NZinGermany sent an inquiry about whether New Zealand is planning any particular activities in Germany to mark the upcoming centenary of the First World War. For all Kiwis in Germany we got information by Michael Pearson, Senior Communications Advisor WW100 Programme Office in Wellington.
While many commemorative events are planned, none is specific to Germany. If you care to look at our website – WW100.govt.nz you can see the range of events and commemorations planned.
You can also find the results of a survey of 4,000 New Zealanders we commissioned that shows (among many other things):
89% believe commemorating the war is important, with 48% considering it very important
77% think the War has relevance to New Zealand’s national identity, with 53% thinking it is strongly relevant
40% are aware of a family member who served in the First World War, and 8 out of 10 of them are interested in finding out more about their family’s involvement
The website also provides details about the major national commemorations New Zealand will be involved in, both here and overseas, during the four year period. In summary these are:
Date Commemoration Location
- 25 April 2015 Anzac landings in Gallipoli National War Memorial
- 15 September 2016 War in France National War Memorial
- 12 October 2017 War in Belgium National War Memorial
- October/November 2017 War in Sinai/Palestine National War Memorial
- 11 November 2018 Armistice National War Memorial
The New Zealand national commemorations to be held overseas will be:
Date Commemoration Location
25 April 2015 Anzac landings at Gallipoli Turkey
15 September 2016 Battle of the Somme France
7 June 2017 Battle of Messines Belgium
12 October 2017 Battle of Passchendaele Belgium
31 October 2017 Battle of Beersheba Israel
4 November 2018 Liberation of Le Quesnoy France
New Zealand will also be involved in a range of other commemorations including those marking the outbreak of war, the capture of German Samoa and the departure of the Anzac convoys from Albany in Western Australia. The centenary of the soldiers’ return and declaration of peace in 1919 will also be marked. It is expected that New Zealand will be officially represented at other nations’ centenary ceremonies and other centennial events.
Our website also lists the major projects that are being worked on at national level (including creation of upgrade of the National Memorial Park and an Education/Interpretation Centre in Wellington; a publishing programme of works on various aspects of New Zealand’s involvement in the War; government funding for the development of the digital Cenotaph database based at the Auckland War Memorial Museum so the public can access records about family members who served.
The website also provides information about local projects being run in communities around the country. For example, in Northland the Far North Regional Museum is restoring the Kaitaia First World War Memorial; the Whangarei Returned Services’ Association is holding Field of remembrance commemorative activities prior to Anzac Day 2014; and the Whangarei Art Museum is crating five outdoor floral carpets to commemorate the War. Projects – many of which have received funding from New Zealand’s Lottery Grants Board – are being added to the website all the time.
Finally, the website provides a link to various historical resources that tell the story of New Zealand’s involvement in the First World War, including the website www.firstworldwar.govt.nz, which is part of NZHistory.net.nz, our foremost history website maintained by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage.
Overall, the programme of remembrance is designed to foster appreciation and remembrance of how the First World War affected New Zealand and its place in the World. One aim is to provide a living legacy of the war’s impacts and on-going significance, so current and future generations are more informed. Another is to strengthen New Zealand’s bilateral relationships with all participant countries in the war.