Tag Archives: War Memorials

Open 6:30am on ANZAC Day in Wellington

This ANZAC Day in Wellington, The Great War Exhibition will open at 6:30 a.m. to welcome visitors who have attended the 6 a.m. memorial service at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park, next door.

A full list of ANZAC memorial services is available at The Ministry of Culture and Heritage and the Wellington City Council.  After attending memorial services for our ANZAC troops, visitors are welcome to explore The Great War Exhibition at their leisure.

We have a variety of attractions with the Exhibition, including:

We welcome you to explore an important part of New Zealand’s history.

 

German Tapestry by Stephan Schenk on Display

 Flandern aus dem Zyklus Kreuzweg von Stephan Schenk. Geschenk von der deutschen Bundesregierung.

Flanders from the Kreuzweg Cycle by Stephan Schenk. A gift from the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany.

The German government have donated a memorial tapestry to the New Zealand government as their nation’s contribution to Pukeahu National War Memorial Park. This artwork is now displayed in the foyer of The Great War Exhibition.

The gift of the tapestry is significant  — a symbol of reconciliation following the two world wars and represents the changed nature of the relationship between New Zealand and Germany encompassing trade, education and culture.

German WW1 Memorial
President of the Federal Republic of Germany His Excellency Dr Steinmeier laying a wreath alongside his wife Ms Elke Büdenbender and the Minister of Defence Ron Mark

In November 2017, the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, His Excellency, Dr Frank-Walter Steinmeier made a State visit to New Zealand and unveiled a memorial tapestry gifted to New Zealand on behalf of the people of Germany.

The tapestry, titled Flandern (Flanders), is part of the Kreuzweg (Crossroads) series, based on photographs of fourteen First World War battlefield sites in northern France, Belgium, East Prussia, Galicia, Turkey and Slovenia, as well as Tsingtau (China) and Tanga (Tanzania). These tapestries were created to remember the victims of the “primal catastrophe of the 20th century”.

“[This work is] a reminder of the untold misery and horror and was created to remember the victims of this inconceivable catastrophe of the twentieth century.”

— Stephan Schenk, artist.

German Tapestry at Great War Exhibition
His Excellency Gerhard Thiedermann, Ambassador (right), and staff of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany with Flandern, by Stephan Schenk

Conscious of the difficulty in representing the senseless deaths of millions of people, the pictures display a very small part of the earth’s surface, with soil, plants and stones or the rippling surface of the sea. Each tapestry is the size of one grave site.

These few square metres, once soaked with the blood of thousands of soldiers, also provide a focus for remembering single, individual destinies.

Flandern, a German memorial tapestry housed at The Great War Exhibition

Detailed image of a small section of Flandern by Stephan Schenk

“The woven work shows closely observed details of the natural terrain: leaves twigs, earth, grass, water. Nothing here betrays that we are seeing something extraordinary or spectacular.”

Conscious of the difficulty in representing the senseless deaths of millions of people, the pictures display a very small part of the earth’s surface, with soil, plants and stones or the rippling surface of the sea. Each tapestry is the size of one grave site.

Kreuzweg is based on a fundamental conundrum: How to represent the madness of war and visualize its inconceivability. The work has been created to make that which is neither seen, nor visible, emotionally present.

Stephan Schenk mostly works on long-term photography projects. He often travels to places in different countries in order to examine certain aspects in a conceptual way. These ‘Crossroads’ works have been on view at the Fotostiftung Schweiz in Winterthur, Switzerland, and Galerie m Bochum in 2014, at the Dommuseum Hildesheim in 2015 and at the Mauermahnmal in Berlin in 2016.

View the 14 works from the Kreuzweg (Crossroads) series here. Flandern will be on display for the tenure of The Great War Exhibition.

1000th Last Post Ceremony Today

1000th Last Post Ceremony Tonight

Our neighbours at the Pukeahu National War Memorial, will hold the 1000th Last Post ceremony today, at 5pm, Thursday 18 January 2018. To mark this occasion, the Chief of Defence Force, Lieutenant General Tim Keating and Minister of Defence Hon Ron Mark will read the Odes of Remembrance.

The stories of five servicemen  — Rifleman Horatio Beechey, Private Ernest Cook, Private Ernest Sharman, Captain Charles Ward and Rifleman Harold Winwood — who died on this day 100 years ago, will also be read.

Many dignitaries will be attending, including:

  • Hon Grant Roberston, Associate Minister for Arts, Culture & Heritage
  • Hon Ron Mark, Minister of Defence
  • David Ledson, Chair, National War Memorial Advisory Council
  • Jack Steer, Chief Executive, Returned and Services Association
  • Paul James, Chief Executive, Manatu Taonga
  • Brodie Stubbs, Manager, Memorials & Taonga
  • Paul Riley, Curator, National War Memorial

Last Post ceremonies are held each evening in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior. The public are usually invited to participate in the Last Post ceremony by reading the Ode of Remembrance or playing the bugle. The service includes lowering the two New Zealand flags, playing the Last Post, the observation of one minute’s silence and the Ode of Remembrance in Māori and English.

Manatū Taonga and WW100′ s full media release is available here.  Stuff also features an article about this occasion.

Lochnagar Crater Today Feature

Our Exhibition recently appeared in an article in Lochnagar Crater Today, a newsletter produced by the Friends of Lochnagar, who maintain the extraordinary crater at La Boisselle on the Western Front on the Somme.

The article, From Little Towns in a Far Land, mentions war memorials and commemorative events in New Zealand, and was written by editor, Rob Kirk, who was in New Zealand earlier this year.

The article states,  “Many visitors head for the big museums in the cities. The capital city of Wellington, for example, has two major exhibitions. One is created by Sir Peter Jackson, the Lord of the Rings director. It’s at the Dominion Museum Building and is called The Great War Exhibition. It’s staged with filmic panache, with life-like tableaux showing a horse artillery unit trailing a field gun, a heavy gun battery, a tank crossing a German trench, and an Allied trench scene.”

“In one gallery, you walk over a glass case in the floor containing ‘soil from Longueval’, from the fields where 6,000 troops from the New Zealand Division tasted their first combat in France at Delville and High Woods, and the successful attack on Flers. 600 died, including 52 from the Maori Pioneer Battalion.”

The article also mentions Gallipoli: the Scale of Our War, at Te Papa Tongarewa (The Museum of New Zealand ), which is within easy walking distance of The Great War Exhibition.

Friends of Lochnagar Crater keep the crater site as a place of remembrance, reconciliation and peace. For more information about Lochnagar Crater, click here.

Boris Johnson at The Great War Exhibition

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson visited The Great War Exhibition yesterday after unveiling the British war memorial at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park. Upon completion of the unveiling and the laying of wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior, Mr. Johnson and British High Commissioner Jonathan Sinclair, along with invited dignitaries, attended a cocktail function at The Great War Exhibition.

Mr. Johnson’s party toured the exhibition, hosted by Lieutenant General (retired) Rhys Jones, a trustee of the National Military Heritage Charitable Trust, which runs The Great War Exhibition.

Mr. Johnson enjoyed his tour, making favourable comments about the high standard of the exhibition.

The Ministry of Culture and Heritage’s report about Mr Johnson unveiling the British Memorial is here. The NZ Herald’s article is here.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson visited The Great War Exhibition after unveiling the British War memorial at Pukeahu, New Zealand's National War Memorial Park.
British High Commissioner Jonathan Sinclair (left) and British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson are hosted by Lieutenant General (retired) Rhys Jones at The Great War Exhibition.
Boris Johnson at The Great War Exhibition
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson addresses invited dignitaries.