New Zealand Miltary Nursing
New Zealand Army Nursing Service - Royal New Zealand Nursing Corps

World War One Uniform of The New Zealand Army Nursing Service

Return to Home Page

Return to Uniforms Page

Return to Badges Page


The three nurses in the above picture are: Sisters, Bertha Nurse, Vida Mclean and Fanny Wilson. This photo was taken on the wharf on their arrival from Samoa. They had been selected to for service overseas and were among the first 50 to leave with Bertha Nurse as matron.

Photo from the newspaper - Free Lance, 27 March 1915.

  The first nurses who left New Zealand on active service with the New Zealand Medical Corps for Samoa in August 1914 wore a uniform (left) based on a design by Hester Maclean Matron-in-Chief.  The design was similar to those being worn overseas at the time. When the nurses left in August 1914 the NZANS had yet to be officially formed and a uniform finalised.

In October 1914 Hester Maclean's first uniform proposal included a cloak such as this pictured here (left).  However, the final proposal for the uniform in 1915 included a long coat (right), as Miss Maclean felt it was more practical.

When the first 50 nurses left in April 1915 the uniform they wore had only been approved in February 1915.

The outdoor uniform consisted of a long grey dress (below left) of Petone wool and a coat (right) with a grey bonnet with ribbon ties (below right).

The dress had brass NZ Army buttons on the bodice, a chinese style collar. The short scarlet cape(below left) and the coat which had a scarlet collar were optional for outdoor wear. The offical badge (of the NZANS could be worn on all the uniforms (outdoor and working).

Variations of the uniform appeared during WW1 but it remained basically the same style as Hester Maclean was adamant that no changes were to be made.

Note there is no belt with the coat, but at the back is a half belt and in due course nurses added a full belt but were reprimanded for doing so. The variations that occurred were generally of a tailoring nature and different materials used. The nurses were permitted to have uniforms made providing they used the same style. The need for a lighter uniform became evident when the women were serving in Egypt. Towards the end of WW1 the skirt length had shortened.


Sisters of the NZANS in coat and bonnet 1915.







The group of nurses (above) demonstrates the various uniforms (outdoor and working) worn by the New Zealand Army Nursing Service (NZANS), Queen Alexandra Imperial Nursing Service (QAIMNS) and Reserve (QAIMNSR), Territorial Forces Nursing Service (TFNS) & Voluntary Aid Detachments(VAD).

The three nurses with panama style hats are NZANS sisters and each is wearing her her outdoor uniform. Note: two have white collars, both different styles and Sister Murie (marked with a cross, seated) is wearing her uniform without a white collar. These were all acceptable ways to wear the uniform. The hats they are wearing, eventually replaced the bonnet (right picture). It was also acceptable to wear the white veil with the out door uniform as seen in photograph (left).

All but four women in this photograph are wearing their working uniform, most with their capes. Members of the QAIMNS and the NZANS wore the same colour cape and uniform which upset the nurses of the QAIMNS as they felt it was their uniform. The service the fourth nurse (standing 4th from right) cannot be identified but as uniforms were similar she could belong to either NZANS or QAIMNS.

The nurses with the two tone capes are mainly QAIMNSR with one TFNS (standing 3rd from right) as on the corners of her cape are the letters "T".

Two on right with crosses which were red in colour. There are two other women without capes and they may also be VADs. New Zealand did not have a separate force of the VADs but did employ them in the New Zealand Military Hospitals in England and in New Zealand after 1918.

This web site is dedicated to those nurses who have served and continue to serve our country

Home | History | Rolls | Honours & Awards | Roll of Honour | Photo Gallery | 2015-100 Years | Uniforms | Contact | News & Events | About Us