First World War resource guide for schools


About this guide
First World War resources
Visiting the National Library of New Zealand in Wellington
National Library online resources
Other New Zealand online resources
Overseas First World War sites
Places to visit
Classroom ideas
Articles and media stories
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About this guide

Students and teachers: when you’re looking for quality online information about the First World War and its centenary, we invite you to explore the online resources below. You’ll find links to a wide range of items including images, articles, websites and databases. In total they detail the many perspectives of New Zealand’s involvement in the war.

First World War resources

The National Library offers teachers and students access to a vast range of quality resources to support your First World War research needs, including books, DVDs, articles, images and online content including a wide range of digitised primary source material. Schools can also request free copies of articles in New Zealand magazines and newspapers (since 1987) relating to the First World War using Index New Zealand. See here for schools information.

Visiting the National Library of New Zealand in Wellington

Education Workshops 

Learn more about the First World War by requesting an education workshop at the National Library in Wellington. Our workshops enable you and your students to see what's new, learn the basics of research, or focus on a specific topic.

We also welcome the opportunity to visit Wellington schools to introduce teachers to a free First World War offer called In Our Own Voice at the National Library, Wellington.  This includes:
• a free publication that explores the First World War.
• a free schools’ education programme at the National Library, Wellington.
• use of our First World War display space for students to explore. The space includes First World War images and oral histories of New Zealand soldiers.

For further details, please contact Anna Tiaki at or on 474 3018 or 021 875 563

General reading room

On the first floor you can visit the New Zealand Collection in our General Reading Room. This collection holds books about New Zealand’s involvement in the war. There is also the Pictorial Collection where you can find, photocopy or order images connected with the First World War.

The National Library Wellington also has relevant First World War related e-resources available onsite for public use such as: the British Newspaper Archive, Times Digital Archive, Proquest historical newspapers, Empire Online, World History in Context, First World War Personal Experiences and Britannica Online.


National Library WW100 initiatives include public programmes linked to a First World War display in the Turnbull Gallery titled, In our own voice. 

Anzac landing
The landing at Anzac; April 25th, 1915, by Charles Dixon,1915. Alexander Turnbull Library. D-017-010

National Library online resources

A number of National Library websites hold or link to a range of valuable New Zealand First World War related resources. These include:

  1. AnyQuestions - This online schoolwork help is available to students across the country between1pm and 6pm Monday to Friday. Log on and chat with a research librarian to help source online information about your First World War question. ManyAnswers provides comprehensive answers to New Zealand student’s research questions about the war. Tip: To discover information on this homework site use search terms like World War One and Anzac.
  2. Digital New Zealand - Use DNZ to search for First World War related material (both historic and contemporary) across New Zealand’s major digital collections. You can also view, create and share topic sets of war related items. Tip: Use the following general key words to begin your search, First World War, or World War One. You can also use the filters to narrow your results.
  3. EPIC - Several EPIC databases provide extensive information on the First World War suitable for both students and teachers. The following databases hold many reference and primary sources, articles and multimedia that are not on the free internet: Australia/ New Zealand Reference CentreBritannica School (Covers Primary, Middle and Secondary levels) and World History In Context. To use the EPIC databases a school log-on and password is required.)
  4. First World War Research Guide - This comprehensive guide to Alexander Turnbull Library and National Library of New Zealand collections covers First World War material and also links to relevant external sources. Suitable for teachers and senior secondary school students.
  5. Services to Schools High Interest Topics The HITs section includes selected online resources on Anzac and Anzac day, Gallipoli, New Zealand World War One battles, and New Zealand and Samoa in the First World War.
  6. National Library website - Here you can access  thousands of digitised First World War items. Use a broad search first to see what’s available. Try keywords like World War One, and Great War. For events and people use specific keywords such as Gallipoli, Passchendaele, or Colonel Malone. Tip:  When your search results are returned click View Gallery if you wish to limit your results to images.
  7. Papers Past - Discover more than two million pages of digitised New Zealand newspapers published between 1839 and 1945. Many include articles covering the war period 1914 – 1918.
  8. Services to Schools primary sources galleries - The Anzac gallery has a selection of primary sources relating to New Zealand’s involvement in the First World War and ongoing Anzac commemorations. While the New Zealand involvement in the First World War Gallery focuses on 1914 to 1919 when troops returned home and peace celebrations were held throughout New Zealand (in July). Also included on the site you will find information and guides on primary sources – what they are and how to use them.

