Friday, 17 April 2009

Next stop: Christchurch

After the Easter break our team in New Zealand dismantled the exhibition for its trip south.
There were a number of bets on between Jo (project manager) Duncan Sandeman(NZ Army ) and Alister Verschoor( Waiouru Museum) about how long it would take for them to dismantle.

Jo is pleased to say that she was on target and put it down to her practical "woman skills" however Alister's very clever thought about protecting the plinths that Michael Petterson had built , by putting them in the packing case nearly caused the works to stop. Great idea but we could not lift the crates they were so heavy..so what to do, well of course we had our Paul (Paul Riley - Curator National War Memorial) and he rustled up , no less than a , forklift .
This saw some very heavy boxes loaded onto the truck in record time, not to say how it saved our backs or the worse situation of having to unpack the boxes.

The visitors book has some very poignant comments made by people visiting the exhibition

'A very thought provoking display"
" A beautiful and dignified memorial...thank you"
"Special exhibition,helping our younger generation gain a little understanding of what our forefathers and fore mothers went through"
"A magnificent,powerful exhibition,wonderfully organised,in which facts were given great reverence by the sculptures as well as the photos-I am less ignorant than I was-"
" A very moving tribute-the sculptures are truly beautiful"
" A sobering reminder of what my grandfather T Halstead(Jack) went through at Passchendaele
"A moving experience-thank you from a grateful generation"
" What our father never told us"
" A key factor in New zealand's history that makes us who we are"
"Thank you for bringing this exhibition to New Zealand. I could today pay tribute to my Fathers eldest brother who died in France of wounds received at Passchendaele"


Today the NZ Army will transport the exhibition across Cook Strait to the South Island and then on down to Christchurch ,where a new team under Jo's guidance (now looking for a forklift) will set the exhibition up in Our City o Tautahi ready to be opened by the Mayor of Waimakariri and Mayor of Zonnebeke on 21 April.

The delegation lead by Mayor Cardoen have a busy schedule while they are guests of the Waimakariri District Council, including an official welcome/Powhiri, tour of the district, visits to the Returned Servicemen Associations, whale watching in Kaikoura, a visit to Okains bay which will include a traditional Maori welcome and a visit to one of the best collections of Maori artifacts in New Zealand held in the Museum, the Anzac services at Christchurch, Kaiapoi and Rangiora including the Anzac concert in the Town Hall , with the NZ Army playing, for the first time a specially commissioned piece called "Passchendaele"

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