Our new exhibition End of the War? – the final episode in Chapters of the Great War – opened on Thursday to acclaim from local and national media outlets.
Stuff reporter Amber Woolfe talked to Ashley Mackenzie-White who is the great grandniece of William Arthur Ham was the first New Zealand soldier killed in the First World War. Click here to see their interview.
Ben Irwin of NewsHub interviewed Steve La Hood of Story Inc, who created the seven Chapters of The Great War; and also talked to Jack McDonald, great grandson of Archibald Baxter, a conscientious objector from the First World War; and to Hugo Manson, the son of Cecil Manson, who was in Gallipoli at 19 years of age.
Frances Cook and Matt Mitchell of the New Zealand Herald spoke with Miria Pomare, great granddaughter of Māori Member of Parliament Sir Maui Pomare and his influential wife Lady Miria who supported the Māori and Pacific Islands contribution to the war. Their interview is here.
Radio New Zealand reporter Ruth Hill discusses the effect of the First World War on families with Tui Tararo, granddaughter of Private Frank Tararo, a Cook Islander who lost an arm fighting in the Māori battalion. Please click here to read the article.
The final episode in Chapters of the Great War – created by Story Inc and Dusk – is open from 26 July to late November at The Great War Exhibition. To book general admission to the main exhibition, a guided tour, a Quinn’s Post Trench Experience, or a combo ticket for all three, please click here.
The End of the War? our new audio-visual exhibition showcasing the effect of the First World War on New Zealanders opened today. This final episode in Chapters of the Great War – created by Story Inc and Dusk – was conceived as an inter-generational conversation about the war. The descendants of eight New Zealanders who were involved in the First World War in different ways talk about its impact on their ancestors, and on the generations that followed.
Today, national media attended the opening and interviewed some of the show participants about their experiences.
Ashley Mackenzie-White, whose great granduncle William Arthur Ham was the first New Zealand soldier killed in the First World War (in the Middle East) is one of the eight descendants who speaks in the show. Here’s short snippet of her contribution.
The End of the War? looks at the war-time experiences of men and women, Māori, Pākehā, Pasifika and Asian. The feelings engendered by the war are as varied as the experiences of those who lived it — nurses, ambulance drivers, patriotic supporters, conscientious objectors, wounded soldiers and those killed in action.
Private Frank William Tararo from the Cook Islands served in the Maori battalion and lost an arm. He was the only one of 500 to return to the islands after the war. His granddaughter, Tui Tararo, says, “I have to think about my sons and my daughter. I would probably be the parent that would be standing there saying ‘No, this is not our war.’”
New Zealand’s most famous conscientious objector, Archibald Baxter was one of four New Zealand pacifists who were physically forced to go to the front. His great-grandson Jack Baxter comments, “I’ve always found ANZAC Day quite challenging growing up… and that’s not because I don’t think that we should be remembering or commemorating World War One — I absolutely think we should be, to learn those lessons.”
Hugo Manson, son of Cecil Manson, who was only 19 years old at Gallipoli, reflects upon his father’s experience. “Not to go, is not to support, or not to be helping, what a lot of other people have no choice being a part of.”
Māori Member of Parliament Sir Maui Pomare and his influential wife Lady Miria were at the forefront of the Māori and Pacific Islands contribution to the war. Sir Maui was Chairman of the Maori Recruiting Board responsible for recruiting the Māori Battalion, and visited the Cook Islands to recruit the Rarotongan Contingent. Lady Miria launched the Maori Soldiers’ Fund in 1915, which provided comforts to Māori soldiers overseas.
“I’m sure there were regrets,” her great-granddaughter, Miria Pomare says. “She had a real empathy, as Sir Maui did, with the Waikato people, the Taranaki people — his people — who struggled with the notion of sending their sons to fight a pākehā war on the other side of the world. When those lists of Māori deaths were first released, I think that she and Maui would have felt a very very personal and deep sense of loss.”
Story Inc.’s blog post about the exhibition is here.
Leading up to commemorations of Armistice Day in November, this exhibition is a reminder that although the Great War ended, its effect on New Zealand society did not.
The End of the War? runs until late November 2018. To book general admission to the main exhibition, a guided tour, a Quinn’s Post Trench Experience, or a combo ticket for all three, please click here.
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.
Dominion Post reporters visited the opening of Passchendaele – New Zealand’s Darkest Day, and described the latest in The Great War Exhibitions series of temporary exhibitions, as “encapsulating the horrors of Passchendaele.”
Horrors of Passchendaele
Jessica Long reports online, on Stuff: “Five screens encapsulating the horrors of Passchendaele have brought the battle to life inside the Dominion Museum [Building] as the centenary commemorations of ‘New Zealand’s Darkest Day’ approach.”
“The temporary exhibition combines shocking images of the dead and wounded, and of the harrowing conditions in the muddy fields of Belgium, along with with words from soldiers’ letters and diaries,” she reports.
“The sounds of explosions hit the ground within the exhibition room as a virtual screen depicts the muddy ground.”
She interviewed Jack Gradwell, who loaned a bayonet and 1913 Kodak camera, which survived Passcehdaele with his great-grandfather, Captain George Gradwell.
Jessica writes, “The captain’s great-grandson, Jack Gradwell of Wellington, said George miraculously survived Passchendaele but suffered for the rest of his life, having been gassed, buried alive and had his skull fractured during the war.”
Learn about Passchendaele talks, Passchendaele – New Zealand’s Darkest Day, and other Passchedaele-related displays at The Great War Exhibition by clicking here.
Banner Photo: Kevin Stent of Stuff photographs Ian Wards, exhibition manager at The Great War Exhibition, with a mustard gas shell that was fired at the Battle of Passchendaele – on loan from the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917, in Belgium.
This is one of two gas shells that will be available for viewing during Passchendaele talks on October 7, 8 and 12. For more information, click here.
Passchendaele – New Zealand’s Darkest Day is a temporary exhibition funded by the Lottery Grants Board and created by Story Inc. (concept), Dusk (visual imagery), Toulouse (technology) and sound engineer, Jeremy Cullen.
Passchendaele – New Zealand’s Darkest Day runs until early December 2017.
The Great War Exhibition, run by the National Military Heritage Trust, was initially opened for the duration of the First World War centenary celebrations, until November 2018. The Dominion Post recently queried the possibility of an extension past this date.
General manager, Dave Clearwater, would be thrilled if the exhibition was extended. He said an extension beyond 2018 was under consideration, although there has been no clear indication either way.