12 October marks New Zealand's darkest day

This year, we are unable to recognise those fallen in the battle of Passcendaele with a commemorative event at Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira, given Level 3 restrictions. On this page, we invite you to read about New Zealand's darkest day, and pay respect to the lives lost at Passchendaele in 1917.

A Poem for Passchendaele

A Poem for Passchendaele

how can they be dying here all morning
faster than two a minute? You start to count
and you find that when you add the wounded
they are tumbling over, like a storm
of autumn leaves, almost as you blink.

Read the full poem 'A Fine Morning at Passchendaele' by New Zealand poet and writer Kevin Ireland, and learn about his time in Belgium visiting Tyne Cot cemetery, near Passchendaele, where he read his poem in a commemoration in 2019.

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Commemorating Passchendaele in unusual times

In normal times, Auckland War Memorial Museum hosts a commemorative service on 12 October annually, organised in conjunction with the Passchendaele Society. Given the Covid-19 Alert Level 3 status Auckland is in, a service is not possible this year. We invite you to look back on photos from previous years, and we hope to resume normal service and welcome you back next year.