TVNZ Gallipoli drama When We Go To War shed viewers in its debut double episode on Sunday night while polarising those who watched it.

Starting out with some 314,820 watching its first hour, the show's viewership fell to 236,050 in its second according to Nielsen.

That compares to a viewership of 377,270 in One's 8.30pm-10.30pm timeslot the previous week for Australian television movie The Killing Field.

When We Go To War, which drew its $5.9 million budget from the New Zealand On Air Platinum Fund, has four more episodes to run.

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READ MORE: Our review and readers' comments about When We Go To War.

The show drew mixed reactions on social media.

Former MP Tau Henare was vociferous in his comments about the show's portrayal of Maori as "whores, thieves and religious nutters."

Others objected to the first episode's early sex scenes.

While some complained about the show's advertising interruptions.

Other were more complimentary.