Sunday, 13 July 2014

New Zealand Garden in the Passchendaele Memorial Gardens at Zonnebeke



It is with great pleasure that the Passchendaele Society’s ‘project team’ announces the launch of the New Zealand Garden Appeal.

Donations are now being sought to help fund the New Zealand Memorial Garden at the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917 in the village of Zonnebeke, Belgium – a place where possibly tens of thousands of New Zealanders will visit over the coming years, so something we feel all New Zealanders can contribute to! The area around the villages of Zonnebeke and Passchendaele in the province of Flanders is of immense significance to New Zealand and its involvement in World War I. A staggering 5,000 New Zealanders were killed in Flanders in the series of battles leading to the Battle of Passchendaele.
We are seeking to raise up to $450,000! This figure includes construction of permanent features here in New Zealand and shipping to Belgium. The final figure will depend on sponsorship of services and materials in New Zealand and how much work is done in Belgium for us pro-bono. Members are encouraged to think about becoming Life Members and/or to encourage others to become members.
We will also be seeking funding from Corporate Sponsorship from iconic New Zealand brand names & businesses – there will be opportunities to adequately recognise sponsors, both here and at the garden site in Belgium. Naming rights is another possibility that could be negotiated.
Donations from individuals may be made via the Telecom crowd funding website http://www.givealittle.co.nz/org/passchsoc1 – 100% of what you donate is then given to this project thanks to the help of the Telecom Foundation. Supporters can create their own fundraising pages to directly support this initiative and become Charity Champions – I just created a Charity Champion page of my own, http://www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/NZGarden It was easy and 100% of donations generated from my page and fundraising efforts will go directly to this project! Or you can fundraise or promote events on your own – for example, placing a small bucket (with a lid on) at your workplace or local garden centre to collect donations; or school ‘mufti’ days with gold coin donations would be wonderful ways to fundraise for this exciting project of national significance!
We have taken on this project in response to a request from the WW100 Director to create a suitable design for a New Zealand themed garden in the grounds of the Zonnebeke Chateau, home to the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917. The Passchendaele Memorial Gardens project includes seven poppy-shaped small gardens designed to represent each nation involved, including Australia and the UK. This is an important opportunity for New Zealand to be represented with its own garden. The gardens are all in the shape of a poppy when seen from the air. Elements include three large “petals”, delineated by red planks; a central area designed for seating containing black gravel; a smaller “petal” containing an information panel; and a flagpole. Plant species will be typical for the represented nation. We published a request for expressions of interest and proposals - the winning design was submitted by Cathy Challinor of Boffa Miskell, a prominent design practice in New Zealand. You can see the winning design here.

A little re-cap of our history - the Rt, Hon. Helen Clark ONZ was in Ypres on 4th October 2007 (the 90th anniversary of the Battle of Broadseinde), when she was representing the Government of New Zealand as Prime Minister where, together with the Flemish Government, they signed the Ypres Agreement (2007).

The agreement committed New Zealand to cooperate in “…increasing broad community recognition…educating younger generations…honouring the war dead…preserving heritage material…and encouraging tourism to commemorative and historical sites in Flanders and New Zealand…”

The Agreement then inspired the Memorial Museum Passchendaele to create a travelling exhibition to New Zealand in 2009 entitled “Passchendaele: The Belgians Have Not Forgotten”. You can read her full speech on our Home page.

This in turn inspired our founding Board members to form the Passchendaele Society here in New Zealand to help increase ‘broad community recognition’ of the Battles of Passchendaele!