Auckland war veterans sought for remembrance portraits

By Ewan McDonald

As Anzac Day approaches, an Auckland-based photographer is seeking New Zealand war veterans to be pictured in a series that honours their "real spirit and character."

Helen Ridley is an Englishwoman who has lived in New Zealand for just over 10 years.

She says she has always had a keen curiosity in the military and is humbled by "the incredible stories of courage and bravery through numerous campaigns."

While researching her family tree she discovered her great-grandfather, James Francis Ross, was the longest serving officer in the British Army, with over 49 years of service - "something which makes me very proud."

She linked this discovery with her passion for photography, which she describes as "about capturing the real spirit and character in a person.

"I can think of no stronger characters then the men and women who proudly served their countries and I believe they have much to teach the youth of today.

"I am looking to take a series of photos of those men and women who have served in numerous campaigns."

Ms Ridley stresses this is not a commercial venture and she is not seeking financial gain.

"This is a personal project and one that is close to my heart. Depending on how well the project goes there may be an opportunity to do some sort of charitable event, but at the moment I just want to get the venture off the ground."

If you know of a veteran or veterans who may be able to help, contact: Helen Ridley, ph 021 628 404 or email    

- The Aucklander

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