During WWI, monthly conscription ballots were drawn between November 1916 and October 1918 to make up for a shortfall in numbers volunteering for the army. History curator Kirstie Ross shares the stories of two Wellingtonians whose names were selected in the fourth ballot. On 13 February 1917, 100 years ago, marblesRead more

History curator Kirstie Ross explores the stories of four ‘Berry Boys’ who were conscripted in the first and second conscription ballots 100 years ago. In 1916, after two years of fighting, it was clear that New Zealanders’ loyalty to ‘King and Country’ was competing with other concerns – and fewerRead more

This photograph below was lost the moment it was taken in 1929 or 1930. Mary Sporle, known as Dolly, proudly showed off her son Leslie for the camera at Wellington’s Berry & Co. studio with the intention of giving his grandparents a photograph of him. But her family believes she never returned toRead more

This family portrait has long been a favourite amongst the Te Papa History team. It stands out amongst the many Berry & Co soldier portraits due to the sitters’ magnificent winter dress. Draped in heavy woollen coats and luxurious furs, it is the one portrait in the collection that powerfully conveys a season. The portrait is simply inscribed ‘Brown’. AsRead more

Te Papa was thrilled to work with Production Shed TV in 2013 and 2014 on a documentary inspired by the Berry & Co. soldier portraits held in the museum’s collection. The documentary, which was originally produced for TVNZ,  features the stories of six soldiers depicted in the collection. This June, you have the opportunity to seeRead more

Guest blogger and long-serving, recently retired Te Papa history curator Michael Fitzgerald introduces the Battle of the Somme, and one man who survived the ferocious fighting that occurred there 100 years ago and another – one of Te Papa’s ‘Berry Boys’ – who lost his life. As visitors leave Gallipoli:Read more

Berry Boys exhibition on level 4 April-October 2014

Four of Te Papa’s ‘Berry Boys’ were amongst the 8500 men who left with the Main Body of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force on 16 October 1914. These men, in their fresh uniforms, were draper George Hornig (above, in a photo taken in 1912), cabinetmaker Roy Houchen, and Frank Barber, fromRead more

This coming August marks a climax of Te Papa’s Berry Boys soldier identification project, with the screening of a documentary on seven of the soldiers on TVNZ in early August (details to come), and the launch of Berry Boys: Portraits of First World War Soldiers and Families by Te Papa Press. The latter bringsRead more

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 12Read more

 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 inRead more