Tag Archives: Temporary Exhibition

Cecil Manson at Gallipoli – The End of The War?

How Gallipoli brought a British soldier to New Zealand

Wairarapa Times Age reporter Steve Rendle interviewed Hugo Manson, one of our participants in The End of the War? and found out how his British father’s experience at Gallipoli influenced him into emigrating to New Zealand.

This is an excellent article about how Cecil saw the war — with great insight into his personal experiences and the way they shaped his life, and the lives of his family members.

Gallipoli holds a special place in the history of New Zealand. Masterton’s Hugo Manson heard first-hand from his father what it was like to be there.

“In effect, Gallipoli was his first job . . . and within an hour of his first job, the soldier next to him was shot dead.”

Masterton’s Hugo Manson is talking about his father – or, more accurately, his father’s experience of the World War I campaign regarded as a key part of nation-building for New Zealand.

But Cecil Manson wasn’t fighting with the Anzac troops – his British 2nd 4th Queens Surrey Regiment was operating over the hill from the New Zealanders and Australians on the Gallipoli Peninsula.

“But he met a lot of New Zealanders, and he was terribly impressed,” Hugo Manson recalls. “He thought they had an extremely free way of treating things and treating people.

The article also discusses Cecil’s contribution to the second world war, which Hugo, at the time, had understood was ‘administrative’. It wasn’t until years later, that Hugo discovered his father had been involved Bletchley Park, a British code-breaking center during the Second World War. Click here to see The Wairarapa Times Age article about Cecil’s  Manson’s service and the effect it had on his family.

Enjoy our You Tube teaser of Hugo’s story.

An audio-visual exhibition,  The End of The War? looks at the war-time experiences of nine people – men and women, Māori and Pākehā, Pasifika and Asian – and explores how the impact of their experiences has stretched through the generations, connecting these long-dead New Zealanders to their families 100 years on.

The End of the War? is created by Story Inc. and Dusk, and funded by the Lottery Grants Board. To see The End of the War? and book a guided tour of The Great War Exhibition or a Quinn’s Post Trench Experience, please click here.

First World War Descendants -The End of the War?

The End of the War? our new exhibition, created by Story Inc. and Dusk, shows the effect of the First World War on New Zealanders, and features interviews with descendants of people who had a variety of roles in the war—soldiers, patriotic supporters, conscientious objectors, politicians and nurses.

Lois Wilson, Vic Singe and Felicity Siemmens are three of the descendants featured in the show.

Vic and Felicity are the grandchildren of Victor Sing, who was one of the four ‘fighting Sings’—New Zealand-Irish-Chinese brothers who fought at The Western Front and The Somme. The brothers, Herbert, Albert (known as Victor), Robert and Arthur, were all living in Grey Lynn when they enlisted.

Herbert was a signaller on telephone duty during a bombardment when the telephone wire was repeatedly broken. Each time, Herbert went out to repair the wire, under fire, to keep the lines of communication open. He was recommended for the Distinguished Conduct Medal for deeds of exceptional bravery.

During the production of the show, Vic and Felicity learned of a letter that Private Albert Sing wrote home about his brother Herbert’s death.

Private Albert Sing wrote, It was only a few weeks previous… that Herbert made a name for himself in a strafe. He was on duty at the telephone when the wire was broken on three different occasions…. He was a great loss to us all and his comrades, for he had many, and was well liked. But it’s hard, Mother, to bear our loss bravely.”

Felicity Siemmens and Vic Singe outside The Great War Exhibition, which is currently screening The End of the War?, a show about the effects of the First World War on New Zealand families.

As Vic says in the show, “He was a ‘Fighting Sing’ till the end for sure, you know. And brave as, going out there and doing it.”

Many participants in The End of the War? mention the effects of the First World War on subsequent generations. Felicity explains, “They had help with their physical wounds, but their psychological wounds really remained. And remained, perhaps, down through the generations.”

The show gave Vic and Felicity the experience of seeing their relatives honoured, and having their story acknowledged in a public space.

Felicity says, “Story Inc has provided our family with a unique opportunity to remember a grandfather and an uncle in a very special way. Albert and Herbert are now being remembered and honoured. It was an honour to pay tribute to an uncle we never knew in the flesh. Pretty amazing … information has come to light in this WW1 Exhibition and shone a spotlight on the past.”

