Commemorate Anzac Day 2017 at Auckland War Memorial Museum
2017 marks 100 years since the battles of The Western Front. 2000 New Zealanders were killed and thousands were wounded in the battles for Messines and Passchendaele.
New Zealand sent more men to fight in the First World War per head of population than any other nation. Of those killed, almost a third were buried half a world away in unmarked graves. Following the war, subscriptions were raised to construct the Auckland War Memorial Museum.
The Auckland War Memorial Museum opened in 1929 and became a symbolic meeting-place for Aucklanders to honour and commemorate the fallen. The 2017 Dawn Service will be held on the Court of Honour at 6am and the Civic Service begins at 11am, on Tuesday 25 April.
Auckland War Memorial Museum’s Director, Dr. David Gaimster, says “New Zealand’s 1917 war experience included key military engagements on the Western Front: The Battles of Arras, Messines, Ypres, Gravenstafel and Passchendaele. The significant loss of life in these gruelling battles impacted families, communities, workplaces and schools here at home,” he says.
“As the War Memorial for Auckland, we welcome Aucklanders to discover their connection on Anzac Day and explore the Anzac story inside with a full programme of performances, special guided tours and activities. Lay a virtual poppy online on our interactive database, He Toa Taumata Rau, Online Cenotaph, from home or in our newly opened Memorial Discovery Centre, Pou Maumahara.
“Bring in family medals to He Pou Aroha, our Community Cenotaph, where staff will help you add a record of these to our Online Cenotaph database and contribute to New Zealand’s record of all men & women who served our country,” he says.
The Museum’s Anzac commemorations begin from Saturday April 22 with Illuminate, where archival footage is projected on the Northern façade for three nights leading up to Anzac Day. View rarely seen footage from the Western Front, along with the first ever conscription ballot taking place, follow the work of the medical corps, and see footage from an All Blacks rugby team playing France during wartime.
Following the Dawn Service on Anzac Day, the Museum has a full programme of activities themed on youth, who will guide our path to future peace. Hear from the One Tree Hill College Chorale and Auckland Youth Choir after the Dawn Service in the morning, and listen to young musicians from the Play it Strange school programme present their Peace Songs at midday, the annual song-writing competition on the theme of peace and what it means to them.
John Psathas’ acclaimed film No Man’s Land will screen at 7.30am, 9am and 1.30pm. The project brings together the descendants of opposing forces and reunites them on the battlefields of WWI in friendship and musical solidarity. Hear John Psathas talk about the process at the 1.30pm screening.
Explore the experiences of New Zealand servicemen and women in our recently opened Memorial Discovery Centre, Pou Maumahara or share information on your family history and lay a virtual poppy on our interactive database, He Toa Taumata Rau, Online Cenotaph.
Free tours of the war galleries will run all day, and entry and all events are free to all. The Museum is open directly following the Dawn Service at 6.00am. See the full programme.