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Auckland War Memorial Museum Creates Lasting Legacy with WW100 Community Programme

He Toa Taumata Rau Online Cenotaph is a digital gathering point for the personal and official memory of those who served for Aotearoa New Zealand.

Auckland War Memorial Museum is proud to explore and collect the stories of the database with He Pou Aroha Community Cenotaph, a programme which will help people to discover and share their stories. The programme, made possible thanks to funding from the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board, was launched today at a special event at the Pukekohe War Memorial Hall.

He Pou Aroha Community Cenotaph, a roadshow unit accompanied by knowledgeable staff from the Museum, will tour the former Auckland Province over the next four years of the centenary, from Cape Reinga to Taupo. The programme encourages communities to explore and add to the Online Cenotaph database.

Communities will have the ability to digitise documents, letters, medals, photographs, and war memorabilia relating to New Zealanders and loved ones who have served, which are then uploaded to the database. Individual kiosk units are also available for loan to libraries, community groups and centres, museums and RSAs.

“New Zealand’s record in the First World War is second to none; He Pou Aroha Community Cenotaph offers a chance for communities to connect with and contribute to a lasting legacy for future generations”, says Auckland War Memorial Museum Director Roy Clare. “We want to give all people now and in future the ability to confidently say; "We will remember them”.”

Auckland War Memorial Museum is working alongside Auckland Council to commemorate the centenary of WWI, sharing the banner ‘He toa taumata rau: Courage has many resting places’.

“Many of us, myself included, have learnt more of our own families involvement in World War I during this period of commemoration” says Auckland Mayor Len Brown. “Help us all to remember those who served and do your part when He Pou Aroha Community Cenotaph visits your community.”

Redeveloped for the WWI centenary, Online Cenotaph now allows users to add information, images and documents into personal records, as well as pay tribute to individuals by laying virtual poppies onto their pages. The database is the Museum's legacy investment for the centenary, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage has contributed significantly to the database’s redevelopment, along with substantial content added by Auckland Libraries.

“A century ago, communities across New Zealand faced the unimaginable tragedy of the First World War. There was not a family, school, town or business which did not feel its impact”, says Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage, Maggie Barry. “The Online Cenotaph project is an important memorial of this anniversary. Taking it to the wider Auckland community through He Pou Aroha is an excellent way to engage people with our history. I hope it will encourage many families to research their own stories and experiences of war, record them for future generations and ensure the sacrifice of those who went before us is never forgotten.”

He Pou Aroha Community Cenotaph will next be visiting Shed 10 at the Auckland Waterfront as part of the Queen’s Birthday Weekend activities. Further information on where He Pou Aroha Community Cenotaph will be visiting and how to book the service for your community event will be available on the Museum’s website:

Updated on 23rd July 2015