At the Annual General Meeting held on Wednesday 25th March 2015 members elected the Board for 2015-2016 as:
President: Iain MacKenzie
Vice President: Chris Mullane
Honorary Secretary: Bob Davis
Honorary Treasurer: Mike Hartley
Board Members: Lode Notredame, Leon O’Flynn, Mike Pritchard, Jamie Wansey, Lawrence Watt, Ken Young
The constitution of the Society also allows for a Board Member to represent the 3/6 Auckland-Northland Battalion and Major
John Liddell was welcomed to the Board in June 2015.
During the year Leon O’Flynn and Jamie Wansey resigned their position on the Board due to pressure from work commitments and being frequently overseas. Greg Hall and Sandi Notredame were subsequently co-opted to the Board. Greg continued his role as Minutes Secretary and Sandi maintained her responsibilities (together with daughter Summer) for the Website and eNews.
The Board met formally on six occasions and the attendance record was as follows:
Iain MacKenzie 6/6, Chris Mullane 4/6, Bob Davis 5/6, Mike Hartley 6/6, Greg Hall 3/3, John Liddell 2/4, Lode Notredame 4/6, Sandi Notredame 3/3, Mike Pritchard 6/6, Lawrence Watt 6/6, Ken Young 4/6.
Given our prime objective of increasing community awareness and recognition of the events at Passchendaele and the Western Front related to the Great War of 1914-1918 we continued to focus our energies on those areas which we considered to be the best way of achieving our prime purpose.
The 98th Anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele was commemorated on Monday 12th October 2015 in a moving ceremony in the First World War Hall of Memories at the Auckland War Memorial Museum. The atmosphere in this superb setting was soon matched by the quality of music provided by the Royal New Zealand Navy Band led by Ensemble Leader POMUS Michael Ashton and the Auckland Choral conducted by Professor Uwe Grodd. Brigadier Jon Broadley, New Zealand Defence Force provided the address and the Minister of Veterans Affairs, the Honourable Craig Foss presented Portia Bain from Sacred Heart Girl’s College in Hamilton with her prize as winner of the competition “Why Should We Remember Passchendaele?” Portia read her poem “Passchendaele” which clearly moved the audience.
Significant contributions to the ceremony were made by Passchendaele Society members Honorary Secretary Bob Davis (Master of Ceremonies), Vice President Chris Mullane (Reading), Leon O’Flynn (Prayers), Doug Rose (Bugler) and John Graham (Piper). Wreaths were laid by the Honourable Craig Foss representing the Government and People of New Zealand, the Honourable Phil Goff representing Her Majesty’s Opposition, the Mayor of Auckland Mr Len Brown representing the Council and People of Auckland and representatives of the Consular Corps, Returned and Services Associations, New Zealand Defence Force and other community organisations.
The outstanding organisation of the 98th Anniversary Commemoration Service by Director Ken Young and the Commemorations Committee was recognised in a communication from Roy Clare CBE, Director, Auckland War Memorial Museum who said….”On behalf of all of us at Auckland War Memorial Museum we would like to express our sincere gratitude for all the hard work behind the scenes and on the day to enable the people of New Zealand to ponder in this noble space the awful sacrifices made 98 years ago. Each year the Passchendaele Society raises the bar: yesterday was the perfect commemorative blend of reflection, thoughtfulness, music, reverence, honour and ceremony.”
We also drew members attention to the centennial commemoration ceremonies which will be held in France and Belgium in
2016, 2017 and 2018. Advance information was provided on ceremonies which will commemorate the main centennial dates involving New Zealand’s participation on the Western Front at the Somme, Arras, Messines, Broodseinde, Passchendaele and Le Quesnoy. We will update this information as the dates and venues are officially confirmed.
THE NEW ZEALAND MEMORIAL AND GARDEN
In the Annual Report for 2014 we advised that the Zonnebeke Council which includes Passchendaele had developed the idea of creating within the grounds of the Passchendaele Memorial Museum 1917 a series of seven poppy shaped gardens to represent the countries who had fought at Passchendaele. It was suggested by the New Zealand Ambassador in Belgium Her Excellency Paula Wilson that the creation of the New Zealand Garden could be an appropriate project for the Passchendaele Society and consequently the Board decided to make an application to the Lotteries World War One Commemorations, Environment and Heritage Committee for the funding required.
To our delight a grant of $620,000 was approved by Lotteries and in subsequent negotiations with the Department of Internal Affairs it was agreed that GST could be added to this amount. Vice President Chris Mullane, Honorary Treasurer Mike Hartley and Director Mike Pritchard have taken on responsibility for this project and are now working with Boffa Miskell and Fletcher Buildings to ensure that the Garden will be completed and a low key opening ceremony held in August 2016.
In October 2015 the Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage the Honourable Maggie Barrie planted a New Zealand flax plant on the site evoking past memories of “Maggie’s Garden”. It is a stimulating thought that New Zealanders visiting the Passchendaele Memorial Museum 1917 will be able to reflect on their experiences in a garden created by the Passchendaele Society.
THE NEW ZEALAND REMEMBRANCE TRAIL
Since 2014 the Passchendaele Society has assisted members visiting Flanders by providing an informal guide written by Sandi and Lode Notredame and we have received much positive feedback on how much this “New Zealand Remembrance Trail” has been used and appreciated. At the end of 2015 the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917 released a more comprehensive document which provides information on the Museum itself, the New Zealand Exhibition at the Museum (including the “Falls the Shadow” sculpture from our own member Helen Pollock), New Zealand Walking Trails and Memorials including the Passchendaele Memorial Garden. We have also sent this “New Zealand Remembrance Trail” to members and believe it to be a wonderful addition to the material available on Passchendaele and will be of enormous benefit to members travelling to France and Belgium in the coming years.
In 2015 the Society congratulated the New Zealand Defence Force and the Ministry of Arts, Culture and Heritage on the decision to send 25 Youth Ambassadors to Gallipoli to commemorate the landings on 25th April 1915.
We requested that similar recognition be accorded to Passchendaele on 12th October 2017 and have continued to lobby the Ministry and the Defence Force on this matter. The considerable costs of sending a party of young people to Flanders was recognised by Youth Director Jamie Wansey who generously donated $10,000 of seed funding through his education travel company Student Horizons. Jamie resigned his position as Director this year due to the pressure of work and the frequency of overseas travel and the Board co-opted Sandi Notredame to replace him.
Approaches to the Ministry of Education resulted in the Ministry committing to a Fields of Remembrance Project so that every school in New Zealand had the opportunity to honour, value and learn about the service and sacrifice made by New Zealanders in the First World War. Each school received a project package which enabled them to erect fields of remembrance and hold commemoration ceremonies.
Around 80,000 crosses were erected in more than 2,500 schools throughout the country. The relationship continued with the Ministry organising a World War One competition for pupils entitled ”Their Stories-Our Stories” and a prize giving ceremony was arranged in September 2015 at Parliament. At this ceremony both the Minister of Education the Honourable Hekia Perata and the Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage the Honourable Maggie Barry spoke very highly of the work being done by the Passchendaele Society and the Fields of Remembrance Trust.
