The major New Zealand museums began digitising their photographic collections in the early 2000s and rapidly made available over the internet many valuable historical images which had not previously been seen. A good example is this photograph by James McDonald of the welcome home to the East Coast members of the Pioneer Battalion in May 1919. It shows the returned soldiers sharing a meal in a wharekai (eating house) with their whānau (family). McDonald had gone to Gisborne in the company of ethnologists Elsdon Best and Johannes Andersen to record aspects of Māori culture. This photograph was digitised by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, the national museum, which holds a very valuable collection of images by McDonald. He worked at the museum (then known as the Dominion Museum) for 14 years, making films and taking photographs of Māori activities. Digitisation has made these treasures available to a wider audience.
Te whakamahi i tēnei tūemi
Permission of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa must be obtained before any re-use of this image.