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Cenotaph Stories

  • 80th Anniversary of the Women's Royal New Zealand Naval Service

    By Hannah Pym and Madison Pine

    In celebration of the 80th Anniversary of the establishment of the Women's Royal New Zealand Navy. We have highlighted the many roles of Wrens during the Second World War, and the legacy of their service post-WWII.

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  • World War Voices

    By Sarah Johnston
    Sound History Researcher (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Rākaipaaka)

    During the Second World War the National Broadcasting Service Mobile Unit recorded interviews and reports about the fighting and the day-to-day business of war, as well as thousands of simple messages home from servicemen – and a few women. Sound History Researcher, Sarah Johnston explores their stories.

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  • May Palmer

    By Georgina White
    Curator, Cenotaph Galleries

    Determined to offer her services during the First World War, Nurse May Palmer travelled from Wellington to France, where she joined the French Red Cross, nursing in Hospitals in Northern France and Belgium. Here is the story of May Palmer a truly remarkable nurse.

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  • 'ATA-Girls': The Fab Five of New Zealand Aviation

    Dr Gabrielle Fortune
    Historian

    They were called 'ATA-girls' (attagirls) female pilots who served with the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) during the Second World War. During the war 168 women served with the ATA, including five New Zealand Women who paid their own way to England for a chance to fly.

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  • Anzac Day 2021

    This year we highlight the contributions made by servicewomen in World War II and after. 2021 marks two significant anniversaries involving servicewomen: the establishment of the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (formed 16 January 1941) and the landing in Japan of the main body of Jayforce (March 1946). The legacy left by these women paved the way for the thousands of women serving today.

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  • Jayforce: 75 Years On

    By Gail Romano
    Associate Curator, History

    To mark seventy five years since the arrival of Jayforce in Japan. Gail Romano, shares some of the stories of those who served in Japan in recognition of their service.

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  • An Invisible History: Wāhine Māori in the Air Force during World War II

    By Stacey Fraser and Angela Wanhalla (Kāi Tahu)
    History Programme, University of Otago

    'The Style for you is Air Force Blue' was the recruitment tag-line for the New Zealand Women's Auxiliary Air Force, established on the 16th January 1941. In this article Angela Wanhalla and Stacey Fraser from University of Otago look at the formation of the WAAFs and Wāhine Māori who served in the Air Force during the Second World War, who's history has largely been invisible.

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  • The Pacific War - 75 years on

    By Dan Millar and Madison Pine
    Collection Technicians Research Support

    In commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of VJ Day, we have put together some of the stories of the men and women of all of New Zealand's forces who served during the Pacific War.

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  • Mary McBeth

    Heather Downie
    Volunteer, Online Cenotaph and Pou Maumahara

    105 years ago on the 8th April, 1915 - the first fifty nurses of the newly formed New Zealand Army Nursing Service, set sail for the First World War. Online Cenotaph Volunteer Heather shares the story of one of these nurses, Mary McBeth.

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  • 'ATA-girl': The Fab Five of New Zealand Aviation

    By Dr Gabrielle Fortune
    Historian

    They were called 'ATA-girls' (attagirls) female pilots who served with the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) during the Second World War. During the war 168 women served with the ATA, including five New Zealand Women who paid their own way to England for a chance to fly.

    Read more