Dissent (21 July – 1 October 2017)

Passchendaele  (October – December 2017)

Holy Lands (December 2017 – February 2018)

Dissent is a powerful new temporary exhibition about opposition to the First World War in New Zealand.

In 1914, most New Zealanders supported our country’s involvement in the war. There were only a small minority of dissenters. However, as the casualty lists grew and the death toll was reported in local newspapers, New Zealanders felt the effect of this prolonged and brutal conflict.

Some soldiers became disillusioned, writing home to warn others not to enlist. Conscription was introduced (1916) and opposition grew. Waikato iwi leaders refused to support the war, and several MPs of the newly-formed Labour Party spoke out. Over 32,000 men indicated they were not willing to serve in the military. Nearly 300 were imprisoned. Of these, 14 men were forcibly dispatched to the war, with four subjected to the notorious Field Punishment No. 1.

Dissent, a ten-minute audio-visual show produced by Story Inc., and funded by the Lottery Grants Board, gives The Great War Exhibition a chance to tell the stories of a different type of courage. The courage to oppose the war. The exhibition includes a replica of the Peace Action Wellington sculpture that was placed on Wellington’s waterfront on Anzac Day 2016.

Dissent isn’t just about conscientious objectors—it’s bigger than that,” says Exhibition Manager, Ian Wards.  “There were soldiers, iwi, religious groups and politicians that spoke out against the war.”

The Great War Exhibition General Manager, Dave Clearwater, says, “Our temporary exhibitions give us the opportunity to tell some of the lesser-known stories surrounding the Great War.”

Dissent featured on Radio New Zealand’s Checkpoint programme and Maori Television’s Te Kaea news show and in the Cook Strait News.

Passchendaele, the next temporary exhibition opens in early October.