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Flower power

It was the most spectacular parade that the South Island town of Nelson had ever seen. Daffodil Week, a fundraising campaign to provide comforts to troops serving overseas, took place in September 1916, and the highlight was the grand parade and crowning of the Flower Queen. The streets were decorated with flags and from early morning children were selling buttonholes (small posies of flowers), while stallholders sold cut flowers, ferns, plants, seedlings, sweets and produce.

In this short film the impact of World War One is evident. The floats and organizations are marshalled by uniformed soldiers, and the streets are lined with members of the local Territorial infantry battalion. The Rt. Rev. William Sadlier, the Bishop of Nelson, can be seen in a frock-coat in the crowd. The annual Flower Queen, elected by popular vote, was Miss Hazel Win. Altogether £780 (or NZ$100,000 today) was raised for Christmas presents for the boys at the front.

Year:1916

Location:Nelson, New Zealand

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Flower power

It was the most spectacular parade that the South Island town of Nelson had ever seen. Daffodil Week, a fundraising campaign to provide comforts to troops serving overseas, took place in September 1916, and the highlight was the grand parade and crowning of the Flower Queen. The streets were decorated with flags and from early morning children were selling buttonholes (small posies of flowers), while stallholders sold cut flowers, ferns, plants, seedlings, sweets and produce.

In this short film the impact of World War One is evident. The floats and organizations are marshalled by uniformed soldiers, and the streets are lined with members of the local Territorial infantry battalion. The Rt. Rev. William Sadlier, the Bishop of Nelson, can be seen in a frock-coat in the crowd. The annual Flower Queen, elected by popular vote, was Miss Hazel Win. Altogether £780 (or NZ$100,000 today) was raised for Christmas presents for the boys at the front.


Year: 1916

Length: 03:09

Credits: The filmmaker is unknown

Source: Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Catalogue Reference: F23360 Nelson Daffodil Parade


People: Right Rev. William Charles Sadlier (Bishop of Nelson)

Location: Nelson, New Zealand


After war broke out in August 1914, Annette Lady Liverpool (the wife of the New Zealand Governor) made an appeal to the women of New Zealand to “assist me in trying to provide any necessaries which may be required for … the citizen army …. My suggestion would be to start a fund in every centre under a small committee of ladies.” In towns and cities all over New Zealand ladies established fundraising committees to help the war effort, particularly to raise funds to send ‘care packages’ to ‘our boys’ at the front.

Women in the Nelson region established their own Lady Liverpool Committee to fundraise and started the annual Daffodil Day in 1915. By 1916, Daffodil Week was a fixture on the Nelson calendar, and the highlight of the week was the Parade.

That year’s Parade was reported as the most spectacular ever seen in Nelson, with a crowd that reached record dimensions. Trafalgar Square in the centre of town was packed. Cheers were given for the Flower Queen, and for the soldiers at the front, and the National Anthem was played. Several hundred girls took part in the procession that also included decorated cars, the National Reserver Band, 12th Regiment Band, the Stoke Boys’ Training Farm Band along with Territorial and College Cadets.

Film-making in New Zealand in the early 20th century was a spasmodic and local affair. Lacking equipment and any sort of industry to support film production, only a handful of people managed to make films at all. This film is typical of those taken at the time, and reveals the limitations of the technology of the day. The camera was large and heavy, without special lenses or zoom functions, and could only make slow pans across the crowds. The film-maker is unknown, but it is likely that, as well as shooting the film, he developed and processed it himself.