Today we went to see the excellent exhibition ‘Gallipoli: The Scale of our War’ at the Te Papa Museum in Wellington.
It was stunning as well as very moving. Human figures at war, 2.4 times life size and in such detail that you were almost sure they were real… Personal stories, the despicable conditions suffered and the tragedy of war – it was all there, expertly constructed.
After 8 months fighting and with many casualties on both sides, the 1915 campaign by the allies together with the Anzac forces (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) to capture Istanbul and secure a sea route to the Russian empire was abandoned.
Almost 18,000 New Zealanders – out of the then population of just over a million – died in or because of the war. Everyone remembers that here; children learn about the war’s devastating effect on New Zealand. I left the exhibition with mixed feelings of both awe and desolation.