Meet some of the faces of
New Zealand’s War in the Air
Photographed as they graduated pilot training, as newly-enlisted recruits bound for overseas service, or just as they were, getting on with war work - these photographs tell their story.
Photography played a very important, personal role in New Zealanders’ experience of the First World War. Taking photographs was part of the preparation for war: departing airmen arranged for their portraits to be taken for their families and loved ones, and once on active service, used photography to record their wartime experiences. Photographs were practical and portable, and made perfect mementos.
In this small selection alone, you will find New Zealanders from a variety of social backgrounds, including both rural and urban upbringings. New Zealand’s Great War airmen included former school teachers, farmers, mechanics, lawyers, and insurance clerks – even a bee keeper! While not all saw active service during the war, they trained in a wide range of trades and contributed to the war effort across theatres, from the Western Front to the Middle East.
On display in the Caldwell Gallery, Level 1.