FIELDS OF REMEMBRANCE
In addition to the success achieved in schools the Fields of Remembrance Trust also succeeded in 2015 in having fields of remembrance established in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin and in more than a hundred local communities throughout New Zealand. More than 100,000 white crosses were established in schools and communities across the country many featuring in newspapers, magazines, social media and television. A field of 846 white crosses personalised with the details of those who fell on 12th October 1917 at the Battle of Passchendaele was erected by the Trust in the Auckland Domain and was floodlit at night from the Auckland War Memorial Museum.
Many organisations have supported our Society during the year but I would like to make special mention of the special support of the Auckland Returned and Services Association, the Officers Club, the Auckland War Memorial Museum and the Passchendaele Memorial Museum 1917.
It has been extremely satisfying working with such a dedicated and committed Board and members may rest assured that the individual members of the Board have worked consistently to further the objectives of the Society. Without your support however there would not be a Passchendaele Society.
At the Annual General Meeting held on Thursday 20th March 2014 members elected the Board for 2014-2015 as:
President: Iain MacKenzie
Vice President: Chris Mullane
Honorary Secretary: Bob Davis
Honorary Treasurer: Mike Hartley
Board Members: Lode Notredame Leon O’Flynn Mike Pritchard Jamie Wansey Ken Young
During the year Lawrence Watt was co-opted to the Board with responsibilities for the Communications portfolio. Sandi Notredame was co-opted to all Board Meetings. Juliana Austen relinquished her role as Minutes Secretary and we are very grateful to Juliana for her tremendous input. Greg Hall took over the responsibilities of Minutes Secretary in a very able fashion and Sandi Notredame continued her excellent work as e News Editor.
The Board met formally on six occasions and in line with expectations on information required to be provided by Incorporated Societies the attendance record was as follows:
Iain MacKenzie 6/6, Chris Mullane 3/6, Bob Davis 5/6, Mike Hartley 6/6, Lode Notredame 3/6, Sandi Notredame 6/6, Leon O’Flynn 1/6, Mike Pritchard 6/6, Jamie Wansey 3/6, Lawrence Watt 4/5, Ken Young 4/6
Since our Inaugural Meeting on Thursday 17th March 2011 much has been achieved by the Passchendaele Society and previous Annual Reports have recorded these achievements in some detail.
As we approach however the centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele on the 12th October 2017 this report will emphasize the work which is going into our main goals to ensure there is no ambiguity in what we want to achieve by 2017.
Our prime objective has always been to increase community awareness and recognition of the events at Passchendaele and the Western Front related to the Great War of 1914-1918. Given this overall context intensive discussion within the Society has seen four specific areas emerge as the best way to achieve our prime purpose.
- Create Memorable Passchendaele Commemoration Ceremonies
Former Prime Minister The Right Honourable Helen Clark signed the Ypres Agreement of 4th October 2007 where the Flemish Government and the New Zealand Government agreed to cooperate in the field of shared history of the World Wars of the twentieth century. On 12th October 2007 the Prime Minister gave the address at a Commemoration Ceremony in the Auckland War Memorial Museum organised to mark the 90th Anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele.
On the 92nd anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele in 2009 a Passchendaele Commemoration Ceremony was held in Takapuna on Auckland’s North Shore where the Prime Minister the Right Honourable John Key and the Belgian Ambassador His Excellency Patrick Renault laid wreaths on behalf of the Governments and People of New Zealand and Belgium.
Those involved in arranging the Takapuna Commemoration decided to formalise the “Passchendaele Society” and a low key Commemoration Ceremony was held at the Auckland War Memorial Museum on 12th October 2010.
This led to the Passchendaele Society holding its Inaugural Meeting at the Auckland War Memorial Museum on Thursday 17th March 2011 and we organised a Commemoration Ceremony for the 94th anniversary that year in the First World War Hall of Memories at the Museum.
Subsequently the last three years have seen the Passchendaele Commemoration Ceremony at this location develop into one of the most memorable ceremonies in New Zealand and indeed the ambience and quality of participation in the 2014 Commemoration was particularly impressive. The ceremony was covered on national television and a quality DVD created by Phil Thomson.
Superbly organised by Director Ken Young and the Commemorations Committee there were outstanding contributions from Passchendaele Society stalwarts Honorary Secretary Bob Davis (Master of Ceremonies), Vice President Chris Mullane (Reading of The Old Digger), Doug Rose (Bugler) and John Graham (Piper). The music provided by the Royal New Zealand Navy Band led by their Director of Music Owen Clark was indeed memorable and matched only by the voices of the Auckland Choral conducted by Professor Uwe Grodd. Brigadier Peter Kelly, New Zealand Defence Force provided the Address and the Minister for Veterans Affairs, the Honourable Craig Foss presented Siobhan Lenehen as the winner of the competition “Why Don’t We Remember The Battle of Passchendaele?” We are extremely grateful to the Auckland War Memorial Museum for their support in organising this ceremony.
A unique Commemoration Ceremony was also held this year to honour the visit of the restored Steam Locomotive Ab608 Passchendaele to historic Glenbrook Railway on Labour Day, Monday 27th October 2014. Ab608 was built in 1915 during the First World War at the Addington Railways Workshops in Christchurch. After the war in 1925 the Minister of Railways Gordon Coates agreed to a proposal to name a steam locomotive in memory of railway workers who had given their lives for their country. Passchendaele was the name chosen. Ab608 Passchendaele has been restored to full health and working order by the dedicated people at Steam Incorporated in Paekakariki and we offer our congratulations and our admiration for the enormous results they have achieved.
In 2017 Centennial Commemorational Ceremonies have already been planned for:
Auckland (12th October 2017)
Messines (7th June 2017)
Passchendaele (12th October 2017)
Wellington (12th October 2017)
- The New Zealand Memorial and Garden at Passchendaele
Vice President Chris Mullane and Director Mike Pritchard set up a small committee to examine the feasibility of Passchendaele Society support for a proposed New Zealand Memorial Garden at Passchendaele.
The background to this project was set in 2012 when the New Zealand Government contributed 120,000 euros to create a New Zealand flavour at the extensions to the Passchendaele Memorial Museum 1917 at Zonnebeke. Subsequently the Community of Zonnebeke developed the idea of creating in the grounds of the chateau housing the museum a series of seven poppy shaped gardens which could be established to represent the culture and depict the flora of those countries who had fought at Passchendaele. The concept was entitled “The Passchendaele Memorial and Gardens”.
The New Zealand Ambassador in Belgium Her Excellency Paula Wilson suggested to WW100 Director Andrew Mathieson that this could be an excellent project for the Passchendaele Society and he presented the proposal to a special meeting of the Board. With a potential total cost of around one million dollars the Board recognised that whilst the Passchendaele Society was not in a position to fund such a project we could examine ways of leveraging the funding required. We discussed with WW100 the potential success of a Passchendaele Society World War One application to the Lotteries Board and agreed to proceed on this basis.
