We may have been the first country to give women the vote, but the New Zealand women who served as doctors, ambulance drivers and munitions workers World War I have largely been left out of our written history – until now.
Historian Jane Tolerton profiles some of the 1000-plus Kiwi women volunteers in the new book Make Her Praises Heard Afar - NZ Women Overseas in World War One.
Official WWI centenary celebrations here honoured 'those who fought' and 'those who stayed at home', but these women – who joined the overseas war effort independently – sit in the middle, Tolerton says.
"We've got this idea that New Zealand women stayed home, they looked after farms and moved into more paid work than they had been and also did a lot of knitting and fundraising – all that, of course, is true – but then there's this other group of women who simply got into a ship, paid their ticket, went overseas."
Even the Head of the New Zealand Army Nursing Service Hester Maclean dismissed their efforts in her 1932 book Nursing in New Zealand.
"[Maclean is] so determined to vaunt the nurses that she really consciously pushes out the other women. She doesn't approve of 'untrained women' … and she's very overt about that."
When World War I started, you couldn't be in Britain and not be involved in the war effort in some way – Downton Abbey's transformation into a hospital is a case in point, Tolerton says.
Three Kiwi artists were on a painting holiday in France's Bay of Biscay when the fighting began and got caught up making shirts for French soldiers. They then went to Britain and became VADs (volunteer field nurses), later nursing Gallipoli veterans in Malta.
In 1918, Wellington ambulance driver Agnes 'Pickle' Pearce was awarded the MBE as recognition of her outstanding war work in England, but she has received no decoration back home, Tolerton says.
The "structural discrimination" that left these women out of the materials produced for the WWI centenary is partly because they generally worked for non-New Zealand governments.
"The funding has gone to men to write about men's things and it hasn't gone to women to write up the story of women."
The Kiwi women who served overseas are role models for today, Tolerton says.
"I hear people saying we need more women in management in New Zealand as if it's kind of our fault somehow. You look at World War I, you see New Zealand women managing things like field hospital units attached to the Serb army."