Themes at Pukeahu

Remembrance & commemoration (Two hours)

“We must do more than remember”  - Hew Strachan on WWI Commemorations, 2013

This theme will look at what we commemorate & why. Using the First World War commemorations and the National War Memorial as a starting point, students will consider what we (as individuals and communities) choose to commemorate or remember. Using the student’s personal experiences, students will create a meaningful response, for example, they will make a memorial or create a ceremony to a time/place of their choice.

Students will:

  • Explore how we currently commemorate
  • Critically examine the role of commemoration in New Zealand
  • Consider alternative ways of remembering our past
  • Creatively respond to these ideas (with a hands on activity in the Queen Elizabeth II Pukeahu Education Centre)

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Pukeahu the place (Two hours)

“A live memorial was immeasurably better than a dead one, as the spirit of life in trees, and beholders of the future, would link them in memories.”  - William Parry, Minister of Internal Affairs, 1945

This theme will explore some of the rich history of Pukeahu National War Memorial Park. With its connections to both Māori and Pākehā it provides opportunities for visitors to learn about other parts of our nation’s story. From mara kai (garden) for local iwi, through to military barracks and sites of protest, prison, and the home of the first crèche in New Zealand, Pukeahu reveals glimpses of a past that is neither simple nor always comfortable, with compelling stories important to the history of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Students will:

  • Learn the history of Pukeahu including the Maori history & surrounding area
  • Explore physical remnants of the past
  • Understand the significance of Pukeahu today and in the past
  • Critically examine how these histories are told
  • Consider how we share our histories

Contact us about a walking tour to/from other sites of significance in Wellington.

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Expressions of nationhood: Wellington the capital city (Two hours)

“Citizenship education involves students developing the dispositions, knowledge, and skills they need to play an active role in making their communities and society better.” - ChangeAgents Resource

Young people learn to be citizens from a wide range of life-experiences that should ideally occur outside as well as inside the classroom. Pukeahu is one such experience. How do places and monuments like this reflect who we are as a people and a nation now and in the past? Since its opening in 1932 the National War Memorial has been a place of significance for many New Zealanders, especially for those wishing to pay their respects to those who served in war. For others it has been a place to learn about New Zealand’s involvement in conflict or to commemorate important moments in New Zealand history. However do these still hold as valid reasons for young New Zealanders to visit over 80 years later?

A visit to the Queen Elizabeth II Pukeahu Education Centre will consider what role the National War Memorial and the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park play in Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city.

Students will:

  • Examine the role and significance of national sites of significance as expressions of identity
  • Explore how national institutions and sites of significance both change and are changed by society
  • Be encouraged to ask about their society and its future as expressed through sites such as this
  • Consider whose stories are missing from this site
  • Consider the so what in relation to their active citizenship. Is this site relevant to them and their lives?

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Walking with an Anzac (Whole day programme)

Ideal for budding historians, class projects or an elective or extension group. Utilising the purpose built Queen Elizabeth II Pukeahu Education Centre as a base students will have the opportunity to explore the Great War Exhibition and then carry out a piece of research to explore the experiences of someone who served during the conflict. Through the use of the Cenotaph database and other online and print records, students will learn and develop new research skills to build an actual picture/story of a solider. The programme concludes with students sharing their findings with their classmates.

Students will:

  • Follow the journey of a young man (Will) year by year,  through his experience of the First World War in the Great War Exhibition
  • Learn and develop research skills utilising the Cenotaph database
  • Identify a solider (from their region or of personal significance) and utilise documents and records to build a picture/story of that persons experience
  • Revisit the Great War Exhibition to place their research into the context of the exhibition
  • Report their findings and discoveries to the group.

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Queen Elizabeth II Pukeahu Education Centre

In August 2016 the Queen Elizabeth II Pukeahu Education Centre at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park was opened by the former Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae accompanied by the former Prime Minister Rt Hon John Key and the Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Hon Maggie Barry. Learn more about this historic building here.

Exterior of the Education Centre in August 2016. Photo by Mark Tantrum.

With over 10,000 students through the education programme already the Centre is a place for us to expand our programme to include civics education and an active citizenship experience. It is a place for students to create meaningful responses to their experience here at Pukeahu.


Updated on 23rd November 2018