We then organised a “New Zealand Memorial and Garden at Passchendaele Design Competition” and selected the best design as that submitted by Cathy Challenor of Boffa Miskell who were then invited to develop the design concept and produce working drawings for the project. The Board invested $7,500 in this process and Boffa Miskell contributed more than $20,000 of pro bono work.
This design was sent to the organisers of the project and has since been approved.
On 28th November 2014 the Lottery Grants Board advised us that our application for funding had been declined because the “documentation accompanying the application did not meet with required prerequisites.” They provided some encouraging advice however and invited us to resubmit our application which has subsequently been done. The content of this revised application for $640,000 has been discussed with the Director of WW100 and we are confident that it now meets the prerequisites of the Grants Board. A decision on this application is expected by July 2015.
A further funding possibility has been established through the crowdfunding website http://givealittle.co.nz/org/passchsoc1 and we thank all those members who have contributed to this initiative,
- Younger Generations
Director Jamie Wansey and the Younger Generations Committee have based their activities on a strategy document directed at the life cycle of primary, secondary and tertiary education. Each sector requiring a unique engagement in its understanding of the Passchendaele story.
As Managing Director of education travel company Student Horizons Jamie has generously donated seed funding of $10,000 towards establishing a Younger Generations visit to Passchendaele for the centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele in 2017. The “New Zealand Remembrance Trail” created by Lode and Sandi Notredame will form the basis of the itinerary for the visit.
The Society congratulated the Honourable Maggie Barry, Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage on the decision to recognise the importance of the Gallipoli landings by sending 25 Youth Ambassadors to the 2015 ANZAC Day Commemorations at Gallipoli. We have requested that similar recognition be accorded to Passchendaele in its centennial year in 2017.
We also confirmed our support for the Ministry of Veteran’s Affairs competition
“Why Don’t We Remember the Battle of Passchendaele” which is presented each year at our Passchendaele Commemoration Ceremony at the Auckland War Memorial Museum. The Minister for Veteran’s Affairs the Honourable Craig Foss expressed support for our request to send Youth Ambassadors to Passchendaele in 2017 and asked to be kept involved in our discussions with the Ministry of Arts, Culture and Heritage.
- Fields of Remembrance
On 16th November 2012 the Passchendaele Society as settlor was joined by the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association and the Auckland Returned and Services Association in establishing the Fields of Remembrance Trust.
The objective of the Trust was for all communities throughout New Zealand to create Fields of Remembrance with personalised White Crosses to honour those in their community who lost their lives in the First World War 1914-1918. During 2014 the Trust received a grant of $690,046 from the Lotteries Grants Board towards the project management and coordination of this project. An additional grant of $45,000 was received from the New Zealand Community Trust.
By the end of 2014 eighty seven communities around New Zealand in addition to the four main centres were committed to establishing Fields of Remembrance involving around 18,000 white crosses. During the year the Trust successfully negotiated an arrangement with the Ministry of Education whereby Fields of Remembrance will be established in 2,531 schools and 4,358 early childhood centres. The total number of crosses involved will be around 80,000.
I would like to thank the members of the Society for their valued and continued support during the year. It has been a pleasure to work again with such a dedicated and committed Board. Our grateful appreciation is extended to the Auckland Returned and Services Association for their encouragement and financial assistance and to Boffa Miskell for their pro bono contribution to the design and working drawings for the New Zealand Memorial and Garden at Passchendaele.
Officers and Board Members for the 2013/2014 Year:
At the second Annual General Meeting of the Passchendaele Society held in the Auckland War Memorial Museum on Thursday 14th March 2013 members elected the following Officers and Board Members for the 2013/2014 year.
President: Iain MacKenzie
Vice-President: Chris Mullane
Honorary Secretary: Bob Davis
Honorary Treasurer: Phil Martell
Board Members: Ken Young
Note: Ron Longley resigned during the year to concentrate on the Fields of Remembrance Trust and the Reverend Dr. Leon O’Flynn was co-opted to the Board.
The Ypres Agreement signed on 4th October 2007 saw the Flemish and New Zealand Governments agree to cooperate in the field of shared history of the World Wars of the twentieth century. Specific objectives included “… increasing broad community recognition … educating younger generations … honouring the war dead … preserving heritage material … and encouraging tourism to commemorative and historical sites in Flanders and New Zealand …” When the Passchendaele Society was established on 17th March 2011 we followed the Ypres Agreement and our prime objective was established as increasing community awareness and recognition of the events at Passchendaele and the Western Front related to the Great War of 1914-1918. The specific objectives of the Ypres Agreement were followed by establishing portfolios within the Board and in the 2013-2014 year individual Board members took responsibility as follows:
Community Iain MacKenzie
Younger Generations Pauline McCowan
Commemorations Ken Young
Heritage Material Michael Pritchard
Historic Sites Lode and Sandi Notredame
four other portfolios were considered as essential elements in the efficiency of our operations namely:
Communications Chris Mullane
Related Organisations Ron Longley
Secretarial Services Bob Davis
Financial Services Phil Martell
This system of “portfolios” has proved to be an effective way of organising the governance and management of your Society and we are well placed going into the significant 2014-2018 commemorative period.
We now have an effective structure in place and would welcome greater involvement by our members.
Initially it was envisaged that we would set up “portfolio committees” and meet on a regular basis but experience has indicated that this is a cumbersome and somewhat old fashioned way of working in today’s “virtual world” with its instant communicative capabilities.
My appeal to members who wish to become more involved in the Society’s activities is this. Please think about the “portfolio” or “portfolios” which has most appeal to you and make email contact with the “portfolio director” following the 20th March 2014 Annual General Meeting. It is a rapidly changing scenario but if we can establish “virtual portfolio committees” and utilise the talent we know exists in the Society our effectiveness will grow exponentially. You will receive reminders of this request through the website and our email newsletters.
Board Meetings: The Board met formally on seven occasions during the 2013-2014 year with the meetings starting at 9.30 am and finishing around 1.30 pm. We could have been more “time efficient” but we certainly had “full discussion” on the portfolios.
Members who wish to nominate another member for a Board position in the 2014-2015 year are reminded that written nominations, accompanied by the written consent of the nominee, must be received by the Secretary not less than fifteen (15) clear days before the date of the Annual General meeting i.e. 5th March 2014.
Portfolio Management: We had expected that there would be overlaps in portfolios and this has happened in a few situations. Nevertheless Board Members worked well and collaborated in what otherwise could be considered situations of ambiguity. This did involve a high level of email and telephone contact outside of the formal Board Meetings. The following Portfolio Reports are the result of cooperation in Portfolio Management.
