National Army Museum, Waiouru, New Zealand : Military History & Army War Museum

Hassett Gallery

Hassett Gallery

Food Glorious Food: An Army Marches on its Stomach

Buying local produce, 1992.773.

Buying local produce, 1992.773.

This exhibition takes the visitor away from the trenches and into the cook houses of the New Zealand Division during WWI.

In today’s society we seem obsessed with food, whether it is food tv, food magazines, food & wine festivals or the usual question from the kids – mum, what’s for dinner? The reason why we are so obsessed with food is that good nutritional food (and of course tasty food) is key to our well-being and in many parts of the world, survival.

The New Zealand troops of World War One were no different. Food was important to them and often occupied several pages of the letters or diaries written in the trenches or behind the front line. They often complained about the state of the food, which in many cases lacked the nutrition needed, however come dinner time, they would all line up and eagerly await what was being served (or plopped on their plate).

The saying “an army marches on its stomach” attributed to both Napoleon Bonaparte and Frederick the Great, highlighted the importance of forces being well-fed during war. When the food didn’t arrive, there are numerous examples in history where near victory turned into defeat.

This exhibition looks at the food the Kiwis were supplied and hopefully we gain an insight into whether the food was loved or loathed.

Opens 16 December 2016.