WWI: changing the fabric of our nation

Statistics NZ has produced an infographic commemorating Armistice Day :

Statistics Minister Craig Foss said:.

“The First World War was a significant event in New Zealand’s history — it helped define us as a nation and it continues to have a lasting impact,” Mr Foss says.

“I am proud to be able to tell the story of this important event through statistics.”

The First World War – Changing the Fabric of our Nation infographic has been developed by Statistics New Zealand in partnership with the WW100 Programme Office.

“Communities, towns and cities rallied to the call for ‘King and Country’ in 1914. Just over 100,000 New Zealand troops served overseas from a population of barely one million,” Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry says.

“The WW100 centenary honours the sacrifice of those who fought and will also tell the story of those who remained at home.”

The infographic uses historical census data to highlight key events prior, during and just after the war.

 The infographic is too wide for the post, you can see it all here.

We developed the First World War – Changing the fabric of our nation infographic in partnership with the Ministry of Culture and Heritage WW100 Programme Office, and with valuable assistance from the New Zealand Defence Force, to mark the First World War centenary from 2014 to 2018. The First World War was one of the most significant events of the 20th century and we are proud to commemorate this important event through the statistics we’ve been gathering about New Zealand for over 100 years.

The infographic aims to present key information about the war and its impact on New Zealand. With the limited space available on an infographic, depicting all factual information relevant to this significant historical event is difficult.

We developed this infographic for any organisation or group to use in their commemoration activities and events. We are happy to share relevant files with these groups for republication.


Image, First World War – Changing the fabric of our nation, WW100 infographic.

The WW100 programme and other resources are available at WW100.govt.nz

6 Responses to WWI: changing the fabric of our nation

  1. Paranormal says:

    I struggle to believe the ‘eligible weight’ was Under 76kg. I understand people were smaller then, but also understand that ‘colonials’ were bigger than Europeans.


  2. JC says:

    Not too surprising, even in the 1960s I was a prop in senior rugby weighing in at 80-82kg.. I wasn’t huge but was certainly known as a big bloke. A truly huge man back then was Colin Meads weighing in at 100kg.

    Even today average adult male height here is only 5ft 9in so 76kg or a little under 12 stone would seem about right.



  3. J Bloggs says:

    Also remember that many of those signing up may have been malnourished or at least not carrying much excess weight due to the more labour intensive work environment.

    By example, when I was 21, and actively doing judo 6 hrs a week, on top of my day job, I was 183cms (6′) and weighed in at between 72-77kgs, depending on how close it was to a tournament. And that was with a diet high in protein and carbs, particularly sugar.


  4. Paranormal says:

    Thanks JC and J Bloggs. The Europeans of the time must have been tiny. I can recall reading German commentary about the ‘giant’ colonials they faced – both in WWI and WWII.


  5. J Bloggs says:

    What is staggering is that when the British army was recruiting during the early stages of World War 1 40% of those men between the ages of 20-41 who volunteered in 1914 were found to be unfit for military service due to health related reasons

    The average height for a UK enlistee in 1914 – 5’5″
    Average weight – 8 st.
    Many enlistee’s were so malnourished that they put a stone of weight and 2 inchs of height in the first year of training (when they were getting 3 meals a day courtesy of the army)


  6. JC says:

    There’s a historians book out there somewhere that explodes some of the myths of WW1.. one being everyone wanted the war to end but many of the conscripts wanted it to go on indefinitely.. they were getting 3 meals a day of something like 4000 calories for the first time in their lives.

    One reason why the US brought school breakfasts and lunches in after WW2 was they found for the first time that rural poverty gave them conscripts who were dirt poor and way undernourished.

    Finally, when Britain was on the brink of starvation in WW2 because of the Uboat successes the average Brit survived on 3000 calories a day compared to an average of 2100 today.

    As you’ve probably guessed it was the unrelenting physical work more common decades ago that created the need for calories plus the food we produce now is better suited to our sedentary lifestyles.. I read a piece about some of the old poets a wee while ago and it mentioned one guy who lived in the country to improve his poor health; but he regularly walked 12 miles to visit a fellow poet, had lunch and a chat and then walked home!

    Dunno about you blokes and blokesses but back in the day I’d much rather waltz a few wool bales into position, carry a few sacks of oats to the bin or wrestle a 44 gallon drum up planks onto a truck deck than walk those miles.. and if I had to walk I’d rather be shifting 8 stone than 12 to 16 stone 🙂



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