Community: One of the most successful occasions in recent years of increasing community awareness about Passchendaele was in October 2009 when the Passchendaele Memorial Museum 1917 sent the travelling exhibition”Passchendaele: The Belgians Have Not Forgotten” to New Zealand. Outside the Auckland venue at Fort Takapuna 5,000 white crosses were installed to commemorate the 5,000 New Zealand lives which had been lost in Flanders. People coming to see the exhibition soon started personalising these crosses with details and photographs of family members who had perished. Images of this field of remembrance spread rapidly throughout New Zealand through One News and Campbell Live. To mark the commemorative period of 2014 – 2018 the Passchendaele Society discussed the concept of the fields of remembrance with the Auckland Returned and Services Association and the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association and it was decided that a Trust should be set up to encourage and facilitate the participation of New Zealanders in their own communities to remember family members and local people who had lost their lives in the battles of the Great War. The Fields of Remembrance Trust was set up with the Passchendaele Society as settlor and the three organisations being the constituent bodies under the independent chairmanship of Retired Brigadier David McGregor OBE. The concept has since spread to many local communities and Fields of Remembrance have been installed in Christchurch, Devonport, Hawera, New Plymouth, Porirua, Upper Hutt, Waihi, Waipawa, Wellington, Whangarei and elsewhere. A National Cross of Remembrance was installed at Te Papa on 18th April 2013 followed by a Cross of Remembrance in the Grand Foyer of the Auckland War Memorial Museum. In August the Fields of Remembrance Trust and the Passchendaele Society Board met with Andrew Matheson, Director of WW100 to appraise this government established organisation of developments. The project will culminate on Armistice Day 11th November 2018 with a National Field of Remembrance comprising 18,200 white crosses set up in the nation’s capital, for a National Commemoration Ceremony.
Developments at Auckland Council have included the establishment of a World War One Political Steering Group which is chaired by the Mayor. This group includes Councillors Cameron Brewer and Christine Fletcher and Local Board Member Greg Moyle who are all Passchendaele Society members. A Governance Structure for World War One Commemorations has also been set up and is chaired by former councillor Sandra Coney who also heads up the Auckland Domain Master Plan Panel. The Passchendaele Society has made regular submissions to these bodies.
The Auckland War Memorial Museum and Massey University are planning a Passchendaele Symposium which could include visual arts and literary works. Your Society will be involved in this symposium.
Younger Generations: The Society continues to work on strengthening the role of World War One and the Western Front in the educational curriculum of New Zealand schools. Contact has been established with the New Zealand History Teachers Association and a presentation will be given to their conference at Dilworth School, Auckland in September 2014. Founding Passchendaele Society member Ken McKee Wright’s suggestion paper on educating younger generations about Passchendaele will form the basis for discussions with history teachers. Contact has also been established with the Auckland Branch of the School Library Association New Zealand Aotearoa (SLANZA) and a presentation to their members will be made in March 2014.We have also established relationships with individual schools such as Takapuna Grammar School, Auckland Boys Grammar School and Wellington College. The Ministry of Veterans’ Affairs 2013 Competition “Why Don’t We Remember The Battle of Passchendaele?” was won by James Costello Ladanyi of Scots College, Wellington and the Minister of Veterans’ Affairs, the Honourable Michael Woodhouse presented him with his prize of an education grant of $2,000 and the book “Passchendaele: The Anatomy of a Tragedy” by Andrew MacDonald at the Passchendaele Commemoration Service on 12th October 2013 at the Auckland War Memorial Museum. Phil Martell and Pauline McCowan have met with our first Youth Ambassador, Eve Bain and are working with Eve on the roles and responsibilities of Youth Ambassadors and how they can contribute to the Society.
Commemorations: On 12th October 2010 a small group of us stood at the Cenotaph to commemorate the 93rd Anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele. What a difference at the 96th Anniversary when the First World War Hall of Memories at the Auckland War Memorial Museum was filled to capacity. The guest speaker, Major General David Gawn MBE, Chief of Army, confessed “to my shame and notwithstanding my appointment as Chief of Army … I did not know that Passchendaele was a part of Ypres … nor did I know that my Grandfather had fought at Passchendaele until my mother told me a couple of weeks ago …” This open and honest confession from the Chief of Army was a huge confirmation of the rationale in establishing the Passchendaele Society in New Zealand to increase community awareness and recognition of the events at Passchendaele and the Western Front ninety six years ago. Major General Gawn went on to give a suberb and memorable presentation which will be long remembered by the capacity gathering. The Commemoration Ceremony was superbly crafted to include the New Zealand Army Band, the Auckland Choral, a reading of Siegfried Sassoon’s poem “Aftermath” by our own Vice President Chris Mullane and the wreath laying ceremony illustrated the growing number of organisations who have responded to the cry for recognition of Passchendaele by the Passchendaele Society. These included representation from the government and the opposition, Auckland Council, the Auckland Consular Corps, Returned and Services Organisations and of course the strong public representation. A superb DVD of the occasion created by Phil Thompson is available from Ken Young
email@example.com at $12.00 plus postage. The Commemoration Ceremony was again followed by an outstanding Passchendaele Luncheon organised by the Auckland Officers Club where Major General Gawn gave an excellent impromptu address.
Heritage Materials: The Passchendaele Memorial Museum 1917 still has under consideration a new “Passchendaele: The Belgians Have Not Forgotten” exhibition which hopefully could tour New Zealand in railway carriages pulled by the restored steam engine Passchendaele Ab608. The costs involved in such a project would be considerable and the Society is discussing this concept with the Minister of Arts Culture and Heritage, the Honourable Chris Finlayson and the Minister of Defence the Honourable Jonathan Coleman. The Museum is also still working on sending glass cases of material recovered from the Ypres Salient around Passchendaele together with descriptive information to the New Zealand Museums in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. Presentations have been made to the Auckland Domain Master Panel and in particular to Councillor Mike Lee concerning the establishment of a Memorial Court in the Domain and the potential siting of a “Sword into Ploughshares” sculpture by Rik Ryon featuring a soldier in a New Zealand uniform in this Memorial Court. Discussions have also been had on the installation of a Field of Remembrance in 2017 with a White Cross erected for every New Zealander who died in the Battles for Passchendaele. This would include soldiers under the command of the New Zealand Army from other nations and those who died in the later battles for Passchendaele in November 1917 with the Canadian Army. Decisions concerning our submissions to the Auckland Domain Master Panel are anticipated early in 2014. Our approaches to Auckland Council for space in the heritage buildings on the Fort Takapuna Reserve for a potential Passchendaele Society “office and exhibition” area is now with the new Local Board which held its first meeting at the end of 2013. In our 2012 Annual Report we confirmed that the New Zealand Government had contributed 120,000 euros to create a New Zealand flavour at the extensions to the Passchendaele Memorial Museum 1917. The Community of Zonnebeke is now developing “The Passchendaele Memorial Gardens” around the Chateau grounds of the Passchendaele Memorial Museum 1917. This will be a series of seven poppy shaped gardens and they have designated one of these gardens as a potential New Zealand garden. The initiative for the design of the garden rests with New Zealand and the New Zealand Ambassador in Belgium Her Excellency Paula Wilson suggested that this would be an excellent project for the Passchendaele Society. The timing of this project has meant that we were not able to make an application to Lotteries. Nevertheless we are actively looking at ways in which the Society could be involved. One idea being considered is that the New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects and the New Zealand Institute of Architects could run a competition to provide a design for the New Zealand Garden.