Other New Zealand online resources

   For First World War curriculum related material use the Ministry of Education's First World War Inquiry guides and resources website.  This site has made available First World War inquiry guides (English medium) and resource packs (Māori medium) to support  students in years 1 to 13 to meet achievement objectives across The New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa.

   You can also explore the following New Zealand websites for a wide selection of information and resources relating to New Zealand and the First World War.

  1. All that remains - Presents objects from New Zealand museums relating to New Zealand’s and the First World War, from weapons to silk embroidered postcards.
  2. Anzac Govt - A guide to the significance of Anzac Day for New Zealanders.
  3. Archives New Zealand: Discover World War One - This WW1 landing page lets you search the Archives New Zealand database for the personnel files of New Zealanders serving in World War One. Other First World War resources available include the New Zealand War Art Collection.
  4. Auckland Libraries - Auckland Libraries hold a photographic collection by Herman John Schmidt featuring First World War soldier portraits.
  5. Auckland War Memorial: Cenotaph database - Auckland War Memorial Museum’s cenotaph database allows you to search for information about New Zealand men and woman who served during the First World War.
  6. Christchurch City Libraries - Offers a range of digitised First World War items including letters, diaries, poems and posters.
  7. Fields of Remembrance - The Fields of Remembrance Trust in association with the Ministry of Education are  sending out to New Zealand schools (in March 2015) a kit containing 30 small white crosses  enabling them to commemorate the men and women who died for New Zealand in the First World War.
  8. First World War in maps - New Zealand History online have arranged all First World War maps in one place on a single page. You can click on each map for fuller contextual information. Includes: campaign maps, maps of countries involved in the First World War and cemetery maps (New Zealand and overseas) of personnel who died in or served during the First World War.
  9. First World War Infographics - This infographic presents key information about the war and its impact from a New Zealand perspective. For a wider international view see also this useful infographic about Commonwealth troops who died in the various WW1 battles. Also includes a timeline.
  10. Letters from Hell: Gallipoli heroes in their own words - “The 20th century Anzac battles fought on the Gallipoli Peninsula were documented by the ordinary soldiers in hundreds of letters published in the Herald and other newspapers after being passed on by the families of the men.”
  11. New Zealand and the First World War - This NZHistory site provides comprehensive information on New Zealand's involvement in the First World War and aftermath. It also includes an excellent outline resource that covers researching New Zealand soldiers in the First World War.
  12. The New Zealand Electronic Text Collection - This collection provides over 80 digitised First World War books and other related materials, including the histories of the Canterbury, Wellington, and Auckland Mounted Rifles and regiments, as well as The New Zealanders at Gallipoli and much more.
  13. New Zealand WW100 - The major WW100 commemoration site that shares and promotes New Zealand First World War centenary projects and activities, whether national, community-based or personal. The site includes: Discover WW1 - articles about aspects of the First World War; a New Zealand at War Timeline, and Life 100 years ago - Daily quotes from diaries, letters, newspapers shared exactly 100 years later through Twitter, Facebook or the website.
  14. Passchendaele Society - "On the 12th of October 1917, 846 young New Zealanders were killed in the first four hours of the Battle of Passchendaele in Belgium."
  15. Pukeahu National War Memorial Park - Reveals the story of the redeveloped Pukeahu National War Memorial Park (in Wellington) through four virtual field trips run for New Zealand schools. Includes information about the Arras tunnel, and the park  Links to videos and other teaching resources are included.
  16. Te Ara First World War - Discover comprehensive information about the First World War from the online encyclopaedia Te Ara.
  17. Te Papa Tongarewa - Visit the Museum of New Zealand’s website to discover relevant exhibitions and search for collection items relating to the First World War including photographs, maps, medals and other war objects.
  18. Voices Against War - This site investigates some of the stories of young Canterbury men who chose not to go to the First World War because of their beliefs. As a result many ended up in prison.
  19. Walk with an ANZAC Educational Resource -“Walking With An Anzac is an educational project that focuses on supporting NZ students and their teachers to actively use the online records of First World War Soldiers from their local community.”
  20. The Anzacs of Gallipoli- A  website that investigates Anzac soldiers and their daily life at Gallipoli with the aim of engaging students. The site includes background information, images and a range of great learning activities
  21. The War to End all Wars - Radio New Zealand presents a comprehensive look at the First World War from a New Zealand perspective. Includes oral history excerpts (War Report) and an ANZAC interactive with a current focus on Gallipoli.
  22. WW100 Sites & sources - A selection of sites and sources for learning about the history of the First World War from a New Zealand perspective. Includes links to guides, fact       sheets and activities for teachers.
  23.  WW100 Teaching Resource -This comprehensive First World War resource was developed by Christchurch City Libraries. It is designed for teachers and focuses largely on Canterbury’s involvement in the war. Suitable for year 7 – 10 students  the teaching resource also includes extensive e-resources and book lists.

