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.