Historic Sites: We often receive questions from New Zealanders who are planning a visit to the historic sites of the First World War in France and Belgium. “How long does it take to drive from Calais to Ypres?” “Where is Passchendaele in relation to Ypres?” “How do I get to Tyne Cot Cemetery?” Where should I stay?” “What is the best way to see all the sites that are important to New Zealanders?” “How far away is Le Quesnoy?” Board Members Lode and Sandi Notredame provide these answers and many more in “The New Zealand Remembrance Trail” an informal guide which has evolved from Lode’s extensive knowledge as a tour guide through Flanders Fields and the guided tour company “Quasimodo Tours” which Lode and Sandi set up in Bruges. We are indebted to Lode and Sandi for the work they have put into creating this invaluable guide and for their willingness to make it available free of charge to Passchendaele Society members. We have obtained a quotation of $5,850.00 including GST for a print run of 5,000 copies and are looking for a sponsor for this amount.
Related Organisations: An important part of the work of the Society has been in maintaining contact with organisations who are interested in creating an awareness of New Zealand’s involvement in the First World War. We are for instance an affiliate member of the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association and RSA’s throughout the country have been invited to become corporate members of the Passchendaele Society. The Auckland RSA and Devonport RSA are particularly active in their support of the Society and we are also privileged to have Gore, Rangiora, Stokes Valley, Swanson and Tauranga RSA’s as corporate members. Honorary Members of the Society include the Auckland War Memorial Museum, the Navy Museum, Passchendaele Society 1917 in Flanders, the Ranfurly Trust, the Waimakariri-Zonnebeke Trust, the Royal New Zealand Air Force Museum and the Army Museum.We have also developed relationships with a variety of other organisations including The Steam Incorporated Society, the Auckland Officers Club, Featherstone Heritage Complex Society, Auckland Maori Battalion Association and the Western Front Association. We are in the process of initiating relationships with Hamilton City Council (Ypres), South Wairarapa Council (Messines) and Waipa District Council (Le Quesnoy).
Communications: “Where did you hear about the Passchendaele Society ?”
It would be interesting to quantify the awareness level of Passchendaele and the Passchendaele Society in New Zealand and how people came to know of our existence. The 2009 “Passchendaele: The Belgians Have Not Forgotten” exhibition and associated commemoration activities in Takapuna involving the Prime Minister the Right Honourable John Key certainly resulted in national coverage in terms of television, radio and newspapers. Maintaining continuity of this level of communication on a regular basis is unrealistic but as media interest develops in the centenary of the First World War the opportunity will present itself again to position Passchendaele in the minds of the public. As an example the Fairfax Group have launched their website “Last Post, First Light” and a special section has been devoted to Passchendaele. The Fairfax Group’s Suburban Newspapers support for the 95th and 96th anniversary commemoration ceremonies at the Auckland War Memorial Museum was significant. Our own website: www.passchendaelesociety.org has become established as an excellent communicative source for members and those interested in seeking information on Passchendaele and has been supported by regular “breaking news e newsletters.” It’s all about stories is a phrase frequently heard in connection with the Great War and we are keen to publish a wide variety of stories about people who have been involved at the Western Front and in Flanders in our website.
Honorary Secretary: Bob Davis continued to provide a very personal and welcoming face to the role of Honorary Secretary as our membership grew to 154 in the 2013 year. Bob also made a significant contribution to the planning of the 12th October Commemoration Service and it is difficult to imagine a Passchendaele Commemoration Ceremony without Bob’s outstanding talent as Master of Ceremonies.
Minutes Secretary and Webmaster: Juliana Austen translated the wide ranging discussions of the Board into remarkably succinct minutes and provided the Board with incredibly effective ongoing working documents. Her abilities were also recognised by her appointment as Minutes Secretary of the Fields of Remembrance Trust. She developed outstanding Communications Protocols for the Board and the quality and presentation of information on the website is a confirmation of Julia’s abilities on a wider canvas.
E-News: Sandi Notredame combined with Bob to keep members up to date with regular pro active information and awareness of events and activities. We are aware that this has been well appreciated.
Honorary Treasurer: Phil Martell provided the Board with regular and insightful financial information and has negotiated better terms with Kiwi Bank for our monies on call. He established the Passchendaele Society as a registered charity with the Inland Revenue Department ensuring that donations to the Society are tax deductible. In addition the Society has been granted an exemption from income tax on interest and dividends. Outside of his Treasurer’s role Phil continues to make a strong contribution to the Younger Generations portfolio.
Donations: The Auckland and Returned Services Association provided a grant of $3,000 to assist the Passchendaele Society to contribute $5,000 to the setting up of the Fields of Remembrance Trust and we are most grateful for the ongoing financial support given by Auckland RSA.
My sincere thanks to all members of the Board and to our members for the continuity of effective and uplifting support which has resulted in an extremely successful year and ensures we are well prepared going into the 2014-2018 period of commemorations for the centenaries of the Great War.
The Passchendaele Society was set up in 2011 when we described ourselves as being an action group working towards better nationwide recognition of the influence which Passchendaele and the Western Front, during the Great War of 1914-1918, had on the development of our nationhood and sense of national identity.
We defined our prime objective as increasing community awareness and recognition of those events and a special goal of ensuring that New Zealand give national recognition to the centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele in 2017.
In just two short years we can claim to have made significant progress in achieving these goals and this has been accompanied by a growing recognition in the status of your society.
As the centenary of the First World War approaches we have seen encouraging signs that national and local governments are preparing to acknowledge the importance of this event to contemporary New Zealand and New Zealanders.
Passchendaele itself is now on the Cabinet Agenda and will be recognised as one of the major elements in the 2014-2018 centenary commemorations. The Government has set up a cabinet sub committee of Ministers, an advisory panel of key New Zealanders including Sir Peter Jackson, a World War One Centenary Programme Office and a Lottery World War One Commemorations, Environment and Heritage Committee. This Committee has been awarded $17 million of which $10 million will be spent on projects of national significance and $7 million on general community projects.
The Government has also made a contribution of 120,000 euros to create a New Zealand flavour at the exhibition and gardens extension to the Passchendaele Memorial Museum 1917, part of a project to improve interpretation at World War One battlefields of significance to New Zealanders.
In November 2012 the Belgian Government sent a high powered delegation to New Zealand led by HRH Prince Philippe to “ deepen the contacts with New Zealanders involved in the centenary of the First World War and to explore ways of setting up joint activities in Belgium or in New Zealand”. The Passchendaele Society was represented in a round table forum with the Prince, a detailed discussion meeting with the Belgian Federal Organising Committee for the WW1 Centenary and received invitations to a reception held at the Auckland War Memorial Museum.
