Archibald McColl Learmond Baxter was born at Saddle Hill, Otago, in 1881. Baxter seriously considered enlisting as a volunteer for the South African War of 1899–1902, but during that war heard a plea for pacifism from a Dunedin lawyer that changed his life. By the time the national register was taken in 1915 – requiring men to register their preparedness to serve in the First World War – he was committed to rejecting the war both as a pacifist and as a Christian socialist.
Te Puea Hērangi (1883–1952) was a granddaughter of Tāwhiao Te Wherowhero, the second Māori King. Her uncle Mahuta, who became King after Tāwhiao, singled her out in childhood as having special abilities. He spent many hours with her, passing on his knowledge. She was to become a crucial figure in reviving the Kīngitanga (King Movement) among Tainui people in the twentieth century.
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.