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Commonwealth War Graves Commission

New Zealand is a member of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC). The Commission is responsible for commemorating members of the Armed Forces who died during the World Wars of 1914-18 and 1939-45 and cares for their graves throughout the world.

The other member countries are the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, South Africa and India. Each country contributes to the cost of the Commission's work in proportion to the number of war graves with New Zealand contributing 2.14% to the annual budget.

Location of graves and memorials

You can trace the graves and memorials of all Commonwealth service personnel who died during the two world wars on the Commonwealth  War Graves Commission website.  Contact us if you need area maps and cemetery plans.  These are not yet available on the CWCG's website.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission website.

The War dead of New Zealand

The total number of New Zealand war dead of the two world wars commemorated throughout the world by the Commission is:

  • 1914-1918 War: 18,042
  • 1939-1945 War: 11,925
  • Total: 29,967

The countries in which the largest number of New Zealand war dead are commemorated are France (7,778), Belgium (4,711) and Turkey (2,358) mainly from the 1914-1918 War, and Egypt (2,924), Greece (1,148), Italy (2,157) and New Caledonia (515) from the 1939-1945 War.

War Graves in New Zealand

There are 3,478 New Zealand casualties of the two World Wars commemorated in New Zealand in a total of 433 sites throughout the country. This figure includes 570 casualties of both World Wars with no known grave who are commemorated on the Auckland Memorial in Devonport and on provincial memorials in Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin and Wellington.

Most of the casualties buried in New Zealand died while on garrison or training duties or in hospitals.  As an agent for the CWGC, the Ministry inspects the graves every two years and arranges for their cleaning and repair when needed.  We also look after Commonwealth graves and memorials to the missing in New Caledonia, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu and the Society Islands.