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World War I (1914-1918): New Zealand Armed Forces

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  • Keith Stanley Manning (1892 - 1970)
    BDM1892/8394 Manning Keith Stanley; Barbara; William BDM1922/3597 Nita Burgess; Keith Stanley Manning Service number WWI 13/98 Army Trooper, Auckland Mounted Rifles British War Medal (1914 - 1920) ...
  • Gnr. Walter William Rooks (1905 - 1964)
    Walter William Rooks was the son of John Rooks (1878–1945) and Jessica Emma Rooks (nee Hodder) (1882–1960). He married Eileen Allerbery in 1928, and Ada Marie Minna Allis in 1952. Struck by vehicle, Ne...
  • Otago Witness (15 November 1916, p. 35) (Supplement).
    Sgt. Frederic Belton Pilcher (1892 - 1974)
    Son of Christina Catherine and Edward Belton Pilcher (father), Company-manager, Invercargill, New Zealand. Birth Registration Number: (reg. 1892/16965) Frederic Belton Pilcher.
  • Auckland Weekly News 1918.
    Rfn. James Alfred Prictor (1887 - 1918)
    James Alfred Prictor was born at Napier in the Hawke's Bay region of New Zealand's North Island on 21 July 1887 (reg. 1887/6271). His parents were Walter Prictor and Apolina Armstrong Prictor (née John...
  • Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections AWNS-19180228-40-05.
    Pte. Andrew Costin (1894 - 1917)
    David and Andrew Costin were the sons of Thomas Costin and Mary Elizabeth Costin (née Hall) who had married in St John's at Miles Platting in Manchester, England on 15 June 1889. Younger brother Thomas...

World War I (WWI, WW1, the First World War, the Great War) was a global war originating in Europe and lasting from 1914 to 1918.

When the United Kingdom declared war on Germany at the start of the First World War, the New Zealand government followed without hesitation, despite its geographic isolation and small population. It was believed at the time that any declaration of war by the United Kingdom automatically included New Zealand.

The total number of New Zealand troops and nurses to serve overseas in 1914–1918, excluding those in British and other Dominion forces, was 100,444, from a population of just over a million. Forty-two percent of men of military age served in the NZEF. 16,697 New Zealanders were killed and 41,317 were wounded during the war – a 58 percent casualty rate.

Approximately a further thousand men died within five years of the war's end, as a result of injuries sustained, and 507 died while training in New Zealand between 1914 and 1918. New Zealand had one of the highest casualty and death rate per capita of any country involved in the war.


Conscription was introduced in 1916 after the number of volunteers for the New Zealand Expeditionary Force fell below requirements. The Military Service Act 1916 required the registration of non-Māori men aged between 20 and 46. They were sorted into two divisions – the unmarried or recently married, and everyone else. Some were chosen by ballot, initially from the first division and later from the second, and sent to training camps. Māori were initially exempted, but in 1917 the act was extended to include Māori – though conscription was only imposed on Tainui Māori. No Māori conscripts served overseas. A total of about 135,000 men were conscripted during the First World War and about 32,000 eventually served in the war, compared to almost 70,000 who volunteered.

Additional Facts

  • 2,227 Māori and around 500 Pacific Islanders served overseas with the New Zealand forces
  • 550 nurses served overseas with the New Zealand Army Nursing Service, and many others enlisted in the United Kingdom
  • 11 Victoria Crosses were won by soldiers serving with New Zealand forces
  • At least 3300 New Zealanders served in the Australian or British imperial forces, winning a further five Victoria Crosses

Please link GENi profiles of New Zealand Servicemen and women to this Project. Both casualties and survivors may be added. Casualties should also be added to the WW1 Roll of Honour - New Zealand Project.

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