Friday, 3 April 2015

Battlefield soil ceremony at Messines

 A short but poignant ceremony and blessing was held in the theatre at Mesen/Messines yesterday for soil from the battlefields of Longueval (Somme), Messines and Passchendaele which is destined for the new Great War Exhibition in Wellington, New Zealand.

According to Maori custom (tikanga), Donna Scott and Lewis Whaitiri of the London-based cultural group Ngāti Rānana performed an acceptance and thanks ceremony for what is regarded as a sacred gift (taonga).
A karanga and mihi of thanks were performed and followed by a blessing by the Reverend Brian Llewellyn of St George's Memorial Church, Ieper/Ypres.

The soil, in containers ready for heat-treatment processing today in order to meet New Zealand biosecurity standards, is from three of New Zealand's most iconic World War One battlefields and will form part of the new Great War Exhibition being developed by the film director Sir Peter Jackson. A number of other items are also travelling to the exhibition on loan from the Memorial Museum Passchendaele in Zonnebeke, the Messines collections, The Pond Farm from St Julian - Langemark, the Mémorial de la Bataille d'Arras and other sources.
The Mayor of Messines, Sandy Evrard (left), looks on as Freddy Declerck opens the containers.

The four-year exhibition will be in Wellington’s former Dominion Museum at the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park.

Photos by Di Mackey.

No comments:

Post a Comment