Category Archives: General News

Behind The Quinn’s Post Trench Experience

Dan King, the project manager and art director behind The Quinn’s Post Trench Experience, spent 18 months on the job, ensuring The Trench was as authentic as possible, so visitors are able to experience what it was like to be in the dangerous trenches of Gallipoli in 1915.

Dan, a Carterton resident,  talks to reporter Steve Rendle of the Wairarapa Times Age  about his experiences, which involved shooting machine guns, weighing wet plaster (to conform to the building’s weight restrictions) and working with Sir Peter Jackson, whose attention to detail enabled the crew to “make this the closest thing to being there.”

For more about this exciting view behind the Quinn’s Post Trench Experience, see the full news article here.

To find out more about The Trench Experience, please click here. To make a booking for The Quinn’s Post Trench Experience, please click here.

Dan King - project manager and art director behind the Quinn's Post Trench Experience
Dan King in The Quinn’s Post Trench Experience, with replicas of boxes used at Gallipoli for explosives and biscuits.



Opening – Sir Peter Jackson’s Quinn’s Post Trench Experience

The Quinn’s Post Trench Experience officially opened in mid April and we’ve been swept off our feet with visitors keen to experience the sights, sounds and noises of the trenches in Gallipoli (courtesy of Sir Peter Jackson and his creative team at WingNut).

Now that we have a moment to catch our breath, we’d like to share some of our photos and media coverage of The Trench.

The Hon. Grant Robertosn, Peter Parussini (ANZ), Turkish Ambassador His Excellency Ahmet Ergin, The Hon. Ron Mark, Trustee Lt. Gen. (ret) Rhys Jones and Sir Peter Jackson in front of the exit from The Quinn’s Post Trench Experience.


Governor General, The Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy with Sir Peter Jackson
Chairperson of the National Military Heritage Trust, Dame Fran Wilde, with The Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy and Trustee Richard Austin.
His Worship Mayor Justin Lester with General Manager of The Great War Exhibition, Dave Clearwater.
Inside The Trench with actors Jed Brophy and Mark Hadlow, who sometimes undertook 21-hour shoots to capture the footage for The Quinn’s Post Trench Experience. The ‘ghost’ of Lt. Colonel Malone is commanding his troops in the background.
Mark and Jed explore The Trench.
Mark Mitchell of the New Zealand Herald captures footage in the close confines of The Trench.

News links are available here

Actors Jed Brophy and Darren Young join actor and photographer Dean O’Gorman, who has staged realistic new photographs of Passchendaele for his new exhibition Passchendaele – The Elusive Familiarity of War. This exhibition was installed on the day The Trench opened. For more info see this page.

Open 6:30am on ANZAC Day in Wellington

This ANZAC Day in Wellington, The Great War Exhibition will open at 6:30 a.m. to welcome visitors who have attended the 6 a.m. memorial service at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park, next door.

A full list of ANZAC memorial services is available at The Ministry of Culture and Heritage and the Wellington City Council.  After attending memorial services for our ANZAC troops, visitors are welcome to explore The Great War Exhibition at their leisure.

We have a variety of attractions with the Exhibition, including:

We welcome you to explore an important part of New Zealand’s history.


TV3, DomPost and NZ Herald in The Trench

The Quinn’s Post Trench Experience (a.k.a The Trench) opened on 14 April.

A world-first sensory experience created by Sir Peter Jackson’s team, The Trench gives us a glimpse of wartime life. Visitors have been flooding through the door to experience what our troops in Gallipoli lived through, back in 1915.

“It was mind blowing, so real.  A unique experience that gives me an idea of what our boys went through.”

— Mark, Whangarei

Live moment to moment, as the ANZAC troops did in the trenches at Gallipoli, only a bomb’s throw away from the Turks. In this unique re-creation of Quinn’s Post, encounter the noise, the explosions, the stench, the confined environment those men had to deal with during the ferocious struggle between opposing forces. At times confronting, this will be an experience like no other!

National media covered the opening. Please see Sir Peter Jackson’s interview on TV3, or the articles and videos at Stuff, and NZ Herald.

The Trench Experience may be booked as a stand-alone option, however, our combo deal is the best way to experience The Great War Exhibition and Quinn’s Post Trench Experience. Our combo includes admission, a 45-minute guided tour from one of our knowledgeable guides and the 30-minute sensory experience within The Trench.

The Quinn’s Post Trench sensory experience may not be suitable for all visitors.

Book a Tour or Find Out More

Driving First World War Ambulances

Deborah Pitts Taylor was ahead of her time. A woman who believed in female empowerment, she drove First World War ambulances in Brockenhurst, England, transporting convoys of wounded ANZAC soldiers to the hospital.

