In Our Own Voice
8.30am – 5.00pm, Monday to Saturday | Te Ahumairangi
It is a century since, in the European summer of 1914, a series of events set off a devastating global conflict that claimed the lives of more than sixteen million people. This was a war that in its time was known as the Great War and which we have subsequently come to know as World War One. As a consequence of this war, the maps of Europe were redrawn and people’s sense of identity and culture radically shifted.
More than a hundred thousand New Zealanders went to the War. For many this was the first time overseas. Alongside a belief in Empire and allegiance to the Crown, there was for some an early sense of great adventure. The reality was very different. Eighteen thousand New Zealanders died and a further forty-one thousand were wounded.
The distance from home, the rupture to all that was familiar, also saw a shift in many people’s thinking. It has been suggested that amidst this disruption and destruction, the men and women from New Zealand began to see themselves differently. They began to see themselves as New Zealanders, as Kiwis.
Detail of Uniformed school cadets by Tesla Studios, ca. 1910. Ref: 1/1-016929-G
There are stories amongst the resources here which are in people’s own words. Over time, we will collect stories in the words of our own generations. Sometimes the stories will be of descendants of the people who fought in World War One, sometimes the stories will be found and pieced together by people who are interested in, and moved by this history.
This resource space invites you to listen to, to read, to reflect and to research stories. It invites you to write and put together your own reflections and insights. In your own voice.
Detail of Sydney Stanfield and Son World War I Oral History Archive (OHColl-0006)