      Overseas First World War sites

  1. Australian War Museum - The Australian War Memorial combines a shrine, a world-class museum, an extensive archive and online information covering Australia’s role in the First World War.
  2. BBC World War One - The BBC presents comprehensive information on the First World War including interactive guides, a virtual tour of a World War One trench and also an animation of army movements from 1914 through 1918.
    Commonwealth War Dead - Presents an infographic view of the death toll of Commonwealth soldiers during the First World War. The data is based on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission records from August 4th 1914 - November 11th 1918.
  3. Encyclopedia of the First World War is an international free online encyclopedia. Its extensive content comes from more than 1,000 authors, editors and experts across fifty countries. New Zealand content is included.
  4. Memoirs & Diaries - Presents a selection of excerpts from diaries of First World War soldiers. Also includes a number of personal narratives relating to specific aspects of thewar.
  5. First World War Centenary - The UK’s First World War Centenary site offers a range of research guides and a great list of links to other World War One sites under the Research resources page.
  6. Gallipoli Association - This association commemorates and keeps alive the memory of the Dardanelles-Gallipoli campaign of 1915-16, and provides information on the campaign.
  7. Imperial War Museums- To mark the First World War Centenary, Imperial War Museums has created Lives of the First World War with the aim of bringing together material from families, museums, libraries and archive collections from around the world.
  8. The Library of Congress web guide - A guide to World War 1 materials presents links to a number of online collections including a wide range of First World War related primary sources. A Teachers’ page provides links to selected resources outlining reasons behind the US involvement in the First World War.
  9. The National Archives - A global view. This excellent map provides both a visual and written outline and overview of those countries (and empires) that took part in the First World War.
  10. Spartacus Educational - In addition to their print resource, The Spartacus encyclopedia, the Spartacus Educational website contains an extensive range of First World War topics including: Outbreak of war, Important battles, Life in the trenches, Women at war, War poets, and also First World War statistics.
    The Long, Long Trail - A source of information about the order of battle for the British Army in the First World War. Includes sections on how to research a soldier, the battles, battlefields and more.
  11. Trove - Search across the digitised collections of Australia’s cultural institutions (including the Australian National Library) to discover online resources related to the First World War and ANZACs.
  12. World War One Battlefields - Gives information about the major First World War battlefields of the Western Front.
  13. World War One Diaries - The State Library New South Wales holds over 500 First World War diary and letter collections. Many of these have been transcribed so that you can easily follow the handwritten entries. 
  14. WW1 Poetry Archive - This Poetry Digital Archive holds over 7000 items of text, images, and video relating to First World War poetry.

