A man in a first World War army uniform salutes the camera.

For King & Country

26 Jan 2016

For King & Country: New Zealand's First World War on Film is a 70-minute film programme available to loan for screenings, covering New Zealand’s experience of the war. Excerpts from 38 films, and a variety of still images, are included, from the collections of Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision and other archives in New Zealand, Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom.

The programme is presented thematically and covers the history of filmmaking in New Zealand, and life prior to the war. It shows soldiers training and departing as well as shipboard life. There is footage of NZEF soldiers in Egypt, Gallipoli, Europe and the Middle East, and scenes showing the work of the medical corps. There are also rare glimpses of life at the home front in New Zealand, including the first conscription ballot, fundraising activities, and an intimate home movie. It finishes with activities surrounding the armistice in the UK and New Zealand, the return home of the Māori contingent, and the unveiling of the Messines Ridge memorial in Belgium, in 1924.

Films made during this time were all silent; however, they were never presented silently. They were usually accompanied by a narrator and a pianist, or even an orchestra. To match the spirit of the time we have recorded a commentary by renowned historian Dr Chris Pugsley, ONZM, to explain what is happening in the films. A Te Reo version of the commentary is available as well. We have also commissioned a contemporary soundtrack by Iain Gordon of Fat Freddy's Drop to re-create the cinema-going experience, with a modern twist.

This programme was made possible with funding from the Lottery World War One Commemorations, Environment and Heritage Committee.

Ballot at the Government Statistician's Office (1916)

Loan info

Who can borrow For King & Country?

Educational institutions, arts and cultural organisations, libraries, community groups, and film societies situated within Aotearoa New Zealand. Note: the programme cannot be loaned to individuals for private use or home screenings.

How much does it cost?

A grant from the Lottery World War One Commemorations, Environment and Heritage Committee has enabled Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision to make For King & Country available for groups to loan at no cost (except return postage).

Can I charge people to see this or run it as a fundraiser for our group?

We accept that you may need to apply a small admission charge to cover the costs of the screening, however the programme is not available for fundraising or profit-making activities.

What will I need to screen this programme?

The programme is available as a DVD or a DCP file. You will need a screen, projector, and DVD or DCP player. Other formats can be produced on request. Please get in touch with us to discuss this.

How long can I keep the programme for?

To ensure maximum availability for all borrowers the normal loan period allows for one screening only, please indicate if you would like to host more than one screening and we will do our best to accommodate your request.

Request to loan For King & Country

To request to loan the For King & Country programme please Contact us.

Work of the NZ Medical Corps (1917)

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions.

Note: Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision reserves the right to decline loan requests at its discretion.

More information 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 (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 (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].

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.

Preview Clips

Preview a few of the films that feature on the For King & Country programme. More World War I films are available to view online at www.anzacsightsound.org

The New Zealand Field Artillery in France (1918)

This extract was filmed on the Western Front in Christmas 1917 by the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) Cameraman Harry Sanders. It shows NZEF gunners being issued Christmas parcels by the Battery Quartermaster Sergeant, and ends with an extended sequence of two 18 pounder guns in the snow firing at an intense rate.

R. Hayward Home Movie (1916)

Rob Millington has tea at his Wellington home with his fiancée Daisy. Soon after this film was made Millington signed up to serve with the merchant navy as a wireless operator. Learn more about this film.

Otago Expeditionary Force Section 1 (1914)

The farewell for the soldiers of the Otago and Southland Section of the Main Body of the NZEF, Tahuna Park, Dunedin. Learn more about this film.

Inspection of the New Zealand and Australian Division in Egypt (1915)

The First Māori Contingent perform the haka “Te Kāhu Pōkere” in Egypt. Learn more about this film.


The For King & Country programme was made possible with funding from the Lottery World War One Commemorations, Environment and Heritage Committee.

