On a recent trip to New Zealand, I kept running smack dab into exhibits and memorials about New Zealand in World War I (as British colonies, the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) fought for the British Empire). The first time was at the Auckland War Memorial Museum. Not surprising, although most of the museum was about Maori and New Zealand history, not just the wars. Anyway, the museum had interesting exhibits about WWI. My favorite was a video that featured five Maori students reading their poetry about the Maori soldiers who fought (and died) with the ANZACs in WWI. Like some American Indians who fought with the American Expeditionary Forces, Maori men also fought. The museum also had many of the more typical WWI-type exhibits such as the German machine gunner (on the right). I liked my photo angle though.
When we were out hiking in the Coromandel peninsula, we also came upon a WWI Memorial Forest Grove. These are being planted around the peninsula to commemorate the New Zealand soldiers, especially those from the area, who fought and died in the Great War. Everybody else walked right by the signs, but of course, I had to stop for a photo shoot.
Walking down a street in Auckland on one of my last days in New Zealand, I found another memorial – Auckland’s First World War Heritage Trail. The site I happened upon was about the YMCA in New Zealand and their role in the war. There are 56 sites on the Trail, and they tend to focus on efforts on the home front. For more information, the sign recommended picking up one of the brochures at “your local library.” So I stopped in. Unfortunately, the three librarians I asked knew nothing about the trail. Up in the research section of the library, I found the brochure on an out of the way shelf. It felt good to know that I educated three Aucklanders about their Trail. I look forward to my next visit to New Zealand to educate even more.