WW100 – New Zealand's First World War Centenary Programme ran from 2014 to 2019

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December 2013 - Director's update

09 December 2013

In this update: launch of New Zealand and the First World War, opening of the Gallipoli 2015 ballot, outreach activities, funding news and a visitor from the French government.

Huge interest in an outstanding book

On Armistice Day in Wellington His Excellency the Governor-General launched New Zealand and the First World War 1914–1919 before a capacity audience at Government House. Since then the author, Damien Fenton of the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, has been in high demand by media organisations, and the resulting publicity has helped accelerate sales of this impressive publication.

A word of warning — it’s selling faster than the proverbial hotcakes, so if you want a copy for yourself or as a Christmas gift, then I suggest you move fast while it’s still available.

His Excellency the Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae signing a copy of New Zealand and the First World War by Damien Fenton.

Gallipoli 2015 ballot opens

The public ballot to attend the 100th anniversary of Anzac Day at Gallipoli in 2015 is now open. The ballot closes 31 January 2014.

Communications with the public in New Zealand are being managed by the New Zealand Defence Force and Veterans’ Affairs New Zealand, who have established a Gallipoli 2015 website and Facebook page and are busy supporting the public through the process.

New voice on Life 100 Years Ago

The Life 100 Years Ago project to Tweet diaries, letters, newspapers from 100 years ago has signed up its first soldier who will share experiences from the battlefields in 2014. His Twitter stream is contributed by the University of Canterbury.

As a Lieutenant in the 8th South Canterbury Mounted Rifles, Roy Thomas Bruce (@bruce_letters) was sent to Gallipoli twice and was promoted to Captain in 1915, and then Major in 1916. He was wounded in action twice, and commanded the 8th in the British victory at the Battle of Rafa. You can read his biography in the Life 100 Years Ago section.

Spreading the word

We’ve been out and about lately, with the programme office staff presenting on the WW100 programme to the:

  • national conference of the Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa
  • national conference of the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services’ Association
  • National Digital Forum (and we ran a stand)
  • WW100, environment and heritage committee of the Lottery Grants Board
  • three-day family history fair in Auckland (and we ran a stand together with Te Papa and the Auckland War Memorial Museum, which was a lot of fun).

Last month Minister Finlayson and I briefed members of the diplomatic corps on New Zealand’s WW100 programme. There was a lot of interest, with about 20 countries represented. Staff from partner agencies (Ministry for Culture & Heritage, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, New Zealand Defence Force, Department of Internal Affairs) also took part in the discussions.

Funding news

The first group of expressions of interest have been lodged for the new Creative New Zealand co-commissioning fund that I mentioned in the October update. This is a two-stage process, with Creative New Zealand assessing the expressions of interest and inviting much more detailed proposals from those applicants selected to go forward to the second stage.

There will be another funding round next year, and expressions of interest for that close on 30 June 2014.

And applications have closed for the third round of WW100 lottery funding, which is so far the final round planned by the Lottery Grants Board. Decisions will be announced in April 2014.

French government visitor

Minister Arif at the National Library, with the French Ambassador, Laurent Contini, on the right.

The French minister responsible for the centenary, Kader Arif, visited New Zealand at the end of last week. Minister Arif hosted the international ministerial meeting in Paris in October, where Minister Finlayson represented New Zealand.

One of the main outcomes of the visit to New Zealand was the two ministers signing a ‘letter of intent’, which will provide the foundation for increased and practical cooperation on centennial projects. 

The two ministers also looked beyond these projects and the ceremonial events planned for the centenary.  They reaffirmed the desire of both governments to continue building on their commitment to peace and understanding. They particularly mentioned encouraging further exchanges between schools, both visits and enhanced educational links through social media. They also encouraged exchanges and cooperation among museums, national archives, universities, media and cultural organisations.

Meet the team

We have two new project managers in the WW100 Programme Office.

Denise Stephens has worked in project management in other government departments including on inter-agency projects. In the programme office she will be focussing on the heritage trail projects in Western Europe and at Gallipoli. Denise majored in history for her undergraduate degree and has a graduate diploma in librarianship and Project Management Professional certification.

Sonia van Ree comes from Standards New Zealand, where she worked with technical committees to produce standards on a variety of subjects. She has also worked in London in team leader roles for several years. Sonia will be managing the interpretation and education centre project at the National War Memorial Park, and managing the programme office’s responsibilities in relation to many of the national commemorations during the centenary period. Sonia studied English and history at Waikato University.

- Andrew Matheson, Director First World War Centenary Programme