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This is the first of three surviving segments of a film showing of the mobilisation, training and civic farewell to the Main Body of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) raised in the Otago and Southland regions at the outset of World War One in August and September 1914. It was shot by Henry C. Gore, a prolific Dunedin based topical film maker.

It opens with footage of a civic reception at Tahuna Park on 16 September 1914 which was held: “in honour of the Otago and Southland section of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force [and] proved an eminently successful affair. A half holiday had been announced to mark the occasion, and so many people availed themselves of the opportunity to be present that it is safe to assert that seldom, if ever, has such a large Dunedin crowd been gathered together at one time as was at the park that day.” (Otago Witness, 23 September 1914)

These scenes give the viewer a very good look at the soldiers, who seem to be all smiles and expectant faces and eager to be off to war and adventure. However the cheerfulness of the men of the NZEF is not shared by the crowd and one senses the apprehension on the faces of the women. This apprehension turned out to be well founded: many of the personnel shown in the film became casualties during the 1915 Gallipoli Campaign.

Pans across faces of men of Otago Battalion of the Expeditionary Force at Tahuna Park with crowd in background. Lt Col T. W. McDonald moving through the group is congratulated by two civilian dignitaries. Pan left to right across faces of men of Otago Battalion with musicians of Otago Hussars on right of frame. The Battalion marches onto parade. The Dunedin Liedertafel sings. The Moderator of the Presbyterian Synod Rev J. Kilpatrick addresses the crowd. Pans left to right across the faces of the soldiers and a sea of hats. The Mayor Mr J. B. Shacklock gives an address, [Mr W. C. MacGregor] follows. Pans left to right across the crowd with tented camp in background. Scenes at the Battalion cookhouse with fatigues working; everyone is puffing away on pipes or cigarettes. The Cook Sergeant in off-white apron and bandaged arm gives directions. The cookhouse in action, very purposeful and conscious of the camera. One of the fatigues waves his hat at the camera as the Sergeant gives his orders, and men scurry about.

From notes by Chris Pugsley.

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Year 1914

Reference number F1147

Collection Film and Video Collection

Media type Moving Image

Place of Production NEW ZEALAND/AOTEAROA

Genre Actuality

Duration 0:03:55

Production company Plaza Pictures

Credits Photography: Henry C Gore

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