NZIPP - RSA WWII Veteran Portrait Project
Online Cenotaph has have proudly collaborated with the New Zealand Institute of Photographers (NZIPP) to match portraits of New Zealand veterans to more than 1,600 Online Cenotaph records. You can view these records on our NZIPP Popular Search . This taonga is shared here with you, for personal reference, using the Creative Common licence CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0. Please note this project has now closed.
Tony Stewart, NZIPP Project Co-ordinator shares the story of how this important photographic project came about.
Like many good ideas, this one started small. It was a casual discussion, conceived with a throw away remark over a beer. Chris Traill, a New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography Inc (NZIPP) member from Auckland, happened to mention how good it would be if NZIPP photographed returned service personnel. A good will project if you like, to showcase professional photography in a digital age, and recognise the valuable service that these people have made to our country. As a result, this project was initiated, and developed into what you see in print here, featuring aprox. 2000 veterans. Well, that is the short version! There were various discussions, a lot of contributing ideas, and thousands of hours of volunteer labour that made this actually happen. The Australian Institute of Professional Photography saw merit in the idea, and initiated an equivalent project in Australia soon after.
From dawn on the 25th April 2014, members of NZIPP (assisted by a handful of interested non members) set out to all areas of New Zealand to photograph known WWII veterans. On that day, and many months thereafter, NZIPP photographers travelled to remote parts of the country, creating portraits at local RSA’s, in family houses, and rest homes. In fact, anywhere that veterans could be found. The project grew, and word spread thanks to both the public and media interest. So much so, that photographs were taken for nearly three years after that initial ANZAC Day roll out. (It has since closed).
It is with immense pride that this collection has been gifted to the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services’ Association, & Auckland War Memorial Museum. Our wish is that these portraits, through exhibitions and installations, will immortalise the courageous contribution these people made for our country. Since initiating this project in 2014, we have lost many of the veterans featured in this collection, some only weeks after their portrait was taken. With ages well into the nineties, we realised we managed to pull off something pretty incredible - in the nick of time. For if left for even a few more years, we would not have access to this generation.
This project has served many more people, in many more ways than we ever envisaged. Some of our most enthusiastic project photographers have been our younger members, born to a generation not knowing the sacrifice that their (great) grandparents made. The bond these members shared with veterans was especially tender. It has brought communities together. It has given pride to many families, seeing their fathers, mothers, and grandparents stand proud in old age. In some cases this was very literal, when some veterans could stand only briefly, with their medals proudly clasped, before retiring back to their hospital bed, withered with the ravishes of old age.
It has reached out to some people in their final years, who have otherwise been forgotten, or had distanced themselves from any traditional reflection of service. Especially pertinent for one veteran I met, whose service record with ‘Z Force’ in the Pacific was embargoed until very recent time. Such secrecy denied him many years of fellowship with fellow veterans, who never even knew he served overseas.
While many people have been part of this project, we would like to especially acknowledge Anthony McKee for first implementing the project roll out, as well as Terry Wreford-Hann for overseeing the next stage. Regional Chairpeople from each NZIPP region dutifully managed an army of photographers. The massive task of centralised post production lay with Stephen Goodenough, who diligently assembled the entire collection you see here. Stephen was dutifully aided by Richard Linton and Kate Christie in the equally massive task of collating courtesy prints that were posted to each veteran. In addition we would like to thank Kaye Farmer and David Moger from the RNZRSA at the time of the project, and all local RSA’s for their immense help in communicating the project to WWII veterans. Most of all, we would like to thank our contributing photographers, all 116 of them. They are a passionate and creative bunch, who care deeply about their community. Many have travelled long distances, and given up countless hours, without any more than a cup of tea, to produce the photographs you see here! A genuine spirit of giving has encompassed this entire project.
A project of this size has also only been possible with the help from the following sponsors:
Proof Book, web and printing services
Croxley & NZ Post Community Post
|Aberhart||Selwyn Haylock||Army||World War II, 1939-1945||444783, NZ32390||
|Abey||Ronald||Air Force||Korean War, 1950-1953||452869||
|Abrahams||Maurice Roland||Army||World War II, 1939-1945||13942||
|Adair||Robin Raymond||Air Force||World War II, 1939-1945||622998, 4311739||
|Adam||Graham||Navy||World War II, 1939-1945||NZ8632||
|Adams||Chauncey Raymond William||Army||World War II, 1939-1945||32627||
|Adams||Leslie Richard||Air Force||World War II, 1939-1945||NZ43515||
|Adlington||John Murray||Army||World War II, 1939-1945||440203||
|Affleck||Verdun Henry James||Army||World War II, 1939-1945||8383||
|Afford||Richmond||Air Force||World War II, 1939-1945||448059||
||Ann Worth Stephenson
|Lester de Vere
||Jan Maree Vodanovich
Lest We Forget
Cite this article
NZIPP - RSA WWII Veteran Portrait Project. Auckland War Memorial Museum - Tāmaki Paenga Hira. First published: 22 January 2021. Updated: 12 April 2021.