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25 Years of Online Cenotaph

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25 Years of Online Cenotaph

Victoria Passau
Online Cenotaph and Enquiry Services Manager

Online Cenotaph has been commemorating the experiences of Aotearoa New Zealand’s military service for more than 25 years.  

Online Cenotaph is a collection of data relating to Aotearoa New Zealand’s operational military service including personal, biographical, demographic and military information. But it is much more than a collection of datapoints. As social historian and former Online Cenotaph staff member, Gabrielle Fortune remembers, “when we originally started the database, we wanted it to be not just a military record, but a social history record, too.” This inclusive vision sets Online Cenotaph apart from other more didactic military databases, that often exclude unverifiable but important personal information. Online Cenotaph’s nuanced and personal lens, provided by the public’s contributions, help remind us of the humanity of those who served. 

The following publication reflects the range of individuals who have contributed to this collective resource: a social historian, volunteer, descendent, military historian, museum worker, and a contributor. In interviews with freelance writer Sarah Ell, each person shared their relationship with Online Cenotaph, what the database means to them, and how they believe its impact ripples out into the wider world. 

Always a work in progress, Online Cenotaph has the potential to provide a well-rounded view for every New Zealand service person before, during and after their service. It is this potential that drives Auckland War Memorial Museum’s continued investment in this legacy resource.  

Our sincere thanks to all those who have contributed to Online Cenotaph over the past quarter century. 

Victoria Passau 
Online Cenotaph and Enquiry Services Manager 
April 2023

We are a small team of three and work with a team of amazing volunteers and your donation will go towards increasing the range of stories being told on Online Cenotaph by enabling us to collaborate with veterans, creators, community members and researchers through interviews, digital storytelling and other creative outputs. The options are endless, but our budget is not. We would love if you would consider donating to Online Cenotaph to help us tell the stories of our military personnel for future generations.

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