Your Board met on eight occasions over the year and conducted a busy schedule of activities outside of the boardroom. We have appreciated the use of the Navy Museum Boardroom for our earlier meetings. Thanks to the generosity of the Devonport RSA we now hold our meetings in their premises.
The specific objectives of the Passchendaele Society are based on the Ypres Agreement signed on 4th October 2007 where the Flemish Government and the New Zealand Government agreed to…..”..increase broad community recognition… …educate younger generations…honour the war dead…preserve heritage material…and encourage tourism to commemorative and historical sites in Flanders and New Zealand…”
Community: We have received great support from Auckland Councillors, Mike Lee, Sandra Coney, Chris Fletcher and Cameron Brewer. Councillor Coney as Chair of the Council’s Parks Recreation and Heritage Forum recommended to Council that a governance structure should be set up to provide leadership and coordination of the Council’s role in the centennial of World War One. An essential part of this has been the setting up of a Political Steering Group led by the Mayor. Councillor Coney and Noel Reardon (Manager Heritage) took part in the discussions with the Belgian Federal Organising Committee for World War One Commemorations in November 2012.
The Board have given consideration to a series of potential centenary projects however one project has emerged which is considered to have significant national impact. During the 2007 Passchendaele Commemoration activities we erected five thousand white crosses on the old parade ground at Fort Takapuna to honour the five thousand New Zealand soldiers who lost their lives in Flanders. Vice President Chris Mullane has taken this concept and proposed the setting up of a “Fields of Remembrance Trust” to lead a “White Crosses Project”. The Project will encourage New Zealanders to create personalised white crosses in honour of every New Zealander who served during World War One and especially the more than eighteen thousand who lost their lives in the Great War. The constituent bodies in this Trust are the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association, the Auckland Returned and Services Association and the Passchendaele Society. Chris has subsequently been appointed Executive Director of the Fields of Remembrance Trust and will outline after the AGM in March 2013 the exciting possibilities for involving Passchendaele Society members in this project.
Younger Generations: We were thrilled to feature Nathan Garry, winner of the “Why Don’t We Remember The Battle of Passchendaele” competition for 2012 at the 95th Commemoration Ceremony. The younger generation were further represented by Alice Fowlds, Ruben Ross and Passchendaele Bristow who were winners in the Suburban Newspapers Passchendaele Tributes competition. Our Youth Ambassador Eve Bain laid a wreath on behalf of the Society at the ceremony held at the National War Memorial in Wellington. Phil Martell has been scoping our projected “Programme for Schools” based on Ken McKee Wright’s conceptual material. This has involved discussions on the role of World War One in the education curriculum of New Zealand schools and taken into account the views of the History Teachers Association. This project is likely to become a major pillar of the Society’s activities and a significant part of donated income will be directed into our “Project for Schools”. The programme will be designed in a way that encourages members to become involved in local school and community activity.
Commemorations: Wreaths were laid by the Society at the Cenotaph in the Domain on ANZAC Day and Armistice Day and of course at our 95th Commemoration Ceremony on 12th October 2012. Ken Young organised a moving and impressive ceremony in the World War One Memorial and Hall of Memories in the Auckland War Memorial Museum which was filled to capacity. The Master of Ceremonies, Bob Davis captured the essence of the day and the Honourable Nathan Guy, Minister of Veterans Affairs made a presentation to Nathan Garry for his outstanding essay in the “Why Don’t We Remember The Battle of Passchendaele” competition.
Key addresses were delivered by Professor Glyn Harper and Lt Col Chris Powell, both members of the Passchendaele Society. Significant support was given by Auckland Council, the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association, Auckland District RSA, Auckland RSA,the Royal New Zealand Navy, the 3rd Auckland and Northland Battalion Group, the Royal New Zealand Air Force, the Auckland Officers Club and representatives from the Auckland Consular Corps including Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland and Belgium. Memorable for many would be outstanding musical contributions from the Members of Auckland Choral and the Band of the Royal Regiment of the New Zealand Artillary and of course our own piper Pipe Sgt John Graham, and bugler Sgt Doug Rose. The overall support from the Auckland War Memorial Museum was magnificent and the event was captured on DVD by Phil Thomson.
Heritage Material: The “Passchendaele: The Belgians Have Not Forgotten” exhibition which toured New Zealand in 2009 contained particularly memorable work from the Flemish sculptor Rik Ryon. Mike Pritchard has kept in close contact with Rik and this is leading towards a “Sword into Ploughshares” macquette and full scale sculpture featuring a soldier in New Zealand uniform. We will apply to the Lottery World War One Commemorations, Environment and Heritage Committee for funding to support this initiative. Approaches to the Auckland Council have been made which could result in the revival of plans to establish a Memorial Court in the Domain on the same axis as the Cenotaph and this would be a superb and appropriate setting for this work. The Passchendaele Memorial Museum 1917 has under consideration a new “Passchendaele: The Belgians Have Not Forgotten” exhibition which hopefully could tour New Zealand in railway carriages pulled by the restored steam engine Passchendaele Ab608. Our friends at Passchendaele are also progressing arrangements for the export to New Zealand of four sets of items recovered from the Ypres Salient around Passchendaele. The New Zealand Museums in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin are preparing to receive this material and there will be a class set of materials for each centre which will be supplied together with descriptive information.
Progress is being made with the approaches to Auckland Council for space in the heritage buildings on the Fort Takapuna Reserve. It is hoped to use this space for a Passchendaele Society “office”, a permanent exhibition area for a reduced version of “Passchendaele: The Belgians Have Not Forgotten” and an area to recognize the Maori Pioneer Battalion and the Pacific Island Volunteers who trained there before going off to serve in World War One.
Historic Sites: The creation of a governance structure within Auckland Council to provide leadership and coordination of World War One commemoration activies provides Lode Notredame with follow up opportunies on the work which has been done by the Society on monuments displaying incorrect information.
As we approach the 2014-2018 World War One centenary period the number of New Zealanders making a decision to visit the Western Front, Flanders and Passchendaele battlefield sites is likely to increase dramatically. Lode is consequently preparing a “New Zealand Remembrance Trail” which at present is in draft form. This is in effect a self-guided tour through the countryside which follows the footsteps of New Zealand soldiers. It begins and ends in Ypres. This will become an essential part of preparations for trips to Europe and is based on Lode’s experience as a tour guide on the Passchendaele battlefields.
Communications: We were honoured when our Patron, the Right Honourable Helen Clark made a powerful speech at the opening of the newly renovated” In Flanders Fields” Museum in Ypres on the 9th June 2012. Her address was shown on New Zealand Television complete with complimentary observations on the work being done by the Passchendaele Society in New Zealand.