Read more about the fighting Sings here.

Lois Wilson is the niece-in-law of Louisa Higginson who served as a nurse in the First World War. Lois recently visited to see the show. It was quite an emotional experience for her.

Lois says, “Louisa was given the position of being in charge of a prisoner of war camp and they were German prisoners.”

Louisa wrote home, “I feel so disgusted and ashamed to think I have to nurse the Huns. This is what I paid my fare and came 16,000 miles for. It is a beautiful place and should be used for our boys.”

Lois commented, “But she would do her duty. And she did.”

Lois Wilson and her daughter Glenys. Lois is the great niece of Louisa Higginson, who served as a nurse in the First World War. Hugo Manson is pictured behind them, right, holding a photo of his father Cecil who served in Gallipoli.

Nowadays, attitudes to war are different. “With the stories we heard, we just wondered why they went. I often think, even now, I doubt that the males of the country would think of going to war now,” Lois says in The End of the War?

Read more about Louisa Higginson here.

Kate Manson, the script writer for Story Inc, whose father Hugo Manson and grandfather Cecil Manson (who served at Gallipoli) feature in the show, says being involved in writing the scripts and seeing the final product was an emotional experience. “There was a real connection with their families, discovering their ancestors and their stories and acknowledging what they did.”

The End of the War? is showing at The Great War Exhibition until doors close to the public at 6pm on December 2nd 2018. Book your guided tour or Trench Experience here.

Media Coverage of End of the War?

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.

NewsHub in action, Ben Irwin interviews Briar Barry and Steve LaHood of Story Inc. and Hugo Manson and Jack McDonald

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.

Radio Waatea interviewed Miria Pomare and Jack McDonald, both of Māori descent.

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? Opens Today

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.’”

Tui Tararo - the End of the War?
Tui Tararo, Private Frank Tararo’s granddaughter

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.”

 

NewsHub Jack McDonald The End of the War
Jack McDonald is interviewed by NewsHub

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.”

The End of the War?
NewsHub interview Briar Barry and Steve La Hood of StoryInc., and Hugo Manson and Jack McDonald

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.

Miria Pomare talks about the effects of World War One on her family
Miria Pomare talks about the effects of World War One on her family

“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.”

The End of The War
Sound Engineer Jeremy Cullen tweaks the sound in the final stages of preparation.

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.

Anne Frank Let Me Be Myself is Open

Anne Frank – Let Me Be Myself, the life story of Anne Frank, opened last night and will be showing until  July 2018. Run by the Holocaust Centre of New Zealand, this new exhibition and its accompanying educational programme aims to inform young people about Anne Frank and the Holocaust, and challenge them to explore subjects like identity, prejudice and discrimination.

“There is nothing more frightful than ignorance and prejudice in action,” said Wellington Mayor, Justin Lester, who officially opened the exhibition.

“No one in 1933 could have predicted the horror their country would experience. No one can predict the impact of fringe voices in society. It’s my job and your job, our job, to give nothing to racism. We must stand up to intolerance every time we see it.”

Mayor Justin Lester open Anne Frank Let Me Be Myself
Left to right: His Excellency, Dutch Ambassador, Robert Zaagman; His Worship Mayor of Wellington, Justin Lester; Chair, Anne Frank NZ, Boyd Klap; Chair, Holocaust Centre NZ, Jeremy Smith; His Excellency, German Ambassador, Gerhard Thiedemann; Director of Education, Holocaust Centre of New Zealand, Chris Harris.

Lester went on to praise the people of Wellington for their incredible tolerance and understanding, particularly of new migrants. But he emphasised that the positive reinforcement of this attitude must continue down the generations.

“This exhibition will illuminate, insight, and teach us to never forget and to learn from the horrors we have seen.”

Peer guides from Fiedling High School giving a tour to Mayor Justin Lester and other guests. Peers will guide school groups through the exhibition, helping youth understand the effects of discrimination.
Solveig Ramsay, from Tawa College, shows Dutch Ambassador, Rob Zaagman, a ‘Jood’ badge similar to the one Anne and her family would have be forced to wear.

The Anne Frank House launched this exhibition as the successor of the acclaimed exhibition, Anne Frank – a History for Today, which has been shown in 90 countries since 1995. The worldwide launch of Let Me Be Myself was in Canberra, Australia, in February 2015.

