Skip to main content

Big artillery moves into museum

Media release: 10 March 2015

One of New Zealand’s biggest cranes made its way to the front of Wellington’s historic Dominion Museum on Sunday to help shift the heaviest and largest pieces of The Great War Exhibition into place.

Image of a London bus being lifted into the Dominion Museum is courtesy of Nick Setteducato.

The crane, capable of lifting 300 tonnes, was needed to lift in a tank, London bus and large gun that will be part of the Sir Peter Jackson-inspired exhibition of the First World War opening on April 18, and commemorates the war’s centenary.

Exhibition project manager Brian Massey said the crane operation took six weeks to plan and relied on favourable weather conditions, secure fastening and some careful manoeuvring.

“This was the part of the project where there was the least margin for error,” Mr Massey said.

A platform was erected to cut a hole in the wall and the crane used to lift the exhibits up and over the museum, into a central light well and on to the platform positioned one storey above the crane.

“Once they landed on the platform we used a system of winches to bring them inside and into position,” Mr Massey said.

Each piece had to be shifted on to a special weight spreading platform before the next piece could be lifted.

Image of a tank being lifted into the Dominion Museum is courtesy of Nick Setteducato.

The items are among the first to be placed in the museum and work is continuing to build the exhibition around them.

When it opens, visitors will explore the war in chronological order, exploring its changing face as it affected those who fought it.

The second half of the exhibition focuses on New Zealand’s story, beginning in 1915 with mobilisation and the seminal Gallipoli campaign.  It also recognises that one of the most important aspects of New Zealand’s national and cultural development was achieved by ordinary citizens enduring incredible hardship.

Image of a tank inside the Dominion Museum is courtesy of Nick Setteducato.

The New Zealand room will be updated throughout the Centenary to reflect the different theatres of the war and its impact on New Zealand.

With support from the New Zealand Government, Sir Peter Jackson and Sir Peter’s talented team at Wing Nut Films; the exhibition offers a unique opportunity for New Zealanders to gain a greater insight into an important part of their history.

For more information contact:

Susan Pepperell

Anzac Week communications

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Ph 04 496 6338,

Mob 027 588 9857

Updated on 23rd July 2015