Anzac Day service, Auckland Domain, by unknown photographer for the Free Lance, 1955.
Anzac Day service, Auckland Domain, by unknown photographer for the Free Lance, 1955. Alexander Turnbull Library. 1/2-068204-F

Places to visit

Here is a list of prominent places to visit during the commemoration of the First World War. All these institutions hold or will be mounting significant war related content, displays and exhibitions. Please check their websites for more details.

  1. Auckland War Memorial Museum - This museum is a war memorial for Auckland, and features dynamic exhibitions programme and houses significant cultural and military history collections.

  2. MOTAT - As New Zealand's biggest technology museum, MOTAT showcases many interactive and working exhibits and their role in New Zealand’s social history.

  3. National Army Museum - New Zealand’s most significant military museum boasts a wide range of New Zealand related military material, from tanks to extensive war related archive material.

  4. Te Papa - Our national museum, Te Papa is based in Wellington and holds significant collections featuring New Zealand’s natural and cultural history. Currently it is displaying Gallipoli: The scale of our war, a free exhibition covering the Gallipoli campaign and co-produced by Weta Workshops.

  5. Armistice in Cambridge 2014 - Each year Armistice in Cambridge commemorates the signing of the Armistice that ended the First World War. Included are displays of militaria and battle re-enactments. In 2014 Armistice in Cambridge is planning to build a replica World War One trench system at Lake Karapiro.

  6. The National War Memorial - The National War Memorial is located in Wellington and commemorates all those New Zealanders who sacrificed their lives while fighting overseas. Currently undergoing earthquake strengthening, it is not open for school visits throughout 2014 but will be open for visits by April 2015.

  7. Archives New Zealand Research Guide 3: War (PDF) - This guide details what is held in Archives New Zealand in relation to war. It is organised by period and war, focusing mostly on the Army and includes the First World War 1914-1918.

  8. Dominion Museum Building, Wellington. - Is home to a world-class First World War commemorative exhibition, developed by Sir Peter Jackson, for the duration of  the centenary period.

  9. Pukeahu National War Memorial Park - Visit our National War Memorial and park, in Wellington. Information about the park is provided on the site. 


  1. A global guide to the First World War - “Ten historians from 10 countries give a brief history of the First World War  through a global lens.” Includes video, slideshows and interactive component.
  2. Keep calm and carry on. How can we deal with conflict? - This excellent video showcases a whole school inquiry from Sylvia Park School. Using the primary First World War inquiry guides as a base the school investigates how we deal with conflict. 
  3. Monash University: 100 Stories project - This Monash University (Australia) project captures Australian memories of World War that are largely unknown. These poignant stories relate not only to the experiences of men and women serving during the war, but also to the war's impact on families and communities long after the Armistice was signed. Includes teaching resources.
  4. NZ First World War footage on DigitalNZ - A DigitalNZ set of film footage relating New Zealand soldiers.
  5. NZ On Screen - NZ On Screen has a great collection of New Zealand documentaries, films and programmes featuring Anzac Day, the First World War and other military-related programmes.
  6. Troops departing New Zealand, 1914 and 1915 - A unique video featuring New Zealand troops departing for World War One.
  7. War Story - War Story is a series of videos covering a range of New Zealand WW1 topics. 
  8. WW1 in colour - Watch this series of remastered colour film featuring footage from the First World War. 

Christmas greetings from New Zealand, by Frank Duncan & Co., ca. 1914-1918. Alexander Turnbull Library. Eph-B-POSTCARD-Vol-17-010-1

Classroom ideas

Some classroom ideas include:

  1. Soldiers Food - Hardtack, also known as ‘Anzac tile’ and ‘Concrete macaroon’ used a simple biscuit recipe of flour, water and salt. It was able to be stored and kept for lengthy periods. The Australian War Memorial has an excellent recipe for making hardtack as well as follow-up education activities. Also look at this excellent blog post on the “real” ANZAC biscuits sent to New Zealand troops overseas, Includes original and adapted recipes

  2. Visit your community war memorial - Discover your local war memorial by first visiting NZ History's New Zealand memorials register map.