Anne Frank – Let Me Be Myself will run at the Dominion Museum Building, 15 Buckle Street, Wellington, between May 24th and July 22nd 2018.  The exhibition has no admission charge and is open to the public from 9am – 6pm daily. For more information, click here. To book a school group, please contact education@holocaustcentre.org.nz

War in the Holy Lands – Cook Strait News

Our latest touring exhibition, War in the Holy Lands featured in the Cook Strait News in late December. Reporter Jamie Adams interviewed James McLean, one of the creators from Story Inc., who co-produced War in the Holy Lands and many of our other touring exhibitions.

War in the Holy Lands runs until 20 February 2018 and shows a side of the Middle East that our soldiers never learned about in Sunday school. Read the article below or here.

 

Cook Strait - War in the Holy Lands
Jamie Adams interviews James McLean, whose silhouette is featured as General Allenby behind them in shadow play.

Passchendaele Exhibition in the News

Camera and Bayonet feature in Passchendaele Exhibition

Our new Passchendaele Exhibition, Passchendaele – New Zealand’s Darkest Day, has been in the news again. Both the Cook Strait News and Independent Herald ran stories about Jack Gradwell loaning his great-grandfather’s bayonet and camera to the Passchendaele  exhibition.

Despite multiple injuries and being gassed, Jacks great-grandfather, Captain George Gradwell, survived the horrors of Passchendaele, along with his camera and bayonet.

Passchendaele – New Zealand’s Darkest Day runs until December 2018 at The Great War Exhibition.

The front page Cook Strait News article is here and the Independent Herald article is here. Both articles are also below. The temporary exhibition is also covered on Radio NZ, Stuff and The NZ Herald.

Passchendaele Exhibition in Wellington

 

Horrors of Passchendaele on Stuff

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.”

Read the full article on Stuff, by clicking here.

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.

Darkest Day on Radio NZ Checkpoint

Today at the opening of our new Exhibition, Passchendaele – New Zealand’s Darkest Day, Radio New Zealand reporter Te Aniwa Hurihanganui  talked to Exhibition Manager Ian Wards about the Battle of Passchendaele.

“The reality was Passchendaele was awful,” Wards says, “and we would really like people to understand that, but also one of the main reasons why [The Great War Exhibition is] here is so we don’t do this kind of stuff again.”

The Battle of Passchendaele of 1917, included the darkest day in New Zealand’s military history. 843 soldiers were killed on 12 October 1917, the most on any single day of combat involving New Zealand troops.

The opening of the exhibition featured on John Campbell’s Checkpoint show at 5:48 p.m. tonight. Listen to the Radio NZ Checkpoint podcast here.

See the Radio NZ article here.

Photo: Radio New Zealand Reporter Te Aniwa Hurihanganui interviews the public at The Great War Exhibition.

Passchendaele – New Zealand’s Darkest Day runs until mid December 2017. Click here for more information.

Passchendaele Exhibition – NZ Herald

The New Zealand Herald visited our temporary Passchendaele exhibition this morning, and captured the essence of the exhibition on video.  Camera man Matt Mitchell talks with Steve La Hood, Director Story Inc. who spearheaded the team of companies that created the exhibition.

Steve says, “We explore the darker side of the war, less commemoration and more explanation of what really did go on. All of the dialogue you hear is verbatim. This is what people said, wrote or spoke about after the war.”

Quotes from diaries and letters have been recorded so visitors can hear the ‘voices’ of Passchndaele’s soldiers as glimpses of the battle flash across four screens.

Passchendaele – New Zealand’s Darkest Day is a new temporary exhibition about Kiwis’ experiences in the battle. The great grandson of one soldier describes the battle as “probably one of the most extreme human experiences one could ever imagine”.

Jack Gradwell has loaned his great grandfather’s bayonet and camera to the exhibition as a way of creating a more personal connection for visitors.

To see the NZ Herald’s video and article click here.

Photo: Mark Mitchell films Steve La Hood with Jack Gradwell, whose great-grandfather’s camera and bayonet are part of the Passchendaele exhibition.

Passchendaele – New Zealand’s Darkest Day runs until mid December 2017. Click here for more information.