Passchendaele – New Zealand’s Darkest Day

4 Oct 2017 – 10 Dec 2017

Passchendaele—New Zealand’s Darkest Day is a powerful new temporary exhibition about New Zealander’s experiences in the tragic Battle of Passchendaele. This audio-visual based exhibition portrays the disastrous events of October 12th 1917 at Passchendaele. Passchendaele—New Zealand’s Darkest Day also features original letters and military equipment loaned from Wellington families, whose forbears fought and died on that day.

The Battle of Passchendaele is a stark symbol of the mud, mayhem and slaughter of the First World War. In July 1917, the British launched a series of assaults against German forces who were holding the ridge on which the village of Passchendaele stood, overlooking the city of Ypres, Belgium. Hundreds of thousands of troops from both sides fought and died.

The tragedy of October 12th 1917 is considered the darkest day in New Zealand’s military history. This slaughter occurred within a few short hours, with 843 New Zealand men losing their lives and close to 2,000 more being wounded.

Introductory floor talks about Passchendaele will be held at The Great War Exhibition on:

  • Saturday 7th October, 11.30 am & 2.30 pm
  • Sunday 8th October 11.30 am & 2.30 pm
  • Thursday 12th October 11.00 am & 2.00 pm
  • You will view real gas shells fired at Passchendaele and other Passchendaele artefacts.
  • Talks for group bookings outside of these times can be made by arrangement. Please call our friendly staff on 04 978 2500 or email
  • There is no charge for these ten-minute floor talks and bookings are not essential, unless you’re bringing a large group.
  • You’re also welcome to book a guided tour of The Great War Exhibition, before or after your talk. Allow 50 minutes for the tour.

Click this link to find out more about the talks .

Passchendaele—New Zealand’s Darkest Day was produced by Story Inc. and Dusk, and funded by the Lottery Grants Board. The fourth of seven temporary exhibitions, the show gives The Great War Exhibition a chance to tell the lesser-known stories the First World War.

The exhibition runs from Wednesday October 4th until early December.

Click this link to see a Radio New Zealand article and podcast.

Click this link to for an article and video from the New Zealand Herald.

Click this link to see a Dominion Post article on

Passchendaele artillery mired in mud

Images, courtesy of Library and Archives Canada, Imperial War Museum and National Army Museum NZ.