During World War I, about 120 Kiwi soldiers had their photograph taken at a Wellington portrait studio before they left New Zealand to fight in the war.
Now all we have of them is a glass negative, and a surname. But who were they? What happened to them in the war? Do they have descendants still alive?
We want to discover the identity of these men, and of the loved ones photographed with them.
On the eve of departure
In the 1910s, Wellington photographers Berry & Co took on the task of photographing members of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force before they left to fight in ’the war in Europe’ (later known as World War I). Some men were photographed alone, others with friends or the families they were about to leave behind.
The photos were given to relatives and loved ones, and became a record of a poignant moment, and in some cases, a heartbreaking reminder of a soldier killed.
A historic discovery
In 1998, 3,800 glass-plate negatives were discovered at Berry & Co's old studio rooms in Cuba Street, Wellington. Among them were about 190 photographs of World War I soldiers. But there was no record of the soldier's full identity on any of them. There was only a surname etched on each negative.
Identifying the soldiers
In the lead-up to the World War I centenary (2014–18), Te Papa wants to honour these soldiers and their families. We've taken on the task of identifying these men and the people photographed with them. We want to discover what happened to them, and how their lives and the lives of their descendants were affected by the war.
Send us your information
If you know anything about any of the people in the photographs below, please contact us. We’re interested in names, stories, tiny snippets of information – anything that helps us know more about these people’s lives before, during, and after the war.
If you have any information you can share about the Berry Boys – either a soldier or someone they are photographed with – please email email@example.com. You can also write to Berry Boys Project Team, Te Papa, PO Box 467, Wellington 6140.
To aid identification, please be sure to include the Te Papa registration number (B.044366, for example) for the photo in question.
To search the Berry & Co collection for family members, try searching Collections Online for [family name] + berry.
A full list of World War I research resources is available on the WW100 website.
Research resources on WW100.govt.nz
Keep up to date
Visit Te Papa’s blog for up-to-date information about progress identifying soldiers.
Berry Boys posts on Te Papa’s blog
You can read about the lives of the soldiers we’ve already identified by selecting an image.
Find additional information about this topic at these sites