Authors: Michael Fitzgerald and Claire Regnault
Publication date: August 2014
A discovery of over 3,000 photographic plates from the early 20th century has transpired to the remarkable Berry & Co collection. Amongst the studio portraits in the collection are around 130 showing ordinary World War One servicemen. But who were they? What happened to them in the war? Do they have any descendants still alive? If so, Te Papa wanted to make contact to learn more about their lives. On 29 September 2013, TVNZ’s Sunday programme spread the word, and a remarkable public response helped reunite many soldiers with their identities. Careful research has brought many more to light. A new TVNZ documentary, The Berry Boys, about the Berry soldiers’ stories screened on 3 August 2014. A new TVNZ documentary, Berry Boys: The Speakers for the Dead, about the Berry soldiers’ stories will screen later in 2014.
Published to coincide with the documentary, Berry Boys features the full collection of these remarkable photographs, accompanied by the carefully researched stories of the soldiers and their loved ones. Although these soldiers are only a tiny fraction of the thousands of men who departed to join the fighting overseas, they offer a poignant snapshot of the New Zealand of the time, and the changing face of the First World War itself.