New WWI gallery to open at Auckland War Memorial Museum
To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele, Auckland War Memorial Museum opens a new gallery on October 10th, Pou Kanohi New Zealand at War, an enduring legacy of the First World War centenary period. More than 18,000 lives were lost in WWI, and it remains one of the most significant events of the 20th century.
Pou Kanohi New Zealand at War is New Zealand’s first dedicated war memorial space designed to educate young people about the country’s experience of WWI. The interactive gallery is a public learning resource aligned with the school curriculum, aiming to make this significant event in New Zealand history relevant for young people today.
Auckland Museum Director Dr. David Gaimster says, “This Museum is Auckland’s War Memorial, built by the people of Auckland to honour those who lost their lives. Pou Kanohi New Zealand at War shares that experience with the next generation, making sure the memory and lessons of the First World War, which affected so many New Zealanders, is never lost.”
Rich with collections, the gallery shares New Zealanders’ experiences of WWI from multiple perspectives, and presents the key events of the war through an illustrated multimedia timeline, enhanced with objects and immersive interactive experiences.
An aerial reconnaissance table allows visitors to gets hands-on and undertake a mission piloting planes above the trenches. A virtual reality head-set gets visitors up close to a 3D rendered artillery gun. Collectible content enables students and visitors to explore pivotal WWI events through letters, photographs, and diaries in greater depth online, back in school or at home.
Visitors can explore the question ‘Why Go?’ and use the ‘Letters from the Front Line’ interactive to understand the hopes and fears of people as they prepared to go to war, what motivated them to fight or not, and how they felt about the daily realities of war.
The gallery features a series of short films where young Aucklanders explore and reflect on the stories of war. New specially commissioned works by Māori artists Maureen Lander, Rangi Kipa in collaboration with Bernard Makoare, and Beronia Scott enhance the space. Young adult fiction illustrator Andrew Burdan contributed bold graphic illustrations to bring the graphic events of WWI to life.
Pou Kanohi New Zealand at War is the second gallery to be redeveloped as part of an ongoing programme to renew the heritage features of the Museum building and revitalise a third of Auckland Museum’s gallery spaces. Read more about Future Museum here.
The new gallery was made possible thanks to the Lottery Grants Board Te Puna Tahua.