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Huge week of First World War commemorative events for Wellington

Media release: 23 February 2015

A spectacular series of commemorative events are planned for Anzac Week in Wellington during April as New Zealanders mark the centenary of the Gallipoli landings during the First World War, Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Maggie Barry announced today.

The programme will begin with the official opening of Pukeahu National War Memorial Park on Saturday, April 18 at 11am.

Pukeahu is the Government’s single largest commitment to acknowledging the centenary of the First World War, in which more than 18,500 New Zealanders lost their lives.

“This two and a half-year building project has been a mammoth undertaking and required extraordinary commitment to get it finished in time for Anzac Day this year,” says Ms Barry.

“I am delighted to announce that construction is ahead of schedule and we will be able to start opening up areas of the park to the public from March 25.

“I would like to thank everyone who has worked so hard to make this possible and also acknowledge the support of Wellington City Council in making the dream of the park become a reality. They have also carried that commitment through into planning for Anzac Week and have a leading role in putting on several exciting events.”

Saturday, April 18, also marks the opening of two landmark exhibitions in Wellington. The Great War Exhibition at the historic Dominion Museum behind the National War Memorial, and Gallipoli – The scale of our war, at Te Papa. The two exhibitions draw on the exceptional talents of Sir Peter Jackson and Wingnut Films, and Sir Richard Taylor and Weta Workshop respectively.

The Great War Exhibition commemorates the significant part that New Zealand played in the First World War. Visitors will see how the war progressed and the challenge between technology and the human spirit.

Meanwhile, the Te Papa exhibition, Gallipoli – The scale of our war combines the worlds of movies, model-making and museums to bring the story of Gallipoli to life for a new generation.

April 18 will also see the first screening of WW1 Remembered: A Sound and Light Show. This spectacular light show features imagery from our shared military history projected onto the faces of the historic Dominion Museum and Carillon at the park. The 15-minute loop will run from 7-10pm each night until 25 April.

The Anzac Week programme continues on Monday when the new Australian Memorial at the park will be dedicated, which will symbolise the strength and importance of the Anzac relationship, and is a reciprocal gesture to the New Zealand Memorial in Canberra.

On Friday the Wellington City Council Street Parade takes place, leaving from the Cenotaph, and travelling down Lambton Quay, Willis, Wakefield and Taranaki Streets to Pukeahu. The parade will include a range of vintage WW1 vehicles and memorabilia, and weather permitting, a flyover of original WW1 aircraft.

On Saturday, April 25, Anzac Day begins with the Dawn Service at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park, followed by the National Service of Commemoration at 11am. Thanks and appreciation are due to the Wellington RSA for agreeing that the Dawn Service be held at the park this year in recognition of the centenary.

In the afternoon, a service will be held at the Ataturk Memorial, the Dawn Service at Gallipoli will be broadcast live on screens at Pukeahu and the week will close on Saturday evening with a Beat Retreat ceremony and final screening of the light and sound show.

“Anzac Week is a one-off series of historic events in our capital city. It is a chance for everyone to honour our past, acknowledge the sacrifices of previous generations and to understand how our history has influenced who we are as a nation,” says Ms Barry.

Anzac Week activities are being planned jointly by a range of agencies including the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, Wellington City Council, New Zealand Defence Force and Department of Internal Affairs.


18 April

· Formal opening ceremony for Pukeahu National War Memorial Park (11am).

· WW1 Remembered: A Light & Sound show to be staged nightly concluding on Anzac Day (7pm-10pm)

· Great War Exhibition opens to public at Dominion Museum

· Gallipoli – The Scale of our War exhibition opens at Te Papa

20 April

· Dedication of Australian Memorial (9.30am)

· WW1 Remembered continues

24 April

· WCC Street Parade (12.30-2pm)

· Anzac Eve Vigil Service, 6pm Wellington Cathedral.

· WW1 Remembered continues

25 April

· Dawn Service at Pukeahu (5.30am)

· Wellington Citizens Wreath Laying Service at Cenotaph (9am)

· National Anzac Day Service at Pukeahu (11am)

· Atatürk Service at Strathmore (2pm)

· Dawn Service from Gallipoli live on big screens at Pukeahu (2.30pm)

· Ceremony of Beat Retreat (5.15pm)

· WW1 Remembered screened for the final time.


Updated on 17th March 2016