  3. Pukeahu National War Memorial Park - Visit our National War Memorial and park, in Wellington. Information about educational programmes is provided on the site. 

  4. National WW1 activities and projects - Visit the WW100 site to see what local initiatives will be held in your area.

  5. NZ History online - This site has a number of ideas classroom ideas and activities based around Anzac day.


Current national exhibitions worth visiting by schools include:

  1. The Great War Exhibition - The Great War Exhibition was established by Sir Peter Jackson and has a New Zealand focus. It is located  in the old Dominion Museum Building, above Pukeahu  National War Memorial Park in Wellington. 
  2. Te Papa – Gallipoli Exhibition- This dynamic (and free) exhibition at Te Papa in Wellington features some impressive multimedia resources, including eight larger than life models of New Zealanders caught up in the Gallipoli campaign.

Articles and media stories

Here are some interesting media stories relating to New Zealanders and their experience of the First World War overseas and on the home front, both historic and contemporary.

Historic media stories

  1. At Gallipoli - “In a recent letter from Gallipoli, Major Fletcher says that he had received his first wound, although very slight.” Poverty Bay Herald, Volume XLII, Issue 13831, 3 November 1915, Page 9
  2. Evacuation of Gallipoli - A letter in the Nelson Evening Mail from Corporal FC Hammond detailing the Allied evacuation from Gallipoli. Nelson Evening Mail, Volume XLIX, 18 February 1916, Page 4
  3. On the Gallipoli evacuation of Cape Helles - the Turkish story - Presents the Turkish version of the evacuation of Gallipoli. Marlborough Express, Volume L, Issue 12, 15 January 1916, Page 5
  4. Pomeroy’s bullets - The strange case of the ghost, the Zeppelin and a New Zealand farmer’s explosive bullets. Evening Post, Volume CXI, Issue 114, 16 May 1931, Page 13.
  5. White feather - “James Douglas Stark, brave enough to have been recommended for the Victoria Cross…tough enough to have escaped from Le Havre prison, wounded in 37 places, has received the white feather.” Auckland Star, Volume LXXI, Issue 5, 6 January 1940, Page 6

Contemporary media stories

  1. 10 inventions that owe their success to World War One - An article that reveals a very eclectic selection of inventions (from daylight saving to vegetarian sausages) attributable to World War One.
  2. Bess came back - This newspaper article investigates the number of New Zealand horses sent overseas to serve in WW1 and why so few returned to New Zealand.
  3. Blackadder 'denigrates WWI virtues' - Looks at the First World War in the context of the comedy Blackadder goes forth and the role of humour in teaching history.
  4. Britain entering First World War was 'biggest error in modern history' -Outlines the thesis that Britain should have not declared war on Germany in 1914 and thus saved themselves from the "the biggest error in modern history".
  5. Brocton's lost Army 'tribute' excavated- A large scale NZ model of the World War One Messines Ridge sector, has recently been unearthed in England. You can view the original model here.
  6. Germany, I apologise for this sickening avalanche of First World War worship - Discusses the relationship of Germany with the “Festival of war” - the British centenary of the First World War.
  7. Refugee Torty leads an epic life - A Tortoise bought back from Gallipoli by a soldier is still alive. “She's war-wounded, battered and estimated to be well over a century old, but she still turns heads. She's been run over by a gun carriage, stolen and put in a circus, and once made a bolt for freedom that nearly cost her life“.
  8. Viewpoint - 10 big myths about World War One debunked. Exposes ten popular myths surrounding the First World War.

Pioneer Battalion
Pioneer Battalion performing a haka, by Henry Armytage Sanders, 1918. Alexander Turnbull Library. 1/2-013282-G