After a great deal of planning involving our Vice President Chris Mullane the Fairfax Group launched their website “Last Post, First Light” to commemorate New Zealand’s military history. A special section has been devoted to Passchendaele and the Passchendaele Society website was linked into this initiative. In the lead up to the 95th Commemoration Ceremony we received wonderful support from Fairfax’s Suburban Newspapers who syndicated articles on Passchendaele throughout all of the papers in the group. This led to significant community interest in the 12th October 2012 ceremony at the Auckland War Memorial Museum. In our last Annual Report we indicated that the restraint on developing www.passchendaelesociety.org into a fully functional website was financial. Support from the Auckland RSA, Devonport RSA and the Officers Club ensured that this restraint was removed and when the Board co-opted member Juliana Austen to look after the site the quantity and quality of information increased dramatically. Juliana also took on responsibilities as Minute Secretary to the Board with similar results. The effectiveness of the website was also enhanced when it was decided to support this with a proactive E-News service to members and Sandi Notredame took on this challenge with outstanding results. With the appointment of Chris Mullane as Executive Director of the Fields of Remembrance Trust and the extra work load which this entails Sandi has taken over responsibility for the Communications portfolio.
Military: In January 2012 a proposal was released by the New Zealand Defence Force to disband seven Military Reserve Force Bands including the Band of the Royal New Zealand Artillery which has a 149 year history. Your Board expressed serious concern to the Prime Minister, the Minister of Defence, the Chiefs of Army, Navy and Air and to the Leaders of all political parties but to our dismay these proposals have been implemented. The World War One Centenary Commemorations will be seriously affected by this decision.
The support given to the Society this year by the 3rd Auckland and Northland Battalion was outstanding . The Commanding Officer of the Battalion is an ex officio Director on the Passchendaele Society Board and we were privileged to receive first class service from Lt Col Chris Powell. In 2009 Chris contributed to the success of the commemoration activities in Takapuna and coordinated the Defence Forces involvement in street parades and a march past involving the Prime Minister and the Belgian Ambassador. Without his efforts the commemorations may not have taken place and the movement towards setting up the Passchendaele Society may not have happened. Chris is moving on in his career and our best wishes are extended to this outstanding officer and member of our Board. His successor as Commanding Officer of the “Aucks” and therefore ex- officio Director of the Passchendaele Society will be Lt Col Julian Sewell who will be domiciled in Tauranga.
Related Organisations: At the AGM in 2012 it was proposed that the Auckland War Memorial Museum, the Navy Museum, Passchendaele Society 1917, the Ranfurly Trust, the Waimakariri – Zonnebeke Trust, the RNZAF Museum and the Army Museum be invited to become “Subscription Exempt Corporate Members ” This was amended at the AGM to” Honorary Corporate Members” and it was recommended that the Board clarify this within the Society’s constitution. When the Board subsequently discussed this we decided that since there was no category of Honorary Corporate Member the best solution was to invite these institutions as “Honorary Members”. This motion will be put to the members at the 2013 AGM.
Thanks to the efforts of Ron Longley the National Council of the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association on 16 October 2012 approved the application of the Passchendaele Society to become an affiliate member of the RNZRSA. Reciprocal arrangements were also agreed to and RNZRSA is now a Corporate Member of the Passchendaele Society. Strong interest in the work of the Passchendaele Society was expressed by many local RSAs at the national council and increased applications for corporate membership of the Society from RSAs can be anticipated. In addition to significant financial donations from the Auckland Officers Club, Auckland RSA and Devonport RSA, the Auckland RSA provided funding for display stand material which included a pull up display unit and a double sided teardrop flag which have figured prominently at Society functions.
Honorary Secretary: The role of Honorary Secretary of the Society has been more than ably carried out by Bob Davis who has been a welcoming first point of contact to new members. Bob has also enhanced the commemoration ceremonies as an outstanding Master of Ceremonies.
Honorary Treasurer: We are indebted to Bill Rayner for his work in setting up the financial structure of the Society. Other commitments have made it difficult for Bill to regularly attend Board Meetings and Phil Martell has efficiently taken over these responsibilities as you will see from the Statement of Accounts. Phil is working towards recognition of the Society as a Charitable Entity by the Inland Revenue Department and the Charities Commission.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all members of the Board and the membership for the outstanding contributions which have been made this year and for creating a Society which is becoming recognised as one which is living up to its objectives.
Iain MacKenzie (President)
The first year of the Passchendaele Society was marked by an enthusiastic response to the need to increase New Zealander’s awareness and recognition of the events at Passchendaele and the Western Front related to the Great War of 1914-1918 and the importance of this in an historical, cultural and societal context.
The Inaugural Meeting held at Auckland War Memorial Museum on Thursday 17th March 2011 was attended by 25 founding members and appointed an Inaugural Board consisting of a President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, the Commander of the 3rd Auckland Northland Battalion Group (ex-officio) and four other Board Members. This Board has met formally on six occasions during the year. Professor Glyn Harper author of the acclaimed “Massacre at Passchendaele” was invited to attend one of those meetings and to our delight has agreed to become the Historical Adviser to the Society. Whilst formal membership drive activities have not yet been carried out we now have 62 members.
A milestone in our first year was the incorporation of the Society on the 17th June 2011 and this was followed in response to an enquiry from the Board, by an indication from the Right Honourable Helen Clark that she would be honoured to become Patron of the Society. The Board are delighted with this indication since the objectives of our Society are based on the Ypres Agreement with the Flemish Government, which Helen Clark as Prime Minister signed on behalf of the New Zealand Government on 4th October 2007. A notice of motion proposing that the Right Honourable Helen Clark be appointed as Patron of the Passchendaele Society will be presented to members at the Annual General Meeting on 22 March 2012 at the Auckland War Memorial Museum.
In terms of membership our constitution determines three classes of paid membership and the Board will recommend to the Annual General Meeting that the fees for the 2012-2013 year be determined as follows:
Individual Members $20
Paid Life Member $250
Corporate Members: Returned and Services Associations $100
The Board will also propose to the Annual General Meeting that the Auckland War Memorial Museum, the Navy Museum, Passchendaele Society 1917, the Ranfurly Trust and the Waimakariri – Zonnebeke Trust be invited to become Corporate Members exempt from fee paying requirements.
Board Members took on individual responsibility for the seven specific objective areas and set up a variety of committees and contacts within the membership. The actions taken in those areas form the core of this report.
I would like to thank the members of the Society for their support in its establishment, for your encouragement in our start up year and for the indications of continued support for the Society as it builds towards the significant anniversary year of 2017. Particular thanks are given to those who have held office for what you have achieved. It has been a privilege to be part of this momentous year.
Iain MacKenzie President
Heritage Material (Mike Pritchard)
Passchendaele Memorial Museum at Fort Takapuna – Auckland Council is considering a programme for the renovation of the buildings at Fort Takapuna and the Board have under consideration adapting space for a permanent display of the information panels from the “Passchendaele: The Belgians Have Not Forgotten” exhibition. Supporting this would be materials recovered from the battlefield presented to our Society by Freddy Declerk, Director of the Passchendaele Memorial Museum.
It is estimated that the costs involved for the society in adapting the space and fitting out the Museum would be around $ 10,000 whilst the operating costs on a weekend only basis would be about $500 pa on the basis of volunteer labour.
