Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry says New Zealand’s First World War stories have been brought to life through a series of short animated videos, with the first released today.

“The videos highlight the different perspectives and experiences of New Zealanders during the war - from willing participants and conscientious objectors, to the destruction seen on the Western Front, to the longing for home and loved ones,” Ms Barry says.

“In the lead up to Anzac Day, WW100 – the First World War Centenary Programme - is releasing five animated videos exploring personal stories from Ngā Tapuwae (the footsteps) New Zealand First World War Trails.”

“I offered to narrate the captivating personal stories for Ngā Tapuwae Western Front in memory of my grandfather - as I did for Ngā Tapuwae Gallipoli trails. More than 12,400 New Zealanders lost their lives in the horrific conditions of the Western Front and the new video series brings another dimension to these moving stories.”

“The first video introduces us to the men and women whose experiences are explored in the video series and encourages us to follow in their footsteps.”

Through the videos we meet: 

James Williamson and Mark Briggs. This video highlights the contrast in experiences between those soldiers who were determined and willing to fight and the hardship endured by the conscientious objectors who were forced to go to war. John A Lee and Vieira Currie. While destruction surrounded those at war, this video shows the glimmers of beauty that shone through in the landscapes and architecture of foreign lands. Ellen Knight (a mother of soldiers) and Chaplain Hēnare Te Wainohu. This video expresses the absence felt by all during the war - both people at home and those serving offshore.

The final video wraps up the series and invites viewers to delve deeper into New Zealand’s First World War story.

To watch the first video in the series, visit

To explore Ngā Tapuwae New Zealand First World War Trails visit

To find out more about the WW100 programme, visit

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