Her granddaughter Dr. Janet Frater and great-granddaughter Deborah Rose, (named after Deborah Pitts Taylor) recently visited The Great War Exhibition to see Women’s War, which highlights Deborah’s contribution to the war.

Janet lived with Deborah as a child, and says that Deborah’s determination to help in the war and do a “man’s job” has empowered her female ancestors. Janet grew up knowing women could do anything, and went on to study medicine at a time when she was one of only 12 women in her class of 60.

The New Zealand Herald interviewed Janet about her Deborah’s contribution to the First Word War, her influence on their family, and the ties they still nurture with the village of Brockenhurst. Please read their article here.

First World War ambulance
Deborah, who drove first world war ambulances, in Brockenhurst during the First World War. (Image courtesy of Auckland War Memorial Museum).

For more information about Women’s War, which closes in mid May, click here.

This stained glass window in St Nicholas church in Brockenhurst depicts the strong ties the Brockenhusrt community formed with New Zealand soldiers.

Women’s War – NZ Women’s Weekly, Cook Strait News & Regional News

This week’s New Zealand Women’s Weekly features a story about Susanna Montgomerie who is one of the co-editor’s of Annie’s War, which features extracts from the diary of Annie Montgomerie, Susanna’s grandmother who traveled to London to be near her sons when they served in the First World War.

Women's War in Women's WeeklyThe full New Zealand Women’s Weekly article is now available online: click here.

Woman’s War also featured in the Cook Strait News (below, page 3) and in the  Regional News (Front cover and page 3) here.


Women’s War was Annie’s War

Our new touring exhibition, Women’s War, draws upon the experiences of New Zealand Women who lived through the First World War, responding to the war as workers, supportive family members, patriots, nurses, entertainers or pioneers.

Annie Montgomerie had two sons, Oswald and Seton, who wanted to serve as pilots, which meant enlisting in Britain. She moved to London, keeping a diary of her experiences, and faced Zeppelin attacks and suffered in the influenza epidemic.

Her granddaughter Susanna Montgomerie Norris is a teacher and librarian with an interest in history, and knew Annie’s diaries were a treasure trove of information about life in the war. She spent five years with her husband, Michael, transcribing Annie’s experiences in war-torn London.

Excerpts of Annie’s dairies were published in Annie’s War (Otago University Press, edited by Anna Rogers and Susanna Montgomerie Norris) in 2014.

Annie's War Otago University Press

Briar Barry of Story Inc. (the creators of Women’s War) said, “We wanted the show to be about women, using women’s voices, so when our scriptwriter, Katie, found Annie’s War, we got in touch with Susanna about using quotes from Annie.”

One of the quotes in the show:

“Tuesday 12 June, 1917: Went off to Pall Mall. Got a table quite near one Princess Beatrice of Battenberg and her party sat at, and we had a good view of them all the time. She is no looker but a lot of her party were worse.”

Susanna enjoyed Women’s War. “I was very excited. It’s amazing what they’ve picked out. That quote about princess Beatrice was Granny all over. She could be quite brutal. She’d let fly with her opinions about the war and the generals and get everyone stirred up.”

Susanna says Annie felt for the young New Zealand soldiers so far away from home. “She gave each young soldier a kiss for their mother before they left.”

Ian Wards, Exhibitions Manager at The Great War Exhibition, says, “So much of this war story has been told through the eyes and ears of men, so it is great to acknowledge, see and hear the experiences of women in the war.”

Women’s War runs until 19 May 2018. More information about Women’s War is here. For information about Annie’s War, click here.

Annie Montgomerie of Annie's War, features in The Great War Exhibition's touring exhibition Women's War
Susanna Montgomerie Norris, Briar Barry (Story Inc.) and Susanna’s husband, Michael. Susanna is holding a copy of Annie’s War

Women’s War on TVNZ, Stuff & Radio NZ

Women’s War, our latest touring exhibition, opened last Friday and the response from national media has been positive.

Television New Zealand summarises the content of the exhibition:

“The Great War exhibition features clothing worn by the women of the era and is accompanied by short videos accounting their experiences using excerpts from their letters and diaries.”

The use of a dynamic audio-visual show brings these excerpts of diaries and letters to life.


Radio New Zealand explains the various roles covered by the exhibition:

“Women’s War gives voice to their experiences, utilising cutting-edge audio-visual technology and recreations of outfits that were worn by six types of women-patriotic, supportive family, nurses, entertainers, independent workers and pioneers.

“Fiona Baverstock, an Australian private collector of textiles and vintage clothing, who created the costumes, said women brought “a can-do” practicality to the war effort and fashion.”

The Dominion Post reports:

“Kiwi women rallied to face the challenges left by the absence of men but they were also alongside the troops, driving ambulances and tending to the wounded – experiencing the ghastly reality of war in a different way.”

