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Object: Ballot Box

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Title Ballot Box
Production Unknown (cabinetmaker), 1916, New Zealand
Materials wood
Classification ballot boxes
Dimensions Overall: 600mm (Length) x 330mm (Width) x 240mm (Depth)
Credit line Gift of the New Zealand Immigration Service, 1989.
Registration number GH003641/1-5

This ballot box was used for military service ballots during World War I, following the passage into law of the Military Service Act, 1916. The box was also used for ballots for military service during World War II, and for National Military Service (also known as Compulsory Military Training) ballots from 1949 till 1972.

New Zealand's ballot system
In 1916, New Zealand developed a unique method of calling men up for compulsory military service. Most nations called up all their young men, usually when they turned 18. New Zealand, however, introduced a system of monthly balloting. This involved drawing numbered marbles from a small wooden barrel that had been rotated to scramble the balls, and then matching the them with numbers on cards bearing the names of men aged between 17 and 60 who had registered for service under the National Registration Act, 1915. The Military Service Act had initially imposed conscription on Päkehä only, but this was extended to Mäori in June 1917. By the time of the Armistice in November 1918, over 30,000 New Zealand men had been conscripted by ballot for military service.

Related information

Disclaimer: This information was created from historic documentation, and may not necessarily reflect the best available knowledge about the item. Some collection images are created for identification purposes only and may not be of reproduction quality. Some images are not available due to copyright restrictions. If you have information or questions about objects in the collection, contact us using our enquiry form. You can also find out more about Collections Online.