A new interactive guide to New Zealand’s First World War history on the Western Front is now available to download, Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry says.
“The Ngā Tapuwae Western Front Trails take visitors around places of special significance to our history, such as Passchendaele and the Somme,” Ms Barry says.
“A free smartphone and tablet app that accompanies the trails has been released and gives people the chance to follow in the footsteps of our soldiers and find out more about their experience on the Western Front.”
Ngā Tapuwae Western Front follows the release of Ngā Tapuwae Gallipoli in March. Both the trails and accompanying apps include dramatic first-hand accounts taken from the letters and diaries of those who fought as well as historical information, directions and travel advice.
“More than 12,400 New Zealanders lost their lives in the horrific conditions of the Western Front. They faced unimaginable danger, hardship and suffering in the trenches and the Ngā Tapuwae trails help to bring their story to all of us.”
Ms Barry recorded the narration for the soldier’s personal stories for the Western Front trails, as she did for Ngā Tapuwae Gallipoli.
“I offered to narrate in memory of my grandfather, who was a veteran of the Sinai Campaign. Introducing the personal stories of the soldiers who fought in battles where there were horrific deaths and casualties, and the impact on those they left behind, was a very moving experience.”
Ngā Tapuwae Western Front includes trails in France, Belgium and the United Kingdom. The five trails in Belgium focus on the battlefields at Passchendaele and Messines, the four in France explore the famous tunnels at Arras and the Somme battlefields, while the trail in the UK will take visitors around former New Zealand hospitals and training camps.
“On my recent visit to Europe I opened and unveiled four interpretive signs and two dioramas which form part of the trails. The trails are a legacy project for the WW100 commemorations and will stand as a reminder of the sacrifice and bravery of those who came before us.”
People can experience the trails in three ways: download the apps, explore trail highlights on the Ngā Tapuwae website or print off paper guides available online.
The Ngā Tapuwae Western Front app is available now for Apple and Android devices, and is free to download.
More information about the Ngā Tapuwae New Zealand First World War Trails can be found at http://www.ngatapuwae.govt.nz/
Updated on 20th October 2015