Niue post issued a set of stamps featuring story of Niuean men for their honourable contribution and the difficulties faced during the First World War.
2015 marks 100 years since a group of Niuean men left Niue to serve in the First World War, thousands of miles away from home.
Niue’s involvement in the First World War
On hearing the news about the world war Niuean men volunteered for service in the New Zealand Expeditionary Forces, although they were very small in number.
In October 1915 150 men left Niue for Auckland, where they trained at Narrow Neck Camp before departing for the Western Front.
Despite the best of intentions, the Niuean contribution encountered many difficulties, including struggling with the standard issue footwear, the cold climate and a lack of immunity to European diseases.
Most of the men were soon hospitalised and were withdrawn from the Western Front and transferred to the New Zealand convalescent hospital in Hornchurch, England.
By late 1916 , before returning to home, they were sent to Auckland for further medical care.
Even with all the hardships they faced, they still volunteered for duty once more, but the offer was declined.
The stamps telling story of Niue’s involvement in the First World War are:
20c – Life in Niue pre-war
30c – Narrow Neck camp, Auckland
$1.00 – Departing for war, Auckland
$1.20 – New Zealand Pioneer Battalion
$1.40 – Armentières, France
$1.70 – Hornchurch, England
$2.00 – Recovering in Auckland
$4.00 – Memorial, Niue
Though their contribution to the war effort was brief, it is a story that is full of difficulties and heartache, and deserves to be honoured and remembered.
The marble plaque recording the names of Niueans who died while enlisted was gifted by New Zealand to Niue in 1920 and still stands on the Alofi green.
Title: Niue’s involvement in the First World War
Date of Issue: 13 October 2015
Denominations: 20c, 30c, $1.00, $1.20, $1.40, $1.70, $2.00 and $4.00
Source: New Zealand Post