Tag 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.

Staff on Secondment to MCH

One of our enthusiastic tours guides, Fin Hay, is on secondment to The Ministry for Culture and Heritage as an educator. Fin is temporarily filling the role of a ministry staff member, who is overseas on holiday and undertaking professional development. As part of his role, he helps students understand the effect of the First World War in shaping New Zealand, and the hardship, heroism and tragedy of the war.

Fin, who has worked at The Great War Exhibition since it opened in April 2015, particularly enjoys tours with school children and youth. “One of my favourite tours was with a group of at-risk high school students from Porirua,” he says. “We had a great tour, and at the end, one of the girls said to me, ‘When I leave school I’m going to study history. You inspired me Sir.’ That made me smile for a long time!”

Fin holds a Bachelor of Arts in History, Political Science and Film and has been working in history-related fields for the last four years at Archives New Zealand and The Great War Exhibition, and now the Ministry for Culture and Heritage. In his spare time, Fin likes great movies, enjoys supporting the Wellington Phoenix and playing Battlefield 1, a World War one video game.

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