Southland at Gallipoli 1915-2015

- 25 April 2015 will mark the 100th anniversary of the landing of the 8th Southland Company of the Otago Infantry Battalion at ANZAC Cove, Gallipoli.
(227 officers and men)

- 28 May 2015 will mark the 100th anniversary of the landing of the 7th Southland Squadron of the Otago Mounted Rifles at ANZAC Cove.
(158 officers and men and 169 horses)


To enable the Southlanders in 2015 to understand the service and sacrifice of Southland’s soldiers who travelled from the ‘Uttermost Ends of the Earth’ to fight at Gallipoli in 1915.

The First World War (1914-1918)

was one of the most significant events of the Twentieth Century, and had a deep and enduring impact on New Zealand society and culture. The effects of this collective national experience continues to be observed in Southland, where growing attendances at ANZAC Day ceremonies throughout the region demonstrates a continuing and growing interest in the significance of New Zealand’s role in this conflict.

Kia Mate Toa: Fight Unto Death – Southland at Gallipoli 1915-2015 has been one hundred years in the making. It represents the collective work by passionate individuals dedicated to seeing Southland’s military history preserved and made available free online, and the vision of Venture Southland to identify and catalogue war memorial structures in Southland.

The vision of Southland at Gallipoli 1915-2015 is: “To enable Southlanders in 2015 to understand the service and sacrifice of Southland’s soldiers who travelled from the “Uttermost Ends of the Earth” to fight at Gallipoli in 1915”.

The project name ‘Kia Mate Toa’ translates as ‘Fight Unto Death’, and was the motto of the 8th Southland Infantry Regiment. Following the outbreak of the First World War on 4 August 1914, the 8th Southland Regiment contributed one of four infantry companies to the Otago Infantry Battalion. It is the active service of the 8th Southland Infantry Company during the Gallipoli Campaign of 1915 which this project was established to commemorate.

The Kia Mate Toa project means to bring to life the experiences of Southland soldiers at Gallipoli with the preservation, display and interpretation of the memories and mementoes of Southland’s Gallipoli Veterans. This website will also provide key information, context and meaning for families, students and historians wishing to understand the experiences of Southland’s soldiers during the Gallipoli Campaign. A timeline presents significant First World War events events which affected everyone’s lives 100 years ago and which still have relevance today, as well as national, Southland-wide and local commemorations.

Central to the Kia Mate Toa project has been the preservation and transcription of the 8th Southland Company roll books for 1915. The original books were maintained by 8/467 Company Sergeant-Major Fred Rogers, and this unique record of the Gallipoli Campaign provides an insight into the daily life of Southland’s soldiers in 1915. The information from these books has been matched to published casualty photographs, military personnel files, official documents and personal letters and diaries to build the Southland at Gallipoli Soldiers’ Database. The further development of this website will look to families and communities throughout Southland to share their wartime photographs, letters, diaries, objects and stories.

In 2016, the website will be further developed to depict the centenary of the arrival of Southland’s soldiers on the Western Front, and their role in the Battle of the Somme. In 2017 the focus will change to Southland in Belgium and the battles of Messines and Passchendale, while in 2018 the website will present ‘Southland in France’, from the German Spring Offensive to the final Allied offensive of the war, the November 1918 Armistice, and Southlanders’ participation in the occupation of Cologne.

The website also presents the database of war memorials and honour boards throughout Southland. In matching the memorials database with the soldiers’ database, it is possible for researchers to follow an individual soldier from his enlistment through to his memorialisation.

  Projects – Kia Mate Toa website

Kia Mate Toa

Dr Aaron Fox
Bryce Horrell
Iain Davidson
James Watson

Venture Southland

Bobbi Brown
Julie Russell
Juanita Thornton
Olivia Capil

Southland War Memorials Project

Ann Robbie

Whats Good Web Design

Ben Adam
Michiel Jonker
Glenn Fredric

8th Southland Infantry Company

8/467 CSM Fred Rogers

  Project - Gallipoli Heritage Trail

Southland District Council – Roving Museums Officer

Johannah Massey

  Project - Southland at Gallipoli Exhibition

Southland Museum and Art Gallery

David Dudfield
Tracey Wedge

  Project: Southland War Stories

Invercargill City Libraries and Archives

Bonnie Mager
Andrew Eng
Rebecca Smith - Archivist

Rural Heritage Committee/Southland Oral History Project

Becs Amundsen

  Project: Uniform Replication

Uniform Replication Team

Tanya Roberts
Annitta Michelle