The programme was compiled by Ngā Taonga Sound & Visions’s Research Co-ordinator, James Taylor, and Dr Christopher Pugsley, who also prepared the script and provides the English voiceover. We have also translated the script into Te Reo Māori and have recorded a Te Reo Māori version featuring the voices of Te Iwa Tamaki, Petera Hawaiki, and Lawrence Wharerau – all members of Ngā Taonga’s staff.

Best known for his work on keyboards for Fat Freddy's Drop, Iain Gordon also enjoyed the opportunity to put sound with vision. The particular challenge of making a soundtrack for the images curated for this programme was to be able to create a sense of the mood of the times, but also a very tangible and raw emotional link that would draw the audience closer to the (often harsh) realities being portrayed – the human experience amidst the relentless march of War. Francis Gordon, best known as an ace Mid-Fielder in the Paekakariki Golden Bull Sharks Year 5 soccer team, is also showing early promise as a musician and has helped his father, Iain, with some key inspirations in his collaboration with Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision. Ka mau te wehi Francis!

Footage in the programme comes from the collections of Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, and some is courtesy of British Pathé, Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, and the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia. Images have been sourced from the Alexander Turnbull Library, Archives New Zealand, Canterbury Museum, the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library, the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, and Wellington City Council. Music is courtesy of the Band of the Royal New Zealand Artillery, Bongmaster, Kiwi Pacific Records, Saydisc Records, The New Zealand Army Band, The Yoots

Thanks to the staff of Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision for collecting, protecting and making our audiovisual heritage accessible, and to the many depositors and archives who have contributed to this programme.


Narration: Dr Christopher Pugsley (English); Te Iwa Tamaki, Petera Hakiwai, Lawrence Wharerau (Te Reo Māori)

Script: James Taylor, Dr Christopher Pugsley

Te Reo Māori translation: Waihoroi Shortland

Music: Iain Gordon

Guitar: Aaron Tokona

Additional keyboards: Francis Pomare Gordon

Musical consultants: Ema Pomare, Bob Davis

Sound recording & mix: Mike Gibson, Munki Studios

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision Footage Courtesy of:

Barrie Saunders

Jack Murtagh Collection

Les Bloomfield

Picton Seaport Trust

Te Arawa Lakes Trust

Other Archival Footage Courtesy of:

Australian War Memorial Museum

British Pathé

Imperial War Museum

National Film & Sound Archive, Australia

Still Images Courtesy of:

Alexander Turnbull Library:

  • "Fullers' Pictures." Jones, Frederick Nelson, 1881-1962: Negatives of the Nelson district. Ref: 1/1-011836-G. 
  • Exterior of the Globe Theatre, Christchurch. Webb, Steffano, 1880-1967 : Collection of negatives. Ref: 1/1-003991-G.
  • McDonald, James Ingram, 1865-1935. Woman taking a photograph of thermal activity. Ref: PA7-17-41
  • Photograph of West's Pictures filming Māori scenes in Rotorua. Ref: PAColl-9036.
  • Motion picture projectionist alongside a projector. Jones, Frederick Nelson, 1881-1962 : Negatives of the Nelson district. Ref: 1/1-011360-G.
  • Photograph of West's Pictures filming Maori scenes in Rotorua. Ref: PAColl-9036.
  • Politicians and a crowd, outside Parliament Buildings, upon the declaration of war with Germany. Smith, Sydney Charles, 1888-1972 : Photographs of New Zealand. Ref: 1/2-045239-G.
  • Dominion of New Zealand. Military Service Act, 1916: Enrolment of Expeditionary Force Reserve... Call at nearest post-office.1916.Ref: Eph-D-WAR-WI-1916-01
  • McKenzie, Donald Francis (Professor), 1931-1999. The British Empire and Allies' glorious triumph; the flags of freedom, liberty and justice, 1914-1919. [1919]. Ref: Eph-D-WAR-WI-1919-02. 
  • Graves of servicemen from the Wellington Mounted Rifles at Ayun Kara, Palestine. Ref: 1/2-106303-F. 
  • An Auckland officer placing a wreath on the grave of Lieutenant W P Richards, near Abeele, France. Royal New Zealand Returned and Services' Association: New Zealand official negatives, World War 1914-1918. Ref: 1/2-013744-G. 
  • A New Zealand officer reads a cross in a former German field cemetery, World War I. Royal New Zealand Returned and Services' Association: New Zealand official negatives, World War 1914-1918. Ref: 1/2-013054-G. 
  • The funeral of Sergeant Henry Nicholas, VC, in World War I, France. Royal New Zealand Returned and Services' Association :New Zealand official negatives, World War 1914-1918. Ref: 1/2-013667-G. 
  • Officers saluting the grave of Brigadier General Johnston killed in 1917. Royal New Zealand Returned and Services' Association :New Zealand official negatives, World War 1914-1918. Ref: 1/2-012891-G. 

