Today, Friday 11 December Pukeahu National War Memorial Park host its 10,000th school student since the Park opened in April this year.
“Some 10,000 students, age five to 18, alongside many teachers and parents have visited Pukeahu since we opened as part of our free education programme,” Brodie Stubbs, Manager Heritage Projects, Ministry for Culture and Heritage says.
“The numbers have exceeded even the highest estimates.”
The students have come from Halfmoon Bay in Stewart Island to Whangarei Heads in the Far North and classes have been taught in New Zealand’s three official languages, with the Ministry educators’ words in English and Te Reo translated through the help of a sign language interpreter.
Brodie Stubbs says these visits to Pukeahu, often combined with a tour of the Great War Exhibition, have created an accessible and approachable space for students to reflect on how we commemorate our involvement in military conflict and peacekeeping and how this has helped shape a sense of national identity.
“Many low decile schools were part of the 150 buses scheme supported by the Wellington City Council. This initiative saw over 4,500 students from 68 schools visit Wellington the capital city in its 150th year. During the commemoration the most visited sites were Te Papa, Pukeahu National War Memorial Park and the Great War Exhibition.
“Schools have laid their own wreaths at the National War Memorial dedicated to soldiers from their areas, they have sung waiata and performed haka after reciting the Ode to the Fallen. Students have learnt the history of the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior and Carillon with its 74 bells. Students have run their hands over the Australian Memorial as they uncover the meaning of the monument and some have also taken part in the daily Last Post service at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior.
“Our resident educators Steve Watters and Ashley Mackenzie-White have done a fantastic job in facilitating the 10,000 students through the education programme. They are thrilled at the popularity of the programme and are looking forward to hosting many more students and their parents and teachers in 2016.
Pukeahu of course is open for the public to visit at any time. The Ministry for Culture and Heritage is proud of the facility and hopes many Wellingtonians and visitors to the capital will take the opportunity to reflect and enjoy the Park over its first summer,” says Brodie Stubbs.
More information about the Education Programme, including an online booking facility is here.
Updated on 17th December 2015