New Zealand during World War 1
The military history of New Zealand during World War I began in August 1914.
When Britain 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; and the Governor (the Earl of Liverpool) announced that New Zealand was at war with Germany from the steps of Parliament on 5 August.
The total number of New Zealand troops and nurses to serve overseas in 1914–18, 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 New Zealand Expeditionary Force, fighting in the Gallipoli Campaign and on the Western Front.
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.
The First World War saw Māori soldiers serve for the first time in a major conflict with the New Zealand Army (although a number had fought in the Second Boer War when New Zealand recruiters chose to ignore British military policy of the time of disallowing ‘native’ soldiers).
A contingent took part in the Gallipoli campaign and later served with distinction on the Western Front as part of the New Zealand (Māori) Pioneer Battalion.
2688 Māori and 346 Pacific islanders, including 150 Niueans, served with New Zealand forces in total.