Zealand in 1913.

Scenes from the East End Picnic
Scenes from the East End Picnic (1912)

After the declaration of war in 1914 the massive logistical task of raising the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) began. TRENTHAM ARMY CAMP AERIAL VIEW (1915), shot by the Government Cameraman Sydney Taylor in 1915, shows the camp in its early days. We then see a closer view of NEW ZEALAND RECRUITS (1915) drilling. We then see NZEF training in SNOW MAN’S LAND (c. 1918), which shows machine gun and bayonet training. Then to Dunedin, where we see the faces of the soldiers and civilians of Otago during the departure of the OTAGO EXPEDITIONARY FORCE (1914), filmed by local filmmaker Henry Gore. The Main Body of the NZEF departed Wellington in September 1914, captured in OFF TO THE FRONT (1914), again filmed by Taylor.

Off to The Front
Off to The Front (1914)

The Main Body of the NZEF departed New Zealand in August 1914 and travelled to Albany, Western Australia, to join up with the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) to make the long journey to Europe. LIFE ON NEW ZEALAND TROOP SHIPS (1914) shows troops from the Auckland Division at the wharf, views of the 36 ship convoy, and wrestling and other entertainment on board the ships. After departing the Anzacs were diverted from their original destination, and headed to Egypt for training instead. INSPECTION OF THE NEW ZEALAND AND AUSTRALIAN DIVISION IN EGYPT (1914) shows the newly formed Anzac Division in late March 1915, shortly before taking part in the ill-fated Gallipoli Campaign. HEROES OF GALLIPOLI (1915) is one of the few films that survive showing conditions at Gallipoli in July and September 1915, and we catch glimpses of Anzac Beach and Quinn’s Post. FOR BRAVERY AT GALLIPOLI (1915) shows Cyril Bassett, the only New Zealander who received a Victoria Cross during that campaign, and the first New Zealand Victoria Cross winner in the war.

Inspection of the New Zealand and Australian Division in Egypt (1914)

After Gallipoli the NZEF fought in Europe and the Middle East. They were based in Sling Camp in the UK for initial training, shown in WITH THE NZ EXPEDITIONARY FORCE IN THE UK PT 1 (1918) and NEW ZEALAND BOYS AT SLING CAMP (1917), two compilations of films shot by the NZEF Cameraman Tommy Scales. After this we return to New Zealand and a couple of scenes of life at home. BALLOT AT THE GOVERNMENT STATISTICIAN’S OFFICE shows the first conscription ballot, which took place in 1916. The other, PERSONAL RECORD RUDALL HAYWARD, OCTOBER 1916 is a rare surviving film of domestic life during the war. Another film showing activities at home is [FUNDRAISING JERVOIS QUAY WELLINGTON 1918].

Ballot at the Government Statistician's Office (1916)

We then move to Europe and REVIEW OF NEW ZEALAND TROOPS BY HON WALTER LONG (1917), which is the first film of the New Zealand Division on the Western Front. After troop inspections and weapon demonstrations, we are shown striking shots of the destruction of the war and the ruined landscape, trench scenes, and some rare film of No-Man’s Land. The next set of films show the casualties of war, and the doctors and nurses that looked after them. The WORK OF THE NEW ZEALAND MEDIAL CORPS 1917 shows injured soldiers at No.3 NZ Field Ambulance, and we get a short look at the work of nurses in NEW ZEALAND HOSPITAL WALTON-ON-THAMES AND OATLAND PARK (1917). Injured Gallipoli veterans are shown returning home in NEW ZEALANDERS BOARD SHIP TO RETURN HOME (c. 1915), while some of the bounties of war are displayed in WOUNDED ANZACS WITH TROPHIES OF WAR ON THEIR WAY BACK TO NEW ZEALAND (c. 1917).

Review of New Zealand Troops by Hon Walter Long (1917)

New Zealand rugby teams were of huge interest to the newsreel companies during the war, and NEW ZEALAND DIVISIONAL RUGBY TEAM 1918 shows one of these teams seeing the sights of Paris, and in action against a French team in a game they won by New Zealand 5-3. During the war convalescing soldiers were rehabilitated and given agricultural training on farms in England, as shown in NEW ZEALANDERS PRODUCE THEIR OWN FOOD (c. 1917) and HOSPITAL FARMYARD (c. 1917). As well as clean uniforms, soldiers were expected to have clean teeth, as LITTLE HEARD OF PARADE (c. 1917) shows. We then return to New Zealand, and Featherston Camp in 1918, during a huge snowstorm, where soldiers have a little fun in SNOW MAN’S LAND (c. 1918).

New Zealand Divisional Rugby Team 1918

The Prime Minister, William Massey, and his deputy in the coalition Government, Sir Joseph Ward, made a number of trips to Europe to visit New Zealand Troops. [VISIT OF THE HON W H MASSEY AND SIR J WARD TO WESTERN FRONT 30 JUNE - 4 JULY 1918] shows one of these visits by the pair known as the “Siamese Twins.” THE NEW ZEALAND FIELD ARTILLERY IN FRANCE (1918) is our final film from the European front, and shows the horses of the NZEF as well as soldiers receiving Christmas parcels and 18-pound gun teams in action. We then move to the war in the Middle East, and footage of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade who served in Sinai and Palestine. EL MEJDEL, JAFFA AND WEST COUNTRY TROOPS shows the Mounted Rifles in Jaffa, Palestine, in December 1918.

The New Zealand Field Artillery in France (1918)

The war was finally over when the Armistice was declared on 11 November 1918, and the New Zealand Division was part of the army of occupation of defeated Germany. [NEW ZEALANDERS IN COLOGNE] (1918) shows New Zealand soldiers marching over the Rhine River into Cologne in late December, as well as troops leaving by train in late 1918 and early 1919. Following the Armistice, victory parades and celebrations were held throughout the British Empire. INVESTITURE BY H.M THE KING AT BUCKINGHAM PALACE (1919) shows a medal ceremony held in London in May 1919, as well as a march through the streets of London by Anzac soldiers. The NZ Division demobilised in late 1918 and early 1919, and two films, LAST NEW ZEALAND SOLDIER EMBARKS FOR HOME (1919) and GOODBYE TO BLIGHTY (c. 1919), show Kiwi troops on their way home— including some who took new brides and babies back with them.

Australasian Gazette 451: Maori Contingent Home (1919)

The Māori Pioneer Battalion Te Hoko Whitu a Tū was the only unit that returned to New Zealand as a complete battalion. AUSTRALASIAN GAZETTE 451 [EXCERPT] MAORI CONTINGENT HOME (1919) shows their arrival into Auckland in April 1919, as well as the welcome ceremony that took place at the Auckland Domain. Peace Day celebrations took place across New Zealand in July 1919, and PEACE DAY PROCESSION shows festivities in Dunedin. Finally, we conclude with a film shot in 1924, showing the opening of the NEW ZEALAND MEMORIAL at Messines Ridge. This is one of a number of memorials dotted across the landscapes of Europe, Gallipoli, the Middle East and New Zealand, which remember the 100,444 soldiers that served, and the 18,166 men who were killed during the First World War.