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Events to mark 90th anniversary of Armistice

October 17 2008 Media Statement

Events to mark 90th anniversary of Armistice

Embargoed 6.00pm Friday 17 October
Prime Minister and Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Helen Clark today announced a series of public events will be held to mark the 90th anniversary of the Armistice which ended the First World War.

“The 11th of November 2008 commemorates the 90th anniversary of the Armistice and the ‘Coming Home’ of our soldiers,” Helen Clark said.

“The signing of the Armistice between the allies and Germany on the 11th November 1918 marked the end of the First World War, a conflict of great significance for New Zealand. More than 100,000 New Zealanders served overseas during the war. As a result of the war 18,500 died and a further 50,000 were wounded.

“It is also the anniversary of the global influenza pandemic or ‘Spanish Flu’ which coincided with the return home of the soldiers. Within two months New Zealand had lost almost half as many people to influenza as it had to the First World War. Peace celebrations were overshadowed by the effects of the flu.

In an associated announcement today, Helen Clark also announced changes to the ownership of the historic Queen Mary Hospital at Hanmer, once a military hospital for returning soldiers. It will be transferred from the Canterbury District Health Board to the Department of Conservation, to better allow for its preservation.

“Soldiers returned home over many months following the end of the First World War. In keeping with this, commemorations will take place from October 2008 through to March 2009 with a range of activities and events throughout New Zealand, nationally and locally,” Helen Clark said.

Some of the highlights include:

• A National Commemorative Service at the National War Memorial in Wellington on 11th November, including a flyover of the Memorial by First World War aircraft.

• A series of four public seminars presented by leading historians at the National Library in Wellington.

• A programme of events at the National War Memorial, including the screening of a silent film ‘After the War’, a display of quilts and concert recitals.

• Significant exhibitions at the National Library, Archives New Zealand and Auckland War Memorial Museum.

• The Waiouru Army Museum features two significant exhibitions focussing on New Zealanders on the Western Front, 1918.

• The NZ Film Archive will feature historic World War 1 footage.


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