Category Archives: Education

Tauhara College Students Connect with First World War

When year nine students from Tauhara College recently visited the Great War Exhibition, the devastation of the First World War hit home, especially for those whose family members had served in the war.  The students were featured in this article in the Taupo Times, their local newspaper (page 46 from this link).

Taupo Times Tauhara College


Tauhara College student Paul Taylor related to the exhibition, because his great-grandfather, David Taylor, served in the war. “I really, really enjoyed the exhibition,” Paul says. “It was really emotional.”

Their fellow student, Katie Lambert, says, “The photos really show what they went through, but in real colour. This exhibition shows us how many people served the country, for us, to keep the peace.” The rapid pace of technological development during the war also impressed Katie.  “I liked how the war developed the weapons. Eight bullets per second is a massive feat. It’s bad, but the technology changed so fast, it was amazing.”

Tom Speedy agrees. “And I also liked the ingenuity the New Zealanders had during the war. They made makeshift grenades and extended rifles out of pistols.”

Paul was saddened at stories told by their exhibition educator, demonstrating the tragedy of war. “Like that kid we learned about who signed up for Gallipoli when he was twelve and lied about his age because of propaganda.”

Paul sums up the exhibition perfectly. “Sir Peter Jackson shows this so well in a nice, safe environment for education of generations to come. The Great War Exhibition shows the lengths humans will go to, to survive in any situation.”

The Taupo Times article is on page 46 here.

Greymouth High Educational Tour

A Greymouth High educational tour at The Great War Exhibition was recently featured in the Greymouth Star. When the history class visited, guided by an educator, the students saw, up close, how soldiers lived and felt the impact of conditions in the First World War,

Their teacher, Kimberley Vernall, says, “It’s a great chance for students to see a different side of World War One … and follow the life of a soldier through battle and war.”

“I like the artefacts,” says year thirteen student Blake Shaw. “The best were the gas masks and the big shells.”

The original gas masks in the war needed to be taken off to change the filters, which often resulted in soldiers dying. In lieu of a gas mask, soldiers would often use a cloth soaked in urine, which was effective in combating the effects of gas.

The exhibition helped the students appreciate how lucky they are today. “Being a youth and being involved in something like this is quite an amazing experience,” Blake says, “because it gives you a perspective on how people our age actually went into war.

Nikita Gagiano agrees. “I guess I’m pretty lucky,” she says.

“They were probably more willing to fight and die for their country,” Blake says. “More than we would be now.”

The article form the Greymouth Star is below, and also appeared in the West Coast Messenger.

Image above: Greymouth High teacher Kimberly Vernall (left) with students (left to right), Blake Shaw, Zeb Markland, Nikita Gagiano.

Greymouth High on an education tour at The Great War Exhibition

St Bede’s Meet Old Boy Captain Peoples

When a year-thirteen history class from St Bede’s College took an education tour at The Great War Exhibition in Wellington, they didn’t expect to meet Captain Gerard Peoples, an ex-St Bede’s student serving within the New Zealand Army. Captain Peoples was at the neighbouring Pukeahu National War Memorial Park as part of the centenary commemoration of the Battle of Messines.

“It was good to catch up with boys who are young, energetic and interested in learning about our history,” Captain Peoples says. “The exhibition is well done, very detailed, and gives people insight into the progression of war, and the attitude at the time—that it would be over by Christmas—although it dragged on in harsh reality.”

“The Great War Exhibition is good, because it’s so confronting and doesn’t sugar coat anything,” student Will Connell says. “Previous stuff had a tendency to do this, so, for young New Zealanders, some of the war gets lost in translation. Coming here has reinforced the stark reality of war for us.”

St Bede’s history teacher, Callum Wilson agrees. “This exhibition makes them aware of war, and fires their imaginations about the effects and impacts of war.”

Education tours can be booked here.

Their meeting featured in the Christchurch Mail (on page 12) here.

Stratford High Education Tour

When a year-thirteen class from Stratford High visited The Great War Exhibition in Wellington recently, the students got more than they’d bargained for. In preparation for their NCEA level three history internals, the students were researching milestones in New Zealand history. While participating in an education tour, they learned about local Taranaki First World War officer, Lieutenant Colonel Malone, and were left with a lasting impression of the devastation and tragedy of war.

“It’s my first time here,” said Riley Mackintosh. “It puts everything in perspective. Their conditions weren’t great. They [Malone and his soldiers] were pretty uncomfortable. Their food doesn’t look that appetising, and seeing the death lists really hits home.”

Daniel Kerr and Christel Broadmore, teachers from Stratford High, were pleased at the class response. “This is my second time coming, and it’s just as amazing as the first,” Ms Broadmore said. “Every young person in New Zealand needs to learn about this history.”

Their story was featured in the Taranaki Star and here, on

Photo, left to right: David Foote, Riley Mackintosh, Macey Murray,  Paytn Cameron, Christel Broadmore (teacher), Grace Burroughs on their education tour with a photo of Lieutenant Colonel Malone in his dugout.