National Army Museum, Waiouru, New Zealand : World War One Centenary

A Patriotic Call to Yarn

The Patriotic Call to Yarn is Answered

**Project now closed**

Just like the thousands of Patriotic Associations around New Zealand 100 years ago, the knitters and crafters of New Zealand have answered the ‘call to yarn’. The National Army Museum in Waiouru is delighted to announce they have reached the target of 18,166 hand-crafted poppies to commemorate all those soldiers who died in World War One. In fact the enthusiasm of New Zealand’s knitters has been so great that the museum now has over 30,000 poppies in total.

Poppy Project Co-ordinator Alison Jones said, “Thank you New Zealand, but it is now time to lay down your needles – Armistice is called on the Patriotic Call to Yarn Project. Please send in any poppies you currently have, we will accept all poppies.”

Museum staff have been touched by the overwhelming response and the numerous stories of personal tributes to family members who served. As a result of the response staff decided it was appropriate to extend the initial ‘call to yarn’ with another project named “The Last Post”. This is to become a tribute to all other men and women who have been lost to war and conflict outside World War One and represents a further 12,309 (based on the museum’s Tears on Greenstone roll of honour database).

Currently a team of dedicated volunteers are carefully hand sewing these wonderful poppy tributes for the World War One project onto specially made hessian panels in preparation for permanent display in the museum’s ‘Roimata Pounamu Tears on Greenstone Memorial’. It is planned that this will be completed in time for ANZAC Day.

Once this is completed the design of the Last Post display of poppies will be finalised.

Thanks to all those who have made such a heartfelt tribute to New Zealand’s fallen heroes. Currently several panels can be seen on display in the museum’s greenstone memorial.

Project Gallery

A Patriotic Call to Yarn

“For the empire and for freedom, we all must do our bit, the men go forth to battle, the women wait and knit”   – Lady Annette Liverpool

Patriotic Call to Yarn - WW1 Event Poppy Knitted Knitting for the War Effort DSC02364_edited_lr

The National Army Museum is making a patriotic ‘call to yarn’. With the assistance from the general public of New Zealand we are aiming to produce one hand crafted poppy for each person lost by our nation in the Great War. That is 18,166 poppies!

These very special tributes will be on show at the National Army Museum in the form of a cascading waterfall of poppies in the Museum’s memorial area.

If you are a little bit crafty you may like to help with this special project. Poppies can be hand crafted in anyway (knitted, crocheted, sewn, soft crafted), but must be a red Flanders style poppy. There are several patterns available to assist you in your contribution. Please see patterns above.


With the original call for 18,166 poppies achieved comes…

A Patriotic Call to Yarn – The Last Post

To achieve, one hand crafted poppy for EVERY New Zealand Serviceman or Woman lost during War or conflict.

Based on the Tears on Greenstone database at the Museum – that is 30,475 personnel from all services
(Army, Navy, Airforce and Merchant Navy).

We have already achieved 18,166 – so that is a further 12,309 poppies.

These poppies must be smaller – no more than 7cm in diameter* – so that they can be remembered together in one memorial piece.

*Please note: All poppies will be accepted so do send poppies already constructed larger than 7cm. Smaller poppies are encouraged for the new format to ensure they are able to be displayed altogether.

Download Patterns – Poppy Patterns PDF (577kb)

Follow the progress on Facebook

A Special Tribute

21 year old Rifleman, Chudleigh Inwood Kirton was one of ten soldiers killed during WWI in a terrible tragedy at Bere Ferrers station near Plymouth in South Devon. Chudleigh was Shelley Kirton of Northland’s great uncle and she has made a very special tribute through the National Army Museum’s Patriotic Call to Yarn project, of ten immaculately hand-made poppies to represent each of those men killed.


Shelley said “I am very proud to have participated in this wonderful memorial exhibition and it has been quite an emotional experience to knit a poppy for each of these lost soldiers”.

These ten beautifully knitted poppies will be placed together in honour as a mini memorial within the project to remember these ten men who were so tragically lost.

Project Update

3rd March 2015

Facebook Announcement: Thank you New Zealand, but it is now time to lay down your needles.

Armistice is called on the Patriotic Call to Yarn project (WW1) and the Last Post project (for others). Please send in any poppies you have as they will still be accepted. The National Army Museum staff have been touched by the overwhelming response and the numerous personal stories and tributes to our fallen servicemen and women. From myself, it has been a privilege to co-ordinate the project. Alison Jones – Poppy Coordinator

16th February 2015

Facebook Announcement: WE HAVE REACHED OUR TARGET OF 18,166 POPPIES!

I am delighted to announce that the Museum has reached its target for the original Patriotic call to Yarn project. Such is the support that the Museum has, the project will continue in a different format – A Patriotic call to Yarn – The Last Post .
To achieve, one hand crafted poppy for EVERY New Zealand serviceman or woman lost during War or conflict. Based on the Museum’s Tears on Greenstone database, that is 30, 475 names from all services (Army, Navy, Airforce and Merchant Navy).
We already have over 20,000 poppies.
The new project must have a smaller poppy – no more than 7cm in diameter, so that they can be remembered together in one memorial piece. Our website is being updated with further information and some different patterns for you to try.
Thank you New Zealand for answering the Call to Yarn. – Alison Jones – Project Coordinator

30th January 2015

Latest update – we are now up to 13,300 poppies!! We have been inundated with parcels over the summer holiday period much to our delight as we had thought things might have slowed down in the hot weather knitting wise. We continue to be taken aback by the support from all over New Zealand.

Special mention must go to NZ Post for their sponsorship support, and to both Knitting World and Quilting Focus for the mention on their websites. We have been honoured to be mentioned is so many different newspapers all over the country.

“Thank you for inviting our participation. I feel extremely privileged to be able to contribute to an event of such significance to our wonderful country.”  Marielle Craighead, Alexandra (Jan 2015)

8th January 2015

“Thank you to New Zealanders for answering the call to yarn. The poppy count is now 9864 – over half way towards our target of 18,166 poppies! I continue to be amazed at people’s support of the project. We have recently received donations from England, Australia and NZ Police Contingent in the Solomon Islands…
Please call in to the Museum and see the panels in our Memorial area.”
Alison Jones – Project Coordinator

The first panel is unveiled in the Tears on Greenstone memorial

The first panel is unveiled in the Tears on Greenstone memorial

8th December 2014

Poppy Coordinator Alison Jones said, “We have been overwhelmed by the response and interest in the project so far and are fast approaching almost 4,000 poppies. We appreciate all the support of so many people from all around New Zealand as well as those of the knitting world including Jayne’s Wool Shop in Whakatane, The Woolshed in Taupo, Countrywide Yarns, Knitworld and Knitknuts Knitting Club. Special mention must also go to Westlorne Ltd for their help in supplying the materials to sew the poppies onto.

On 11th November as part of the Museum’s Armistice Day service the first of many panels of cascading poppies was unveiled  in the Roimata Pounamu Tears on Greenstone memorial. We will keep you posted, in the meantime keep sewing and knitting.

“Thank you for the tour of your Memorial. I enjoyed the opportunity to see and sew on the Poppy banner” 
Elizabeth Callis, Morrisville, North Carolina, USA

Also special thanks to our sponsors