View the Television New Zealand video clip here, read what Radio New Zealand reported here and read the Dominion Post Stuff article here.

Women’s War runs until 19 May 2018. For more information, click here.

German Tapestry by Stephan Schenk on Display

 Flandern aus dem Zyklus Kreuzweg von Stephan Schenk. Geschenk von der deutschen Bundesregierung.

Flanders from the Kreuzweg Cycle by Stephan Schenk. A gift from the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany.

The German government have donated a memorial tapestry to the New Zealand government as their nation’s contribution to Pukeahu National War Memorial Park. This artwork is now displayed in the foyer of The Great War Exhibition.

The gift of the tapestry is significant  — a symbol of reconciliation following the two world wars and represents the changed nature of the relationship between New Zealand and Germany encompassing trade, education and culture.

German WW1 Memorial
President of the Federal Republic of Germany His Excellency Dr Steinmeier laying a wreath alongside his wife Ms Elke Büdenbender and the Minister of Defence Ron Mark

In November 2017, the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, His Excellency, Dr Frank-Walter Steinmeier made a State visit to New Zealand and unveiled a memorial tapestry gifted to New Zealand on behalf of the people of Germany.

The tapestry, titled Flandern (Flanders), is part of the Kreuzweg (Crossroads) series, based on photographs of fourteen First World War battlefield sites in northern France, Belgium, East Prussia, Galicia, Turkey and Slovenia, as well as Tsingtau (China) and Tanga (Tanzania). These tapestries were created to remember the victims of the “primal catastrophe of the 20th century”.

“[This work is] a reminder of the untold misery and horror and was created to remember the victims of this inconceivable catastrophe of the twentieth century.”

— Stephan Schenk, artist.

German Tapestry at Great War Exhibition
His Excellency Gerhard Thiedermann, Ambassador (right), and staff of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany with Flandern, by Stephan Schenk

Conscious of the difficulty in representing the senseless deaths of millions of people, the pictures display a very small part of the earth’s surface, with soil, plants and stones or the rippling surface of the sea. Each tapestry is the size of one grave site.

These few square metres, once soaked with the blood of thousands of soldiers, also provide a focus for remembering single, individual destinies.

Flandern, a German memorial tapestry housed at The Great War Exhibition

Detailed image of a small section of Flandern by Stephan Schenk

“The woven work shows closely observed details of the natural terrain: leaves twigs, earth, grass, water. Nothing here betrays that we are seeing something extraordinary or spectacular.”

Conscious of the difficulty in representing the senseless deaths of millions of people, the pictures display a very small part of the earth’s surface, with soil, plants and stones or the rippling surface of the sea. Each tapestry is the size of one grave site.

Kreuzweg is based on a fundamental conundrum: How to represent the madness of war and visualize its inconceivability. The work has been created to make that which is neither seen, nor visible, emotionally present.

Stephan Schenk mostly works on long-term photography projects. He often travels to places in different countries in order to examine certain aspects in a conceptual way. These ‘Crossroads’ works have been on view at the Fotostiftung Schweiz in Winterthur, Switzerland, and Galerie m Bochum in 2014, at the Dommuseum Hildesheim in 2015 and at the Mauermahnmal in Berlin in 2016.

View the 14 works from the Kreuzweg (Crossroads) series here. Flandern will be on display for the tenure of The Great War Exhibition.

1000th Last Post Ceremony Today

1000th Last Post Ceremony Tonight

Our neighbours at the Pukeahu National War Memorial, will hold the 1000th Last Post ceremony today, at 5pm, Thursday 18 January 2018. To mark this occasion, the Chief of Defence Force, Lieutenant General Tim Keating and Minister of Defence Hon Ron Mark will read the Odes of Remembrance.

The stories of five servicemen  — Rifleman Horatio Beechey, Private Ernest Cook, Private Ernest Sharman, Captain Charles Ward and Rifleman Harold Winwood — who died on this day 100 years ago, will also be read.

Many dignitaries will be attending, including:

  • Hon Grant Roberston, Associate Minister for Arts, Culture & Heritage
  • Hon Ron Mark, Minister of Defence
  • David Ledson, Chair, National War Memorial Advisory Council
  • Jack Steer, Chief Executive, Returned and Services Association
  • Paul James, Chief Executive, Manatu Taonga
  • Brodie Stubbs, Manager, Memorials & Taonga
  • Paul Riley, Curator, National War Memorial

Last Post ceremonies are held each evening in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior. The public are usually invited to participate in the Last Post ceremony by reading the Ode of Remembrance or playing the bugle. The service includes lowering the two New Zealand flags, playing the Last Post, the observation of one minute’s silence and the Ode of Remembrance in Māori and English.

Manatū Taonga and WW100′ s full media release is available here.  Stuff also features an article about this occasion.