In December 1901 the Government of New Zealand offered further assistance, an offer which was at once accepted, and no time was lost in getting ready a very large contingent, nearly 1000 strong. It is worth noting that the Colonial Executive expressed the very reasonable desire that these battalions should not be split up and separated as some of the earlier ones had been.
The 8th contingent sailed in two portions: that from the north island on 29th January 1902, and that from the south island on 8th February, so that they saw comparatively short war service.
The 8th had a cruel misfortune on 12th April 1902: through a railway accident at Machavie they lost 14 killed and slightly over that number injured.
The following quotation from the despatch of 1st June 1902 shows how hard service in the last days of the war was, especially for mounted men who had been for some weeks on the sea. It bears ample testimony to the good work of the newly arrived Australians and New Zealanders. Lord Kitchener, in referring to a great drive under General Sir Ian Hamilton, from about Klerksdorp to the Kimberley-Mafeking railway, said: "On 11th May the whole force closed in on the Vryburg railway, when it was found our captures included 367 prisoners of war, 326 horses, 95 mules, 175 waggons, 66 Cape carts, 3620 cattle, 106 trek oxen, and 7,000 rounds of ammunition,—this loss to the enemy constituting a blow to his resources such as he had not previously experienced in the Western Transvaal. Most of the prisoners fell into the hands of Lieutenant Colonel De Lisle, who, with the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the Commonwealth Regiment, formed part of Colonel Thorneycroft's column. In reporting upon this extremely successful operation, General Sir Ian Hamilton desires to draw my attention to the enthusiasm and energy with which the troops met the exceptional hardships and work involved by lining out and entrenching themselves on four successive nights after long marches in a practically waterless country. On each of these nights every officer and man, after marching some 20 miles, had to spend the hours usually devoted to rest in entrenching, watching, and occasionally fighting. In this connection he draws special attention to the spade work done by the Commonwealth regiments—3rd New South Wales Bushmen, and the 8th New Zealand Regiment. Every night while the sweep was in progress these troops dug one redoubt to hold 20 men every 100 yards of their front of six miles. The redoubts were so solidly constructed that they would have afforded perfect cover from artillery fire, and the intervals between them were closed by waggons linked together with barbed wire. The commander of each group of columns had his own particular system, and it may be interesting to note that General Walter Kitchener's force held the line assigned to it by similar works, constructed to hold seven men each, and placed at intervals of 50 yards apart. The work done by the troops under Colonels Sir Henry Rawlinson, Kekewich, and Rochefort was equally satisfactory, barbed wire and obstacles being freely made use of to close the points at which the enemy would be most likely to break through".
The 8th contingents sailed for home in July 1902.