Gallipoli: The scale of our war

Gallipoli: The scale of our war is an exhibition on at Te Papa focused on the Gallipoli campaign during the First World War.

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The exhibition is told through real-life stories of eight New Zealanders – seven soldiers and one nurse. Each person tells a part of the eight month Gallipoli campaign.

The highlight of the exhibition are the large scale models of the eight featured New Zealanders. The models designed by Weta Workshop are 2.4 times human size. These figures took 24,000 hours to create, and they each weigh between 90kg and 150kg.

There is a short six-part series online, which is explores the behind the scenes process of creating this exhibition.

The exhibition, which cost $8 million to develop, also features other models, dioramas, interactive displays, and artefacts, such as uniforms, weapons, and personal diaries.

Gallipoli: the scale of our war is located on level 2 of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, 55 Cable Street, Wellington. Exhibition is open daily 10am – 6pm until April 2019 and is free to visit.

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The Great War Exhibition

The Great War Exhibition in Wellington commemorates the role played by New Zealand in the First World War.

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The exhibition is housed in the historic Dominion Museum building above Pukeahu National War Memorial Park. The National Dominion Museum building opened in 1936 and housed the National Museum, the National Art Gallery, and the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts. In 1972 the Dominion Museum was renamed the National Museum. The National Museum now known as the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa is now located on the waterfront.

Filmmaker Sir Peter Jackson has created this exhibition, which explores the story of the First World War.

The main exhibition is the Grand Hall, which covers the period from pre-1914 until the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. Visitors will enter the exhibition via a pre-war Belgium street. After this we meet Will, a soldier and we follow his journey. The exhibition features dioramas, large-scale props, historical photographs, authentic artefacts and replicas, including a 10 tonne tank and a 11 tonne gun.

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The second exhibition is the ANZ Room – Gallipoli: The New Zealand Story in Colour. This exhibition focuses on Gallipoli campaign. A highlight is the collection of black and white photographs, which have been colourised and a one hundred square metre diorama, featuring over 5,000 hand-painted figurines depicting the capture on Chunuk Bair on August 8th 1915.

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There are also temporary exhibitions when I visited there was an exhibition on women’s involvement in war, which has now closed. Other past exhibitions included topics, such as Passchendaele, the Middle-East, and conscientious objectors.

A new sensory experience Quinn’s Post Trench Experience has opened since I visited.

There are 45 minute guided tours of the Grand Hall between 9:30 am – 4:30 pm. Guided tours are $25 for adults and children are $5. Otherwise general admission is $15 (children under 16 are free). There separate charges for the Trench Experiences, or a combo ticket option available.

I definitely recommend the guided tour and then going back through the Grand Hall at your leisure. I spent just under three hours exploring the exhibition.

The Great War Exhibition is open daily from 9am to 6pm until November 2018 at Dominion Museum Building in Pukeahu National War Memorial Park.

Pukeahu National War Memorial Park

Pukeahu National War Memorial Park is New Zealand’s national place of remembrance located in Wellington.

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Pukeahu National War Memorial Park was created in the grounds of the existing National War Memorial to acknowledge the centenary of the First World War Gallipoli landings. It opened in 2015 ahead of the Anzac Day commemorations.

The National War Memorial was proposed by the Government in 1919. A competition was held in 1929 for the design of War Memorial, which was won by architectural firm Gummer and Ford.

The centrepiece of the War Memorial is a 51 metre high art-deco carillon tower, which was unveiled on ANZAC Day 1932. It was designed as a sister monument to the Peace Tower in Ottawa, Canada. The Carillon features 49 bells, which were made in England. The monument is constructed from New Zealand stone.

Located at the base of the Carillon tower is the Hall of Memories, a commemorative chapel, which opened on 5 April 1964.

In front of the Carillon is the Tomb of Unknown Warrior. In 2004, the remains of an unknown soldier were exhumed from the Caterpillar Valley Cemetery and moved to the National War Memorial. He is one of the more than 1500 New Zealanders killed on the Somme.

At 5pm each night in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior is the Last Post ceremony. The ceremony has been conducted every evening since Anzac Day 2015 and will until 11 November 2018.

The park, which opened in 2015, features several memorials to New Zealand’s allies. Opposite the carillon tower is the Australian Memorial, 15 red sandstone columns, gifted by the Australian Government.

Pukeahu National War Memorial Park is off Buckle Street, in Wellington.

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Bright Nights Auckland

Bright Nights is a waterfront lighting festival at Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour.

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This free festival opened last night and runs from 6pm till late until Sunday 13th May.

The trail begins at the KZ1 boat outside the Maritime Museum and ending at Waitematā Plaza.

As well as various light installations there is a silent disco, ‘glow-in-the-dark’ gelato, and roving street performers.

The event is curated by Angus Muir Design

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St. James Theatre Auckland

The St. James Theatre is a heritage stage theatre and cinema in Queen Street currently closed for restoration.

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The theatre, which was built in 1928, was designed as a vaudeville theatre. The increasing popularity of cinema in the late 1920s allowed for a film projector to be added eighteen months after its opening. The theatre has been a venue for live performances and cinema over the years.

In 2007 the theatre closed following a fire. It briefly opened in 2015 during a restoration period.

The restoration project of the historic theatre has been put on hold for the last nine months after the apartment block project next door stalled.

The planned apartment block building will provide the theatre with toilets and disabled access. It is unlikely that the restoration of the theatre will go ahead without government support for both the restoration project and the apartment building project.

Yesterday morning I had the opportunity to tour the St. James Theatre organised by the community group Save the St. James Theatre Auckland.

The tour was led by Steve Bielby, from The Auckland Notable Properties Trust, who is entrusted with restoring and opening the St. James Theatre.

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Brickman: Wonders of the World

Brickman: Wonders of the World is a touring exhibition made entirely from lego® bricks currently on at Auckland War Memorial Museum.

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The exhibition is led by Ryan ‘Brickman’ McNaught, the only LEGO® Certified Professional in the Southern Hemisphere and one of only 14 in the world.

This exhibition first premiered in Brisbane in 2016 and was followed with an Australian tour visiting Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. Over the summer the exhibition was on at Te Papa in Wellington before a three week run in Hamilton earlier this year.

The exhibition features over 50 large-scale Lego monuments including the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Golden Gate Bridge, Taj Mahal, Great Wall of China, Leaning Tower of Pisa, Arc de Triomphe, the Titanic, and many more.

There is plenty of interactive stations where kids (and ‘big kids at heart’) can build their own models to add to the exhibit.

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McNaught and his team spent 4,944 hours and used over two million bricks, weighing five tons to build these amazing LEGO® masterpieces.

There is also a pop-up LEGO® store in the special exhibitions hall foyer.

The exhibition is on for one more week at the Auckland War Memorial Museum before it closes on Sunday, May 13th.

On a side note the Let Me Myself – The Life Story of Anne Frank touring exhibition developed by the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam is also on at the Auckland War Memorial Museum until May 13th.

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STATUE OF LIBERTY – 8,820 pieces; 43 hours to build

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BIG BEN – 18,437 pieces; 94 hours to build

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NOTRE-DAME DE PARIS – 9,532 pieces; 65 hours to build

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ARC DE TRIOMPHE – 30,000 pieces; 170 hours to build

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SINKING TITANIC – 133,900 pieces; 240 hours to build

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GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE – 27,268 pieces; 125 hours to build

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TAJ MAHAL – 55,000 pieces; 128 hours to build