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World War One (New Zealand involvement)

17 Jun 2016

Our Subjects / Ā Mātou Kaupapa:
History, Society and culture

Why did New Zealand get involved in World War One?

LEVEL: Intermediate / Secondary

World War One lasted from 1914 till 1918, and during this time New Zealand's involvement with the war was huge. New Zealand, as part of the British Empire, declared war on Germany in August 1914. World War One was also known as the First World War, the Great War, and the 'war to end all wars'.

There were several different reasons why New Zealand became involved in World War One. One of the best websites to use to find out about these reasons is Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New ZealandIf we scroll down to the bottom of the page we can see that the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well-researched and reliable. Follow this path to find the information:

  1. From the homepage, click on Government and Nation.
  2. Next choose the heading War and Defence. 
  3. Now, click on First World War.

This page is a good summary of New Zealand's involvement in the war, but if you want more information, click the link that says 'Read the full story'. We especially like the page 'Origins', because this introduces ideas about why New Zealand entered the war and how we did it.

Another page from Te Ara that has valuable information is Ngā pakanga ki tawahi - Māori and overseas wars. This talks about the Māori perspective of the war, and why Māori became involved in the war.

NZHistory is also an excellent website for info about New Zealand history. You can select 'impact of war' or 'New Zealand at war' from the homepage, this will take you to the War and Society page where there is heaps of info about all the different wars New Zealand has been involved in, including the First World War. For information about New Zealand's involvement, click on 'New Zealand goes to War' and then go to the overview section. There is some very useful information on page three, 'preparing for war'.

HOT TIP: Both Te Ara and NZHistory are much easier to look at when using browsers such as Google Chrome or Firefox.

The School Journal is a collection of resources supported by the Ministry of Education for New Zealand school students. Their issues from June 2014 contain lots of information about the First World War that are worth exploring. The articles cover everything from timelines to how World War One affected children in New Zealand, to the animal mascots of the war! You can either download pdfs of the entire Journal or pdfs of the article you are interested in.

HOT TIP: We like these sites because they’re either from a government organisation (Ministry or Council) OR a reputable organisation. You can often tell this by their web address - they may have either .org or .govt in their address - or from the information at the bottom of the home page. They’re also New Zealand sites, so relevant for us.

Learning about the British Empire might help you understand more about the reasons why New Zealand went to war. To find a useful overview of the British Empire, we like the BBC, which has a page dedicated to information about World War One for schools. There is a whole section looking at '100 years ago: my country', where you will find a page called 'causes of war and the war years'. 

Don't forget to check out our other ManyAnswers pages about World War One.

no info
isareal, papakura kete toung

Sorry you didn't find it useful isareal :( There is heaps of info on these sites about how NZ was involved in World War I.
If you'd like some help finding information, try chatting with a librarian on They're available Monday to Friday 1-6pm and are very happy to help with questions like this. :) All the best with your project!
Sargia, AnyQuestions

How did you come to no about these librarians ?
Shevon, Onehunga primary school

Do have any information about the word war 1 because I want some facts about it
Kelly, Blockhouse bay intermediate

Kia ora Shevon! AnyQuestions is our sister-site, so we know the librarians there :)
Hi Kelly! The sites on this page should give you lots of facts about World War One, but you could also look at our entry that's particularly about the war: If you can't find what you're looking for, go to AnyQuestions ( 1-6pm Monday to Friday and a librarian can help you online :)
Have fun with your projects guys!!
Sargia, AnyQuestions

There's not much information :(
Maddy, Albany Junior High School

Kia ora Maddy! The sites included here are the best we could find for info about New Zealand and World War One :) I'm afraid there is often more information about other countries involved (like the United Kingdom) than about New Zealand. If you'd like some help finding information, log on to anytime Monday to Friday 1-6pm and a librarian can help you online :) All the best with your project!!
Sargia, AnyQuestions

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