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World War One experience at the touch of a button

Internal Affairs Minister Chris Tremain announced today that priceless World War One collections at Archives New Zealand and the National Library are being made available online to all New Zealanders.  

“The diaries, personnel files, photos, voices and music of those in World War One will now be available to anyone at the touch of a button,” says Mr Tremain.

“This huge resource will particularly allow young people, through the National Library’s Services to Schools programme, to gain a much better understanding of events which took place 100 years ago.”

Projects announced today by the Minister include:

  • Archives New Zealand is publishing online the regimental diaries and personnel file of every one of the men and women who served in the First World War, for whom 160,740 New Zealand Defence Force records exist;
  • The Alexander Turnbull Library is digitising and making available online some 28,000 pages from soldiers’ diaries and private letters;
  • Seventy hours of oral history from First World War veterans is being made available on request at the Alexander Turnbull Library reading rooms in Wellington;
  • War-time editions of newspapers are being digitised and added to the popular Papers Past website, including the big dailies like the NZ Herald, Dominion and The Press but also the wartime news of many regional centres;
  • War-era  photographs from the Turnbull’s huge collection are being made available online, including those by the official NZ war photographers and those from the New Zealand Flying School at Kohimarama;
  • Digitisation of First World War-era sheet music from the Turnbull’s published music collection;
  • Content from Archives NZ, the Alexander Turnbull Library and the National Library is contributing to the Ministry for Culture and Heritage’s Life 100 Years Ago website and Twitter feed.

“These projects are part of the Governments WW100 programme to mark the First World War Centenary which aims to help New Zealanders to understand how our military heritage has shaped our identity,” says Mr Tremain.

“Once again the Department of Internal Affairs is leading the charge in making important data available online so more New Zealanders can have access to it.” 

The Archives New Zealand and National Library of New Zealand First World War centenary resources can be found at:

Please note that many of these projects are works-in-progress, with much more to be added to sites over the next year.


Updated on 23rd July 2015