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First World War commemorative museum exhibition announced

Hon Christopher Finlayson
Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage

15 August 2014

First World War commemorative museum exhibition announced

Wellington’s landmark Dominion Museum Building will be home to a temporary First World War commemorative museum exhibition, developed by Sir Peter Jackson, from April 2015 and through the duration of the centenary period.

The Commemorative Exhibition was announced today by Prime Minister John Key and Sir Peter, who is leading the creative team currently developing the exhibition.

Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Christopher Finlayson said the innovative temporary museum exhibition in the Dominion Museum building, which is currently part of Massey University’s Wellington campus, was being developed to complement other aspects of New Zealand’s First World War commemorations.

“The Commemorative Exhibition will help enhance New Zealanders’ understanding of the First World War and its impact on our nation,” Mr Finlayson said. “It will draw on and complement private collections and other museums across New Zealand including the Army, Air Force and Navy service museums, and the Auckland War Memorial Museum. It will be a tremendous addition alongside Te Papa’s Gallipoli exhibition, being developed in partnership with Weta Workshop and also scheduled to open next year.”

“This historic building sits behind the National War Memorial and overlooks the site of the National War Memorial Park, which will be open in time for Anzac Day 2015. It is a perfect location for a temporary museum that will help tell in an innovative way the story of key aspects of New Zealand’s military history and the purpose of the park.”

Mr Finlayson said the temporary museum exhibition will provide an exciting opportunity for New Zealanders. He says having Sir Peter Jackson on board is testimony to the project’s importance.

“The creative skills of Sir Peter will ensure the temporary museum captures the stories of World War One in a way that is inclusive and innovative.”

Other project partners include the New Zealand Defence Force and the Wellington City Council.

“The Council has demonstrated its support through an important contribution that will continue the partnership between central and local government in the development of Pukeahu National War Memorial Park,” Mr Finlayson said.

"The generation who served in the First World War were reluctant to discuss what they had experienced,” Sir Peter Jackson said.

“Now the last veteran has gone, it’s appropriate that New Zealand commemorates their achievements during this four year period. This museum will not cover the strategies of the generals, but will deal with what life was like for both the Kiwi soldier leaving their families to fight a foreign war on the other side of the world, and for those left behind. I’m thrilled that Massey have agreed to provide the most perfect of all locations to house this national commemorative museum."

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said the Commemorative Exhibition is an exciting project for the capital.

“This important exhibition space is a welcome addition to Wellington, for New Zealanders and visitors alike,” she said.

To ensure the Commemorative Exhibition is accessible to everyone, entry to the exhibition is expected to be free.

The WW100 programme is now well under-way and projects are taking place up and down the country, as well as some key projects overseas.


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