New Zealand’s memory of war is enhanced through international Shared Memory Arrangements. These Arrangements promote international co-operation between New Zealand other nations regarding their shared history of the world wars of the 20th century.
In particular, the Arrangements sought to:
- Increase community understanding and recognition of the shared history;
- Educate younger generations about this;
- Honour the war dead and preserve relevant heritage sites;
- Conserve and interpret shared heritage materials; and
- Encourage links between ex-service organisations.
New Zealand signed a Shared Memory Arrangement with France on 6 June 2004 — the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landings. On 4 October 2007 — the 90th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele — New Zealand signed a Shared Memory Arrangement with the Flemish regional government, and one with the Belgian government in November 2008.
The Ministry for Culture and Heritage has played a lead role in several projects that contribute to the Shared Memory Arrangement.
First World War, 1914–1918
Thousands of New Zealanders served in Europe during the First World War. In 2007 the Ministry began a major study of New Zealand's involvement on the Western Front, covering campaigns in France and Belgium.
- Read an overview of New Zealand's involvement in the First World War, including the major campaigns in France.
- Read about New Zealand's involvement on the Somme in 1916, in a website prepared for the 90th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme. New Zealand entered this battle in September 1916.
- New Zealand’s involvement in Belgium (including Flanders) is covered in a major website created for the 90th anniversary of the Passchendaele offensive.
- On 4 November 1918 the New Zealand Division captured the French town of Le Quesnoy in its last major action in the war. Read about the battle to take the town that to this day retains strong connections with New Zealand.
- Find out about the New Zealand Tunnelling Company and their work on the Arras tunnels.
Second World War, 1939–1945
The story of New Zealand servicemen and their role in the D-Day landings in France has only just come to prominence. Read about and listen to the stories of some of the men involved in D-Day, one of the pivotal events of the Second World War.
The book The Big Show: New Zealanders, D-Day and the War in Europe, edited by Alison Parr, was launched on 6 June 2006, the 62nd anniversary of the D-Day landings. It is available through Auckland University Press.
Updated on 23rd July 2015