Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search


Berry Boys: Portraits of WW1 Soldiers and Families

Berry Boys: Portraits of First World War Soldiers and Families

By Michael Fitzgerald and Claire Regnault

This powerful new book offers an evocative snapshot of New Zealanders facing the First World War.

Detective work on the part of Te Papa curators and a heartfelt public response has resulted in this extraordinary new book about soldiers and their families, and the changing face of the First World War.

This August, Te Papa Press is releasing Berry Boys: Portraits of First World War Soldiers and Families, showcasing more than 100 remarkable portraits of First World War servicemen.

The portraits come from the William Berry Collection; more than 3000 glass plate negatives found at a historic building on Wellington’s Cuba Street in the 1980s.

Many of the soldiers who had their portraits taken at the Berry & Co photography studio then left immediately for war. Many are posing with friends and family. But who were they and what In 2011, Te Papa launched its “Berry Boys” identification project. A generous public response and careful research has since seen many of the soldiers named, their stories brought to light, and their descendants traced. In September 2013, TVNZ’s Sunday programme helped to spread the word, reducing the number of unidentified soldiers.

History curator and co-author Michael Fitzgerald says, ‘We have been overwhelmed by the public response from living descendants of the Berry soldiers. The information people have shared with us reflects the powerful emotional response these war stories evoke, even one Berry Boys: Portraits of First World War Soldiers and Families features beautifully reproduced photographs showing the servicemen and their families, alongside their intriguing stories, and information that could help readers identify those who remain a mystery. Fitzgerald’s co-author, History curator Claire Regnault, says ‘Known or unknown, every one of these Berry portraits tells a story.

Fitzgerald undertook intensive research to tell each soldier’s story, reconstructing their lives from digitised army records, newspaper reports and family information. Regnault says, ‘Some of these men died overseas, others lived long after the war and were no doubt changed by it.’

Although the Berry Boys represent only a fraction of the thousands of men who served, they offer a potent snapshot of wartime New Zealand.

The release of Berry Boys: Portraits of First World War Soldiers and Families coincides with the national screening of Production Shed’s new TVNZ documentary, Berry Boys, on Sunday 3 August 2014.

The book is part of Conflict & Identity, Te Papa’s four-year, multi-disciplinary programme of research, discussion and reflection on the dynamics of conflict and its impact on our identity in Aotearoa New Zealand.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: Review - 'I, Daniel Blake' - Ken Loach's Bleak Masterpiece

'I, Daniel Blake' is a bleak masterpiece, a chilling and moving story of two people striking up an unlikely friendship under extremely adverse circumstances. It is both a polemical indictment of a faceless benefits bureaucracy that strips claimants of their humanity by reducing them to mere numbers, and a celebration of the decency and compassion of ordinary people who look out for one another when the state has abandoned them. More>>

Howard Davis: Review - A Girl Named Mo

Moana Ete brought her three-piece band A Girl Named Mo to Wellington's intimate and iconic Bats Theatre last week for a five-night residency. Each show was recorded and filmed live for the release of her debut album 'Platonic/Romantic' on Loop records later this year. More>>

For The Birds: Who Will Be Crowned Bird Of The Year?

The competition involves well-known and enthusiastic New Zealanders acting as ‘campaign managers’ for their favourite birds with many going to great lengths to get New Zealanders to vote for their chosen bird... More>>


  • Greening the Red Zone - Bird of the year heats up: kōtare concedes, backs kea
  • Image Out-Link - Giselle Clarkson on Twitter

  • Gordon Campbell: On Bob Dylan's Nobel (And The Surplus)

    So Bob Dylan has just won the Nobel Prize for… Literature? Wow. I’d be just as happy if he’d won for his work on particle physics (“One Grain of Sand”, “Simple Twist of Fate”) or got the Economics prize for his work on the theory of contracting (“Don’t Think Twice Its Alright”) ... More>>


    Scoop Review Of Books: Whose Goat Was That?

    Mysterious Mysteries of Aro Valley is a sharp, satirical and sometimes downright scary romp through and around that valley in ways that made me question the realities of the places I thought I knew so well. More>>


    NZ On Air TV Funding: More Comedy Comes Out Of The Shadows

    Paranormal Event Response Unit is a series conceived by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi as a TV spin-off from their highly acclaimed feature film What We Do In The Shadows. More>>


    Get More From Scoop



    Search Scoop  
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news