The start of Red Cross in New Zealand

In 1915, people began asking Lord Liverpool, New Zealand’s first Governor-General, about the Red Cross in New Zealand as it was already well established in Britain.

To answer these questions Lord Liverpool called for a meeting of Red Cross representatives from the four military districts: Otago, Canterbury, Wellington and Auckland. Representatives from the Order of St John were also invited.

Below is the call to action Lord Liverpool published in papers around New Zealand in October 1915.

Ohinemuri Gazette, 20 October 1915.

The New Zealand branch of the British Red Cross Society and the Order of St John was established as a result of the meeting, with the two organisations working together throughout the war. Following the war they continued under this name initiating first aid in certain districts such as Taranaki and Wellington and carrying out vocational training for returned servicemen.

New Zealand Red Cross and St John continued to work together after the war as they sorted out how each of the organisations functioned in New Zealand. On 22 December 1931, New Zealand Red Cross became a society in its own right when it became incorporated. New Zealand Red Cross Society was officially recognised by the government on 3 June 1932.

Feature photo: New Zealand Branch of the British Red Cross Society and the Order of St John: Certificate of thanks to Thorndon School for assistance during the Great War, 1914 to 1918. Thorndon School: Photographs relating to Thorndon School. Ref: 1/2-169860-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.