Trentham Military Training Camp
This film shows a panoramic view of Trentham Military Training Camp, north of Wellington. In the foreground, groups of men can be seen practising drills. Behind them is the camp; a few permanent structures surrounded by rows of characteristic cone-shaped tents. Trentham was where many soldiers of the Main Body completed their brief training.
Haka in the Sand / He Haka He Onepu
The First Māori Contingent are seen in Egypt on 3 April 1915, enthusiastically performing the haka “Te Kāhu Pōkere” which was as popular then as Te Rauparaha’s famous war cry “Kā mate, Ka mate” is today. The Māori Contingent were bound for Malta before moving on to Gallipoli. Their sense of adventure is still apparent in this film as they were yet to face the heat of battle when, as many a soldier has said, “Boys became men at the burst of the first shell around them.” Performing the haka was found to be a good way to unite men under a common purpose. It provided relief from the mundane day to day existence in training camps, and was a form of entertainment for the Contingent and other troops, as well as a morale booster.
An army marches on its stomach
Raising the main body of the NZEF was a huge logistical exercise and needed to be done quickly. By early August 1914 the first recruits arrived at training camps established in the four military regions across the country (Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Otago-Southland). One of the most important tasks, beside basic training, was housing and feeding the new troops.
Tahuna Park in Dunedin was chosen as the initial training camp for the Otago-Southland region. This rare ‘behind the scenes’ footage shows the work of the tin shed cookhouse set up to feed the 1100 men camped there. The Cook Sergeant, with a bandaged arm, orders around the cookhouse fatigues (work teams). Notice how everyone is puffing away on pipes or cigarettes, adding extra fibre, flavour and aroma to the camp stew!