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New Zealand’s most traumatic military campaign revealed

The bloodiest and most traumatic campaign in New Zealand’s military history is captured in a new book produced by Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

Written by leading military historian Dr Ian McGibbon, New Zealand’s Western Front Campaign is the first major account of New Zealand’s participation on the Western Front since the official history was published in 1921.

The book was officially launched by Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Hon Maggie Barry, at Parliament last night.

“The campaign led to the loss of nearly 14,000 New Zealanders,” says Dr McGibbon.

“Yet New Zealand’s contribution has received relatively little attention—the conflict somehow slipped into the background as the next generation grappled with a new, even greater conflict in the form of the Second World War.”

“This new book illuminates the reasons why the Western Front campaign had significant and lasting consequences for New Zealand,” says Dr McGibbon.

Spanning some 400 pages, New Zealand’s Western Front Campaign provides a vivid and detailed account of the country’s contribution, featuring specially commissioned new maps, excerpts from soldiers’ diaries, photographs and artwork.

The book is supported by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage’s War History Trust, the result of a generous bequest by Julian Watson, and is part of the WW100 First World War Centenary History programme.

New Zealand’s Western Front Campaign is published by David Bateman Ltd and is available now in bookstores and online at

Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Hon Maggie Barry and author Dr Ian McGibbon at the book launch of New Zealand’s Western Front Campaign.

About Ian McGibbon

Dr Ian McGibbon ONZM was formerly General Editor (War History) at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage. He has published extensively on New Zealand’s war history, including the two volume official history of New Zealand’s involvement in the Korean War and the official history of combat operations in the Vietnam War.

He edited the Oxford Companion to New Zealand Military History (2000), and is the author of battlefield guides to both the Western Front and Gallipoli. He was New Zealand’s representative on the tri-nation historical and archaeological survey of the Anzac Battlefield at Gallipoli 2009–14. He was made an officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to historical research in 1997.

Updated on 9th November 2016