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Unveiling of NZ Museum in Europe

Unveiling of NZ Museum in Europe Commemorates Our Fallen, 100 Years On

New Zealand will have a place in Europe to call home with the unveiling of the future memorial museum in Le Quesnoy, France on 4 November – a town Kiwi soldiers liberated one hundred years ago in the final week of World War I.

The museum and visitors’ centre will be the first and only permanent commemoration to honour our country’s effort on the Western Front across both World Wars. In WWI alone, 12,500 Kiwi soldiers were killed, the largest death toll of our people in one time than at any other period in our country’s history.

The purchase of the former Mayor’s residence within Le Quesnoy’s old town ramparts as the home of the museum follows seven years of planning by the New Zealand Memorial Museum Trust and now it is reaching out to New Zealanders for support.

The Trust’s Patron, Helen Clark says she expects Le Quesnoy and the museum will become a destination for young New Zealanders travelling to Europe.

“We want to make sure those stories of young New Zealanders who travelled to the other side of the world a century ago are passed on to future generations,” says Ms Clark.

The Trust’s chair, Sir Don McKinnon, says the museum will be will be a vital landmark in our country’s history.

“It is time for us to acknowledge and commemorate New Zealand’s achievements on the Western Front with a museum. It will be a permanent reminder of the men and women that paid the ultimate sacrifice so that we can enjoy the freedoms we hold so precious today.

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“New Zealand is currently the only Commonwealth country among all the allied nations without a permanent memorial on the Western Front.”

Sir Don says that the hard work in establishing the museum is just beginning.

“The support of all New Zealanders, including the descendants of those that fought during both World Wars, will be vital to the museum’s success.

“The museum will be a place New Zealanders can visit and return to again and again for contemplation and a warm welcome. It is largely because of our WWI soldiers’ sacrifices that we all enjoy a positive reputation in Europe today.

“I ask every New Zealander to acknowledge our history and show their respect to our fallen men and women and invest in a place of pilgrimage in Europe by supporting the Museum.”


The Dedication Ceremony for the NZ War Memorial Museum will take place at the former Gendarmerie on 4 November 2018, 3.30pm – 4.30pm; 7-9 rue Archille Carlier, 59530, Le Quesnoy, Nord, France

At 5:00pm pm 4 November in Cambridge, New Zealand (Le Quesnoy’s sister city) a pictorial exhibition telling the story of Le Quesnoy’s liberation opens in the Town Hall opens. At 9:00pm a light and sound show telling the story of Le Quesnoy will be projected onto the Town Hall.
On 10 November, a large event at Lake Karapiro domain will feature a re-enactment of the liberation (going over the wall etc). A bespoke wall is being made for this purpose.

Editor’s Notes

The New Zealand Memorial Museum Trust is raising funds to repurpose the historic former Mayor’s residence in Le Quesnoy, France, which has been the headquarters for the local Gendarmerie since 1952. The Mayor and Council of Le Quesnoy are providing their full support to the project.

The site will be developed to include upgraded accommodation for visitors and a new annex. Together the historic building and annex will form a museum that will tell the soldiers’ extraordinary stories and exhibit educational and interactive historic collections from both World Wars.

The Trustees are: Rt. Hon. Sir Don McKinnon (chair), Mark Hall, Brett Hewson, Buddy Mikaere, Greg Moyle (Maj. Rtd), Rt. Hon. Sir Lockwood Smith and Michele Whitecliffe. Patron: Rt. Hon. Helen Clark. Founder and general secretary: Herb Farrant. Friends Emeritus of Le Quesnoy: Dame Jenny Gibbs, Rt. Hon. Lt. Gen. Sir Jerry Mateparae and Rt. Hon. Sir Anand Satyanand.

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