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South African War Website

A hundred years ago today over 200 New Zealand soldiers sailed to fight for the British Empire in the South African War. The New Zealand experience of the War at home and in South Africa is captured in a new on-line exhibition created by the Heritage Group of the Department of Internal Affairs.(

An exhibition of memorabilia from the National Archives collection is also on display at the National Archives in Mulgrave Street, Wellington.

Through photographs - many of which are previously unpublished - drawings, letters and text, the NZ exhibition shows the conditions New Zealand troops and nurses endured during the war.

A major feature of the on-line exhibition is a fully-searchable database of all members of the New Zealand contingents who served in the War. It also includes a complete transcript of a newspaper produced by soldiers on the ship Gymeric, while en route to South Africa.

Forty thousand people waved the troops goodbye from Wellington’s Queen’s Wharf on October 21, 1899. During the next four years, more than 6000 troops, nurses and teachers left for the war; 230 New Zealand soldiers died in the conflict that has been overshadowed by two World Wars.

In New Zealand, the war led to a patriotic fervour. The exhibition records this through poetry and music, including renditions of the songs The Boers Have Got My Daddy and Boys of the Southern Cross.

The web site exhibition is one of the many events organised by the Heritage Group to mark the centenary of the South African War

Visit the web site on

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