Posts categorized as Conflict and Identity

William Gemmell: WWI amputee postively identified

Te Papa holds 28 sepia-toned photographs taken of New Zealand servicemen who were wounded during World War I. None of the men in these photographs are identified. However, thanks to Julie Gemmell of Waikouaiti, we now know that one of the men in two of these photos is William Clement Gemmell, Julie’s grandfather. In the photograph above,… Read more »

The image above is my favourite from a WWI album with photos by NZ soldier Herbert (Bert) Green. The group seems just perfectly composed. There is also the sense of it being two photographs somehow layered together, with another scene unfolding quite independently behind the soldiers. The way the hat of the man at right veers towards… Read more »

German Samoa captured by New Zealand Troops – 29 August 1914

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Today marks the 100th anniversary of the occupation of Samoa by New Zealand troops. It was the first military action of New Zealanders in the first world war. This postcard titled ’German War Flag captured at Samoa by New Zealand Expeditionary Force’ is one of a small group of items at Te Papa that reference… Read more »

WWI relics: Authors’ favourites from Holding on to Home revealed

What is a relic of World War I? Is it a lemon squeezer hat, a fundraising tapestry, a knitting pattern or an Egyptian cigarette souvenired by a soldier? This is a question at the heart of Holding on to Home which Te Papa Press launched last Thursday. With more than 300 images, this new book broadens… Read more »

Māori at Gallipoli – TedX talk “Forgotten grandfathers: Maori men of WW1″

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Kia ora koutou Last month I gave a talk at a TedX conference in Tauranga where I discussed some of the research I’ve undertaken as part of our exhibition development project here for an exhibition about Gallipoli (due to open April next year at Te Papa). I’ve been very busy assembling potential Māori content for that… Read more »

Berry Cover Boys

 Gerald Gower (left) and Alfred Featherston Gower (right) are the two brothers who grace rather strikingly the cover of Berry Boys: Portraits of First World War Soldiers and Families by Michael Fitzgerald and Claire Regnault. The studio paraphernalia you see in the image above would have been cropped out in prints made from the original… Read more »

Limbless, but not jobless or hopeless

  ‘Limbie’ is a word you don’t hear today. It seems a bit blunt to us now but, during and after World War I, it was an acceptable, informal term used to describe a limbless soldier – an ex-serviceman who lost a limb in the conflict. (Over 1000 New Zealand soldiers had to have limbs… Read more »

Girl Peace Scouts: a prophylactic against hoydenish romps

The Girl Peace Scout movement was founded in New Zealand by Lieutenant Colonel David Cossgrove in 1908, after his daughters expressed interest in becoming scouts – that is they were somewhat peeved that their brothers were having all the fun. Based in Christchurch, Cossgrove had been responsible for translating Robert Baden-Powell’s Scouting for Boys into… Read more »

Berry Boys: First in, first served

Early enlister John Jessen (above) was the first of the soldiers photographed by Berry & Co to enlist for service. The 23-year-old signed up on 8 August 1914, just two days after the Defence Department invited single men between the ages of 20 and 35, weighing not more than 12 stone (76kg), to volunteer for… Read more »