Wellington Scoop

Why were we there?

cut park 2
Photo: G.V. Tedin

Suddenly, Wellington has a new park that’s attracting enormous numbers of people. This was the crowd last night.

mempark 2

Thousands have been coming all week to look at the excellent light show, projected on the carillon and on the old Dominion Museum building that now houses Peter Jackson’s Great War Exhibition.

The new public space is officially a war memorial park. But the atmosphere among the night time crowds has been more like a carnival, a spectacle. Making it a strange experience, specially when you realise, as Gordon Campbell correctly points out, that the Anzac battle that’s the focus of this weekend’s events was

an invasion marred throughout by a combination of inept military planning in the field and imperial jingoism back home … something you’d think that modern New Zealand would prefer to forget.

Nitwithstanding our knowledge or lack of knowledge of history, the centenary of the battle has led to politicians approving big expenditure that’s resulted in Wellington acquiring a fine new public space, as well as a small tunnel (it should have been longer) so that traffic doesn’t have to drive through the park.

anzac biscuits in tunnel
Photo: Deborah Robb

Contrarily, however, traffic was diverted this morning and the tunnel was closed, for the serving of cups of tea and Anzac biscuits.

What’s to commemorate?
Have Anzac celebrations become a “military halloween”?