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New Zealand Remembers - Te Papa Wellington 2015

Mr. Spencer Westmacott OBE, 1885 - 1960.

The Great Adventure, that is how it is referred to at the Museum of New Zealand - Te Papa - to commemorate, reflect and remember  the great and deep sacrifice made by individual New Zealanders joining British another troops from the Commonwealth in the Great War from 1914, particularly at Gallipoli, Turkey.   In a remarkable set up at Te Papa, Te Aro, on Wellington's waterfront, are three bigger than life size recreations of three selected players of a real life saga - a supporting medic, a sniper in action  and a waiting digger.  

Dr. Percival Fenwick, 1870 - 1958.

The Maori Regiment, New Zealand Engineers and the Mounted Rifles have their efforts and trials embedded in history.   Visitors can examine in confronting detail the lapels of uniforms, the dust on shoes and the expression on realistic recreated skin of the exhibits.  Rousing and yet haunting music play in the background, whilst visitors to the Museum are transfixed standing or sitting in the darkness.   I stood and yet moved with a group of widows who still can recall with fondness what it all meant, what they had undergone inside their hearts.

Dr. Percival Fenwick

In the coolness and comfort of climate control inside the Museum, we did not fully appreciate the stifling heat and humidity of the southern Turkish coast in those hours of conflict, stalemate and dangerous uncertainty.   We were spared the utter reality of sudden noises of gunfire, desperate cries and aggressive booms in the air.  We did not have to face the violence, the smells or sweat, the risks and being so far away from home.   We did see the recreated artificial blood stains, the forlornness of lying on foreign soil and the sheer blank looks of being caught up personally in a time to rise for honour, to fight for a cause and to try to survive in a down out scenario.

Mr. Jack Dunn, 1889 - 1915.

Unlike today's world when communication is so much easier, apart from your fellow troop members, it was a strikingly lonely world, in and out, for the digger, with obvious thoughts for loved ones in a truly far away land, surrounded by landscapes that were alien.  Yet what kept up the spirits of these individuals is to be admired, respected and upheld to inspire ourselves and future generations.   The sense of contributing to community and country was so far stronger than what you sense these days.  One did not hold a mobile phone, but a can, a shred of written letter, a momento, a small tangible piece of hope and possible return to civilisation and the love of home.

Mr. Jack Dunn

Yet the artistry of the Weta Workshop shines through in this exhibit.   The sheer idea of having giant figures - 2.4 times human size -  speak volumes - and yet it is in the details also displayed that mean more.   2779 Kiwis lost their lives in the eighth month Gallipoli campaign - Lest We Forget.

Mr. Jack Dunn

Visitor entry to Te Papa Museum is free, including this exhibition.   Wi-fi is also provided with compliments at this venue.   The Gallipolli:  The Scale of Our War Exhibit is one of the best on display in this 100th anniversary of Gallipoli.


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