November: From 2014 through until 2018, New Zealand and many other countries around the world will commemorate the First World War.
The New Zealand Government has developed WW100(external link), a programme that will run from 2014 to 2018 to mark the centenary of the First World War. The key focus of the programme is the centenary of ANZAC Day, on 25 April 2015, and the centenary of the Armistice, on 11 November 2018. However, other significant anniversaries, such as the battles of the Somme, Passchendaele, Messines and Le Quesnoy in Europe, and the Sinai and Palestine campaigns in the Middle East, will also be commemorated.
Canterbury 100(external link) is a collaborative project, coordinated by the region’s major cultural and heritage institutions, it aim’s to tell the stories and experiences of Canterbury people during the First World War. Special activities are happening in our region to mark the centenary of the First World War.
Christchurch City Libraries has established a WW100 representative in each library. Courses are planned to assist both children and adults to discover their WW100 history. WW100 will be incorporated into annual events and promotions such as Heritage Week and New Zealand Book Month.
On 4 August 2014 Mayor Lianne Dalziel joined the Returned and Services Association in Remembrance Park, Christchurch, to mark one hundred years since the outbreak of war on 4 August 1914. The Mayor said, “the courage of those who fought for New Zealand in the First World War – almost one-fifth of whom did not make it home – will always be remembered.”
For 2014, in partnership with Canterbury Museum and the Friends of the Library, Christchurch City Libraries brought Kirstie Ross (Te Papa curator and author) to the city to talk about her WW100 publications, "Holding onto Home" and “The Berry Boys".
On Sunday 12 October 2014, a free community event(external link) was held at the Air Force Museum of New Zealand(external link). Members of the public were invited to bring along personal stories and artefacts relating to Cantabrians during the First World War; specifically in the period leading up to the Gallipoli campaign of 1915. Staff from the supporting institutions were on hand to document the material, as well as provide expertise in family history research, and object identification and interpretation. Staff also gave advice about gifting, lending or digitising material.
The Canterbury 100 website includes a calendar of events to help keep track of WW100 activities.
To find out more about Government plans for the commemorations, please visit the links below.
Christchurch City Libraries also have extensive information on the centenary(external link).
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission Register(external link) records details of Commonwealth war dead so that graves or names on memorials can be located.
The Returned and Services Association, or RSA, was formed in 1916 in response to the need for an association of returned soldiers. RSAs around the country will be marking WW100 in many different ways during the centenary period.
The RSA’s national website is a further source of information www.rsa.org.nz(external link) and you can also visit the website for local RSAs to learn more about their plans.
As a result of the Canterbury Earthquakes, the Christchurch City Council is working on a programme to assess and repair World War One and other memorials across Christchurch. Of the 16 war memorials damaged in the earthquakes, four have now been repaired and an additional three are due for completion over the next few months.
The Bridge of Remembrance with its beautiful Triumphal Arch is a very significant memorial site for Christchurch – it was erected by the citizens of Christchurch in 1923 to initially honour the sacrifices made during the First World War. The Bridge and Arch are currently part way through major technical repairs to strengthen them(external link) and reduce the risk of damage in any future earthquakes.
The Lyttelton War Memorial Cenotaph was badly damaged in the February and June 2011 earthquakes. The 8m stone masonry structure partially collapsed and had to be carefully deconstructed down to a third of its height.
In April of this year, reconstruction of the war memorial commenced and saw the Cenotaph relocate to the new Lyttelton civic square, 'Albion Square'. A team of stonemasons carefully repaired damaged stone, carved new and pieced together the broken granite plaques. A reinforced concrete core and foundation has add strength to the war memorial, to ensure it can withstand future seismic events.
New heritage lights have also been custom made to replicate the originals that were on the structure in the 1920s. After 6 months of reconstruction the scaffold was finally removed in October.