80c Lord Kitchener:Lord Kitchener (Kitchener of Khartoum) is the embodiment of the Empire and its influence in New Zealand in the years leading into World War One. He recommended the withdrawal of New Zealand troops from Gallipoli in 1915, before perishing onboard the HMS Hampshire in 1916.
80c New Zealand called to prepare:The Defence Act of 1909 was the first step towards compulsory military training, enacted in 1911 (on advice from Lord Kitchener). By 1911, posters such as this one could be seen throughout New Zealand.
80c War announced:When war was announced on the 5th of August 1914 (New Zealand time) it was not a declaration as such, but a proclamation that, as part of the British Empire, New Zealand was at war.
80c Serving his country – Melville Mirfin:Melville Mirfin was a bank clerk from a family of seven from Ikamatua on the West Coast of the South Island, who, alongside many others, signed up for war the same week of the proclamation on August 5th.
80c Family portrait:War inevitably split families across continents and the Mirfin Family is pictured here prior to war, showing all the brothers who would serve and survive.
80c Troopships depart:The Limerick, also known as HMNZT 7, was one of ten troopships in the ‘First Fleet’ that took the NZEF, their horses, and equipment to Egypt in 1914, meeting up with the Australian Imperial Force enroute.
$2.00 Training camp:Training camps such as this one in Canterbury readied troops for the NZEF, destined for Europe (they would instead go to Egypt) before the year’s end.
$2.00 The home front:Karaka Bay, Wellington, in 1914 – Semi-rural, with some modernity, less than half New Zealand’s population prior to World War One was considered urban, a number that would increase to sixty per cent by the war’s end.
$2.50 Letters and stories from Samoa:New Zealand’s first duty in World War One was capturing Samoa from the Germans. Melville Mirfin, who had signed up for the NZEF in the first days of August, travelled to Samoa with 1,385 men, during which he would write many times to his family.
$2.50 Serving abroad – Egypt:By the end of 1914 the first troops of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force had arrived in Egypt for training. For many it was their first time away from New Zealand shores, and they found themselves in front of the Pyramids of Egypt, ready for what was supposed to be the great adventure.