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NZIPP - RSA WWII Veteran Portrait Project

Tony Stewart, NZIPP Project Co-ordinator

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.

NZIPP Veteran Portraits

NZIPP Veteran Portraits

Images kindly provided by the NZIPP (CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0)
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: 

Queensberry Albums

Proof Book, web and printing services

C.R. Kennedy 

Presentation Folders 

Croxley & NZ Post Community Post 

Envelopes Postage

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Displaying 1 - 10 of 1739 records
PhotoFamily nameFirst namesForceWarsService # 
106595AberhartSelwyn HaylockArmyWorld War II, 1939-1945444783, NZ32390 
195396AbeyRonaldAir ForceKorean War, 1950-1953452869 
117069AbrahamsMaurice RolandArmyWorld War II, 1939-194513942 
194878AdairRobin RaymondAir ForceWorld War II, 1939-1945622998, 4311739 
194879AdamGrahamNavyWorld War II, 1939-1945NZ8632 
117075AdamsChauncey Raymond WilliamArmyWorld War II, 1939-194532627 
194880AdamsLeslie RichardAir ForceWorld War II, 1939-1945NZ43515 
C120586AdlingtonJohn MurrayArmyWorld War II, 1939-1945440203 
C133949AffleckVerdun Henry JamesArmyWorld War II, 1939-19458383 
194881AffordRichmondAir ForceWorld War II, 1939-1945448059 

Contributing Photographers

Justin Aitken Megan Graham Jane Nelson
Paul Alsop Kerry Grant Lydia Nimmo
Penny Aspin Tracey Grant Stewart Nimmo
Adrian Barrett Amber Griffin Chris Parker
Myra Bayly Russell Hamlet Angela Penn
Jody Beattie Lisa Harrington Shelley Povey
Sarah Beaufoy Luci Harrison Jen Rayment
Carmen Bird Matthew Hawk Lissa Reyden
Claire Birks Chris Hill Heather Richardson
Jason Blair Kim Howells Tracey Robinson
Kevin Bone Matt Hunt Janine Ross-Johnstone
Brad Boniface Steve Hussey Neil Rutherfurd
Belinda Bradley Nicola Inglis Amy Schulz
Andy Brown Bill Irwin Annette Scullion
Maria Buhrkuhl Aliah Jan Marama Shearer
Esther Bunning Harry Janssen Summer Shimizu
Jess Burgess Helen Jones Jenny Siaosi
Juliette Capaldi Matt Jordan Laura Smith 
Tony Carter Sacha Kahaki Nikki South
Andrea Chalmers Peter Kampenhout Tracy Stamatakos
Jeffery Chan Rachael Kelly Emma Steiner
Dan Childs Jacki Key Ann Worth Stephenson
Kate Christie Colleen Kiddie Tony Stewart
Moira Clark Alex Kim Margaritha Straw
Paul Conroy Mike Langford Kara Tait
Kaye Davis Rory Laubscher Melissa Thorburn
Lester de Vere Matt Leamy Nicola Topping
Gino Demeer Brett Lees Chris Traill
Sean Dick Ron Lindsay Bob Tulloch
Chris Dillon Richard Linton Jan Maree Vodanovich
Rochelle Dillon Clinton Lloyd Mel Waite
Alan Dove Kate MacPherson Yvonne Walker
Larissa Drysdale Andrea Mahy Rebecca Watson
Janyne Fletcher Tina McGregor Amanda Wignell
Karyn Flett Anthony McKee Nicola Wilhelmsen
Lynda Forrest Mark McKeown Ilan Wittenberg
Tony Gatman Erin McLean Richard Wood
Jackie Gay Jason Naylor Terry Wreford-Hann
Stephen Goodenough   Phil Yeo


Lest We Forget


Cite this article

Stewart, Tony. NZIPP - RSA WWII Veteran Portrait Project. Auckland War Memorial Museum - Tāmaki Paenga Hira. First published: 22 January 2021. Updated: 12 April 2021.