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Commemoration to mark 99 years since Chunuk Bair

Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Commemoration to mark 99 years since Chunuk Bair

Gallipoli frequently gets all the attention, but a commemoration to mark the 99th anniversary of another key battle involving the 1st New Zealand Expeditionary Force will be held at Massey University’s Wellington campus on August 8.

In early August 1915 members of the New Zealand Infantry Brigade briefly held Chunuk Bair, a strategically important summit on the Gallipoli Peninsula. They were relieved by two British battalions, which then succumbed to massive counterattack by the Turkish forces.

The battle’s significance to the history of New Zealand’s war remembrance will be outlined by speakers at the commemoration, including Massey University’s Professor of War Studies Glyn Harper and Associate Professor in History Dr James Watson, as well as Associate Professor Kingsley Baird from the School of Art, who has designed some of the most striking memorials honouring New Zealand’s war dead.

Mr Baird will also speak about the War Heritage Art and Memory (WHAM) research network, which promotes the making, writing, display and performance of art works related to commemorating World War I.

Professor Harper, who is Massey’s project manager of the Centenary History of New Zealand and the First World War, a multi-volume, thematic and defining study of New Zealand’s role in the war, will also speak about an upcoming conference commemorating the centenary of the war’s outbreak.

The conference, The Experience of a Lifetime, People, Personalities and Leaders in the First World War, is being held at the Wellington campus from August 22-24.

Its subject matter, covering many aspects of the New Zealand’s role throughout the war, will also address the Gallipoli campaign, which reached its end point at the battle for Chunuk Bair.

Event organiser, military historian and former Deputy Secretary of Defence Zane Kidd, says the commemoration acknowledges a turning point in New Zealand’s history.

“It’s a time to reflect about the importance of values demonstrated at that time like bravery, commitment, judgement and sacrifice that contributed to the forging of an indomitable spirit of nationhood.”


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