Film of the first ballot under the 1916 Military Service Act, which introduced conscription during the First World War. Filmed on 16 November 1916 at Rouths Building, Brandon Street, Wellington.
The NZ Truth reported that the, 'first gamble in human life was commenced' by the Government Statistician and his staff. The Ballot was held to make up 1300 shortages in the 23rd and 24th Reinforcements. There was morning tea for the young ladies 'who it is quite possible will draw their sweetheart's cards'.
The Evening Post report on 16 November 1916 commented on the filming:
In 1916 conscription for military service was introduced to maintain New Zealand's supply of reinforcements. More than 30,000 conscripts had joined the New Zealand Expeditionary Force by the end of the war.
In his recruitment waiata, 'Te ope tuatahi', Ngata made it clear that the replacement recruits that he and his colleagues had raised all came from the East Coast tribes of Mahaki, Hauiti, Ngati Porou, Te Arawa and Kahungunu.
Peter Fraser's trial at the Wellington Magistrates' Court was the sequel to an anti-conscription speech. A number of union leaders were charged with the same crime. Fraser was convicted and served 12 months in gaol.