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Anzac Week Commemorations in Wellington

8 Apr 2015

From 18 April, Wellington will mark the centenary of the Gallipoli landings with a series of events, exhibitions, artistic tributes and sport, as well as official Anzac Day commemorations at the new Pukeahu National War Memorial Park.

Lance Serjeant Frank Jennings Rule Private George Vicary Thomas Private Charles Walter Thompson Private Harold James Toomer all from Wellington Regiment

“Locals and visitors will gather together in the nation’s capital to mark this significant moment in our history,” says Positively Wellington Tourism Chief Executive David Perks.

“Wellington will play host to tributes and commemorative experiences of many kinds, through which we can all remember, honour and pay tribute, as well as deepen our understanding of what those involved went through.”

Memorials and exhibitions

Officially opening on 18 April, Pukeahu National War Memorial Park commemorates the more than 300,000 New Zealanders who have served their country and the 30,000 who have died in action. The park includes the Hall of Memories, the Carillon, the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior and the Great War Exhibition.  Each evening from 18 to 25 April, imagery from New Zealand’s military history will be projected onto the facade of the Historic Dominion Museum and the National War Memorial Carillon in WWI Remembered: A Light and Sound Show.

At the Great War Exhibition visitors will step into the world of war one hundred years ago, experiencing both the desperate horrors and the triumphs of the human spirit that were part of the Great War. The Exhibition depicts the war as seen through the eyes of a soldier. Untold stories with immersive installations evoking the gritty experiences of the battlefields and the hardships at home in war-time New Zealand. This free exhibition has been designed by Sir Peter Jackson and is the result of a partnership between Sir Peter’s WingNut Films Team and the New Zealand Government.

On the city’s waterfront, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa will open the nationally significant Gallipoli – the scale of our war exhibition on April 18. The exhibition brings together the creative artisans of Weta Workshop with the curatorial research and expertise of the national museum to create an exhibition like no other. On April 18 a top secret creative approach will be revealed, bringing the story of Gallipoli to life in a way not seen before. The exhibition will be open for four years and is being provided free of charge to ensure everyone can experience this significant event in New Zealand’s history.

Art and music

At Wellington Cathedral of St Paul, watercolour paintings, prints and sketches by New Zealand WWI servicemen will be exhibited in WWI in Watercolours at Splash. Forty of these works will be displayed for the first time in 100 years.

The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra is collaborating with the Sydney Symphony in a moving tribute Spirit of Anzac - Letters from the Front. In his Symphony No. 1, New Zealand composer Michael Williams has set soldier’s letters from the front to music.

In the peaceful surroundings of Wellington Botanic Garden's Salamanca Lawn, visitors will be invited to pause and reflect over 866 white crosses paying tribute to the sacrifice made by the 866 individuals the Wellington region lost to the war effort in 1915.

Parades and services

On Friday 24 April, military personnel veterans and their descendants will take to the streets of central Wellington for a commemorative street parade. The parade will also feature 100 extras in vintage uniforms, marching bands, military and school pipe bands, along with 16 vintage WW1 vehicles. Weather-permitting, vintage aircraft from the Great War will also fly overhead.

Wellington Cathedral will hold an Anzac Eve Vigil Service on Friday evening, while on Saturday 25 April Wellingtonians and visitors to the city are invited to attend the 5.30am dawn service at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park, followed by a wreath laying service at the Cenotaph, along with Anzac Day services at Pukeahu and Ataturk Memorial.

AFL match

On the afternoon of Anzac Day, our trans-Tasman brotherhood will be celebrated as AFL (Australian Rules Football) returns to Westpac Stadium. Wellington’s adopted ‘home team’ St Kilda will return for their annual Anzac Day fixture, this year taking on Carlton. The match will be dedicated to the service personnel of Australia and New Zealand, with St Kilda players wearing a special guernsey featuring an Anzac poppy design.

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