Lest We Forget - WW100 projects

16 October 2014

One hundred years ago, on 16 October 1914, 10 troopships left Wellington carrying more than 8000 New Zealand soldiers – the main body of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force that fought in World War I.

Wellingtonian Brian Smythe with Hugh Decimus Bridge, his grandfather, and Hugh’s two brothers.

Wellingtonian Brian Smythe with Hugh Decimus Bridge, his grandfather, and Hugh’s two brothers

From a population of one million at the time, 100,000 New Zealanders were directly involved in WWI, including 18,000 who died and 47,000 who were wounded.

To commemorate this date and the significant role played by Wellington and its people, Wellington City Council, in partnership with local archives, is using the public spaces of the city for a free outdoor multimedia event, Wellington – Lest We Forget.

These archival films and photographs – including rare conscription footage filmed for government records only – offer a glimpse into the past, and give Wellingtonians access to our shared WWI history.

Screening times Thursday 16 to Saturday 18 October:

  • 12 midnight St James Theatre facade
  • 8–10.30pm, Shed 1 facade
  • 8–10.30pm, 147 Cuba Street. 

In advance of the Wellington – Lest We Forget projection event, you may have noticed images of 10 Wellingtonians pasted up around the suburbs, along with their personal stories. These eight soldiers, one nurse and one conscientious objector have been chosen to represent the New Zealanders directly involved in WWI. For every 10 who left, two were killed, four were wounded and four returned without physical injury.

If you haven’t come across these Wall Stories yet, they’ll be in place until 18 October or you can visit Lest We Forget - Wall Stories.

Wellington – Lest We Forget is curated by the Council in association with Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision (formerly the New Zealand Film Archive) and Te Papa. It is the first in a series of WW100 commemorations in Wellington run or supported by the Council over the next four years, including the opening of the National War Memorial Park in time for Anzac Day 2015.

For more information about WW100 commemorations in Wellington, information about the role played by the city and its people in WWI, and resources to help you research your own family’s involvement, visit Events - WW100.

WWI heritage story map 

See our city’s World War I heritage places with fresh eyes. Our interactive online Heritage Story Map combines aerial photography of contemporary Wellington with a 1915 map and images and stories from the war. It provides an evocative reminder that the sites so familiar to us were also part of the daily lives of those who experienced this era of New Zealand’s history. Explore it for yourself at World War One Wellington map 

Waterfront heritage sign

The Ministry of Culture and Heritage is marking the centenary of the departure of New Zealand troops with a waterfront heritage sign. This is the first in a series of heritage trails that will include web and app guides to key sites in Europe and Turkey. It will be unveiled on the Te Papa promenade on the waterfront at 6.30pm on Thursday 16 October.