PHO2011_2293.jpg "Two Old Veterans" (about 1900). William Francis Gordon. Collection of Puke Ariki (PHO2011-2293).

Amateur photographer William Francis Gordon is responsible for creating a remarkable monument to those who fought in the New Zealand Wars, though it is not the monument most people are familiar with. Gordon did help to erect the memorial to the New Zealand Wars on Marsland Hill, New Plymouth, but it is his photograph album “Some “Soldiers of the Queen” who served in the Maori Wars and other notable persons connected herewith” that is a truly unique historical artefact. 

Dating from around 1900, the album contains over 450 photographs of soldiers, civilians and Māori involved with the Wars. The portraits are loosely ordered into regiments and most are annotated in Gordon’s distinctive handwriting. The captions memorialise those who are depicted, personalising the photographs and encouraging empathy with the subject. The extraordinary album captures many of the soldiers involved in the Taranaki campaigns and is the only one of its kind in the country.

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