Archives New Zealand:

  • Airplane "Ao-te-aroa" search for by HMS "Dunedin" and "Diomede" and Tug "Toia." Shows route of Hood and Moncrieff's plane and pattern of search by rescue craft. Chart. New Zealand No. 1212. Published 1885, update to 1916. R20401539 ABPV W3111 1/1.

Canterbury Museum:

  • Photograph: Brigadier Perry's Biorama Operating Staff, ref: 1923.53.603, The Canterbury Times photograph, Bishop Collection.

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa:

  • Armistice Memorial gravesite, 1930s, London, by Eric Lee-Johnson. Purchased 1997 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds. O.007393.

Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library:

  • Europe, 1914, G5700 1914 . W23.
  • The Daily Telegraph gazetteer war map (no.4), 1915, G5701.S65 1915 .G76. 
  • The Daily Telegraph war map no.12, 1915, G5701.S65 1915 .G76. 
  • The Daily Telegraph war map of Egypt and the Near East (No. 6), 1916. G5701.S65 1915 .G76. 
  • The Daily Telegraph war map of Europe (no.1), 1915, G5701.S65 1915 .G76. 

Wikimedia Commons:

  • "Map of Australia," The New Student's Reference Work, 1914 edition, vol. 1, p.177
  • Newspaper headlines from Papers Past.

Music Courtesy of:

Band of the Royal New Zealand Artillery


Kiwi Pacific Records

Saydisc Records

The New Zealand Army Band

The Yoots

  • Pokarekareana , performed by Iain Gordon.
  • Pokarekareana , performed by Ana Hato, Dean Waretini, courtesy of Kiwi Pacific Records
  • Brothers and Sisters , performed by Bongmaster Inc
  • Sons of the Brave , performed by the New Zealand Army Band
  • E Pari Ra , performed by The Yoots, courtesy of Economy Records
  • Colonel Bogey , Performed by the New Zealand Army Band
  • Pack Up Troubles / It’s a Long Road , performed by F. Wheeler and Chorus, courtesy of Saydisc Records
  • Marche Lorraine , performed by The Band of the Royal Swedish Air Force, courtesy of Naxos
  • Hoe Ra Te Waka Nei, performed by Aaron Tokona
  • Scipio , performed by the New Zealand Army Band
  • Here We Are, Here We Are , performed by Band of H. M. Coldstream, courtesy of Saydisc Records
  • Great Little Army , performed by the New Zealand Army Band
  • Invercargill , performed by the Band of the Royal New Zealand Artillery
  • Tomo Mai , performed by The Yoots
  • Te Ope Tuatahi , performed by Ana Hato, Dean Waretini, courtesy of Kiwi Pacific Records
  • Au E Ihu , performed by Iain Gordon

Archive Producers: James Taylor, Diane Pivac

Archive Editor: Zoe Robinson

Archive Scanning (Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision): Richard Falkner

Consultant: Dr Christopher Pugsley

With special thanks to the trustees and staff of Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision for acquiring, preserving and making New Zealand’s audiovisual heritage accessible.