This film records the visit by Sir Thomas Mackenzie, KCMG, High Commissioner for New Zealand, to the New Zealand Division, on 9 to 10 September 1917. It is one of a number of films taken of VIP visitors to the New Zealand Division in France during World War One. This is valuable in that it shows a number of the principals in the Division including Major General Sir Andrew Russell and Brigadier General Herbert Hart.
Mackenzie himself had a keen interest in cinema. As Minister of Tourism he asked James McDonald, the Official Government Photographer, to take films in the Otago-Southland area which he used as illustrations in talks to his electorate. MacKenzie also established the agreement with Pathe Freres to show New Zealand made documentaries in Europe; this led to the employment of Sanders, from Pathe Freres, as NZEF Official Cameraman in France, and later Scales as Official Cameraman for the NZEF (UK). Thus Mackenzie deserves the title of 'Patron' of the “official” New Zealand documentary film.
The film shows a battalion marching easy followed by a 2nd Battalion Otago Regiment Church parade attended by Sir Thomas Mackenzie, Lt General Godley, Commander II ANZAC Corps, Major General Sir Andrew Russell, and staff including Honorary Captain Malcolm Ross, the Official NZEF Press Correspondent. Scenes include a visit to the 2nd NZ Field Ambulance, inspection of NZ Engineers and an address to 3rd Otago Battalion.
Russell noted in his diary: "The whole visit has been successful, fine weather - just enough speechifying but not too much."
From notes by Chris Pugsley.