Houlihan departing, but continuing a link with Te Papa

In spite of his sudden departure from Te Papa, Michael Houlihan is retaining a link with the museum that he has run for the past four years. He is to “continue to assist Te Papa” with a World War 1 exhibition programme that he has curated. It is to open on Anzac Day next year.

News from Te Papa – May 27, 2013
Kiwi film industry icons Sir Peter Jackson and Sir Richard Taylor are partnering with Te Papa to re-create a First World War ‘trench experience’ as part of the War’s Centenary commemorations. Te Papa Chief Executive Michael Houlihan says he is delighted that Peter and Richard are adding their considerable talents to the ANZAC exhibition which will be a major feature of Te Papa’s Centenary programme.

“With the creative input of these extraordinarily clever guys, we will be able to deepen people’s understanding of the terror our soldiers experienced fighting a battle at such close quarters,” said Michael Houlihan.

“We will be recreating the Quinn’s Post trench, the most famous position in the ANZAC line on Gallipoli. Our aim is to make the experience as realistic as possible, bringing home the detail of the unimaginable horror and squalid day-to-day existence. But above all, the exhibition will remember the bravery and sacrifice of all the men who fought and those who died in the War. This will be a uniquely powerful experience of our history,” said Michael Houlihan.

Award winning film director Peter Jackson, who has a keen interest in the First World War, and Richard Taylor, Creative Director of Weta Workshop, will advise on the project and direct the creative input of the exhibition.

“It was in the trenches that the ANZAC spirit was born. The centenary is a significant event for New Zealand and I’m looking forward to working with Te Papa to tell the ANZAC story,” said Peter Jackson.

“We are looking forward to the challenge of creating visuals that do justice to such a horrific time for our New Zealand soldiers. It’s also a privilege to be involved in such a significant project with Te Papa, which honours those who fought in this battle,” said Richard Taylor.

Te Papa’s centenary programme includes a number of other activities: an outreach programme, Kiwi Faces of World War I, to identify soldiers photographed just before they went to war; contributing to the Life 100 Years Ago ‘real time’ diary project coordinated by the First World War Centenary Programme Office; and an illustrated book by Te Papa Press based on original research highlighting the impact of war on the Home Front.

This free exhibition will open for the Centenary of Gallipoli in April 2015.

News from Te Papa – April 18, 2013
Te Papa today announced its plans for a five-year programme to commemorate the centenary of the First World War. The programme was outlined at a dedication ceremony this morning for a National Cross of Remembrance by the Fields of Remembrance Trust New Zealand.

The large white cross, which represents more than 100,000 New Zealanders who served in the war, will be displayed at Te Papa’s Wellington Foyer window until after Anzac Day. More than 18,000 New Zealanders were killed in action, and 55,000 were wounded.

Fields of Remembrance Trust Chairman David McGregor says today’s activity is the first of many events that will be held in communities around the country over the next five years as New Zealanders reflect on one of the most significant historical events of the 20th century.

“The ‘White Crosses’ project is something everyone can get involved in. We will be encouraging and supporting each community to establish their own field of remembrance with a Community Cross of Remembrance and individual Personalised Crosses of Remembrance,” said David McGregor.

Te Papa Chief Executive Michael Houlihan says the ‘White Crosses’ project and Te Papa’s programme complement each other as they focus on community and personal stories.

“The theme for our centennial programme is Conflict and its impact on people and societies, in particular, how Conflict has shaped our nationhood and identity over the past thousand years.”

The programme will offer a wide variety of opportunities for people to get involved, by gathering and sharing stories of their families’ involvement to exploring Te Papa’s First World War collections.

A major feature of the programme will be the ANZAC exhibition, including a recreation of the Quinn’s Post trench, a key ANZAC position on Gallipoli.

“We’ve seen the trenches portrayed in film and photographs. But this experience will bring home the detail, unimaginable horror and reality of the bravery and sacrifice of every soldier thrown into this Conflict which was fought at close quarters,” said Michael Houlihan.

The history team at Te Papa is also running an outreach programme, Kiwi Faces of World War I, to identify soldiers photographed just before they went to war. Te Papa has about 170 glass plate negatives taken by Wellington photographers Berry and Co. So far about 60 have been identified.

Te Papa is also contributing to the Life 100 Years Ago ‘real time’ diary project coordinated be the First World War Centenary Programme Office. People can follow the daily entries of Leslie Adkins on Twitter (@adkin_diary). The Horowhenua farmer kept a diary from the year after he left secondary school until he died and his diary tells of life and love in New Zealand during the war. Te Papa holds the 40 diaries that span the period 1905-1964.

Te Papa Press is producing an illustrated book based on original research with a focus on the impact of war on the home front.

“Today’s ceremony is just the beginning of what will be a reflective and thoughtful examination of the impact the First World War has had on shaping the lives of all New Zealanders,” said Michael Houlihan.

Note: The National Cross of Remembrance is accompanied by two smaller personalised white crosses commemorating the service of New Zealander Lieutenant Colonel William George Malone and Australian Captain Albert Jacka. Honouring these two soldiers symbolises the ANZAC relationship.

Colonel Malone commanded the Wellington Infantry Battalion at Gallipoli. He was killed in action during the battle of Chunuk Bair. Captain Jacka was awarded the Victoria Cross for gallantry during the Gallipoli campaign. He later served on the Western Front and was decorated twice more for bravery.

After the war Captain Jacka became Mayor of St Kilda in Melbourne which makes it a particularly fitting tribute given the AFL game being held on Anzac Day at Westpac Stadium between St Kilda and the Sydney Swans.


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