Cook Islanders and Niueans enlisted in their own countries and were sent to New Zealand as a group. Men from other Pacific islands had to make their own way to New Zealand to enlist. Those who arrived when the Niuean or Cook Island contingents were training were attached to them. Those who had the misfortune to arrive at other times were immediately returned home.
Fiji and the Gilbert and Ellice Islands were British colonies. In 1918 a Fijian offer to supply an ethnically mixed contingent was referred by the British Colonial Office to the New Zealand authorities. A similar offer came from the Gilbert and Ellice Islands. Both were accepted. These two groups were training in Auckland when the war ended in November 1918.
Pacific Island soldiers faced many difficulties during the war. Most spoke no English and many struggled to adjust to the army diet and wearing boots. The greatest danger, though, was European diseases, especially in the cold climate of northern France.