Film: first ballot under the 1916 Military Service Act

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:

Nowadays everything is recorded for the moving pictures, and the first ballot under the Military Service Act was no exception. The cinema came and was clicking away busily as the Magistrate with pressmen and other spectators grouped around.


Video extract from Ballot at the Government Statistician’s Office, Syd Taylor (camera) for NZ Government, 1916. Extract courtesy of The New Zealand Film Archive / Nga Kaitiaki O Nga Taonga Whitiahua (Film Reference F9351).


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How to cite this page: 'Film: first ballot under the 1916 Military Service Act', URL:, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 17-Jul-2014

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