Main Centre Museums in New Zealand – The Passchendaele Memorial Museum has also offered to provide “glass case”materials recovered from the battlefield for each of the main centre museums in New Zealand.
Auckland War Memorial Museum Memorial Court – A formal approach has been made to Auckland Council to revive the plans made in the 1930s to establish a Memorial Court in the Domain on the same axis as the Cenotaph. Such a project could be used to commemorate the First World War and focus attention on all the campaigns in which the populations of greater Auckland have been involved. Rik Ryon the Flemish sculptor whose work was applauded in the “Passchendaele: The Belgians Have Not Forgotten” exhibition is prepared to work on a suitable memorial to recognise the contribution of the Auckland Regiments to the battles at Passchendaele.
The Auckland Plan Submissions were made to the Auckland Plan about the need for priority to be given to organisations involved with military history when utilisation of defence buildings on Council reserve land is being considered.
Younger Generations (Phil Martell)
Phil Martell was coopted by the Board as Director of Younger Generations following his enthusiastic participation and support for the Society’s activities since becoming a founding member. The leadership and coordination of our involvement with younger generations is a key part of the role of the Society and this appointment will help us to move forward in a cohesive and positive way to the suggestions coming from our members.
Dianne Northcott, Schools Programme Director at the Auckland War Memorial Museum is extremely enthusiastic about putting together a programme on Passchendaele for schools. The new Museum Director Roy Clare has confirmed his support for Dianne’s involvement and Eve Bain winner of the “Why Don’t We Remember The Battle Of Passchendaele” competition has agreed to contribute to this programme. It is anticipated that the programme could be installed on the Society’s website and so made available for all schools wishing to participate.
Our founding member Ken McKee Wright is also preparing a presentation to a Society “think tank” with the purpose of generating constructive ideas, which could be refined into a workable plan for educating younger generations.
Many suggestions have been received from members about New Zealand school visits to Flanders and we have received an official request from Orewa College to help them organise a visit of 60 students, teachers and parents to Passchendaele.
Historic Sites (Lode Notredame)
Glyn Harper’s book “Massacre at Passchendaele” contains a list of all the New Zealand fallen with full name, rank, registration number, regiment, age, next of kin and addresses. Historic Sites Committee members are attempting to relate where those names are commemorated on specific monuments in New Zealand. It has been suggested that the Society could approach selected schools and councils with a view to establishing recognition such as planting trees, or establishing murals, art or sculpture.
A list of monuments displaying incorrect information eg Messines, France is being compiled and we are attempting to have the mistakes corrected. Establishing website links to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the Auckland War Memorial Museum is an essential path to tracing the fallen. Contact was established with Liliane Opsomer, Deputy Director and Media Relation of the Tourist Office for Flanders in November 2011 with a view to receiving regular news and information about things happening in Flanders and developing links to their website so that we can provide a suggested Passchendaele Society tour itinerary on our website.
Sixty students, teachers and parents from Orewa College will be in Belgium on ANZAC Day 2013. They will be in and around Ypres for about four days and with assistance from the Passchendaele Society will explore battlefields, cemeteries and other sites associated with the Great War. We will also help them make contact with Belgian students and participate in remembrance and commemoration ceremonies such as the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate.
Community Awareness (Iain MacKenzie)
An extremely successful activity in creating awareness of Passchendaele came as a result of the efforts of our member Helen Pollock. Helen’s well known sculpture “Falls the Shadow” has not only featured at the Auckland War Memorial Museum but will obtain a permanent place in the Passchendaele Memorial Museum at Zonnebeke in Belgium. Helen organised three documentary film tributes by herself, Robyn Malcolm and “Curly” Blyth’s grandson, David Blyth, under the title of “New Zealanders On the Western Front in World War On” as part of the Auckland Heritage Festival 2011 in the lead up to the Commemoration Ceremony on 12 October 2011.
Member Lawrence Watt had an extremely well written article published in the Dominion Post on the 94th anniversary entitled “New Zealand Should Remember Our Blackest Day”.
On behalf of the Society the President laid wreaths at the Auckland War Memorial Museum during the ANZAC Day ceremony on 25 April 2011 and the Armistice Day commemoration on 11 November 2011. On the 94th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele on 12 October 2011 the Society organised a most successful commemoration ceremony, which was attended by the Honourable Judith Collins, Minister of Veterans’ Affairs and the Honourable Wayne Mapp, Minister of Defence. We received strong support from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Auckland District RSA, Auckland RSA and the Auckland War Memorial Museum itself. Mike Lee represented the Auckland Council and Sandra Coney, Christine Fletcher and Cameron Brewer provided further support. The Official Passchendaele Society Piper John Graham and Bugler Doug Rose added a great deal to the proceedings. Following the ceremony The Minister of Veterans’ Affairs presented Eve Bain as the winner of the inaugural “Why Don”t We Remember The Battle Of Passchendaele?” contest for all year 13 students of New Zealand Secondary Schools .
The Auckland Plan Submissions were made to the Auckland Plan asking the Auckland Council to recognise the 12th of October each year as the anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele and give special recognition to the 12th of October 2017 as the centenary of the Battle.
Restoration of the Steam Locomotive Passchendaele – We have made contact with Steam Incorporated at Paekakariki who are renovating the famous steam locomotive Passchendaele. It is hoped that there may be a possibility to utilise the restored locomotive to increase awareness of our Society and our objectives.
Communications (Chris Mullane)
Through the generosity of Alan Cole who owns Sparkle Dry Cleaners we were able to produce a Passchendaele Society brochure, which will be used to generate membership and sponsorship interest. Our web site was largely established through the efforts of Chris, Mike Pritchard, Juliana Austen and we were helped by a grant from the Rotary Club of Newmarket and the Devonport RSA. The restraint on developing this into a fully functional web site is financial. A great deal of work went into establishing an eye-catching logo which we can all be proud of. More funding is required to develop this web site and take full advantage of the communications potential, which it can provide. A programme on Passchendaele, which could be accessed and utilised by schools is part of the planning.
Charlotte Descamps, the treasurer of the Belgian Passchendaele Society 1917 will be coming to New Zealand in July 2012 and we are planning a series of presentations with the theme “Life On The Battlefields 94 Years Later”.
The success of the communications function in obtaining media coverage for the 2009 “Passchendaele: The Belgians Have Not Forgotten” was largely due to the support of the North Shore City Council and our access to their communications personnel. We are working to develop similar relationships with Auckland Council and key media organisations. The 5,000 white crosses used in 2009 “hooked” in the media and we are conscious of the need to utilise such strategies.
Apart from more general public communications we will establish specific contacts with Councils and Trusts in New Zealand, which have a related interest in the First World War. These include Featherston (Messines), Cambridge (Le Quenoy) and the Waimakariri – Zonnebeke Trust (Passchendaele).
Commemorations (Ken Young)
The Commemorations Ceremony for the 94th Anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele on 12th October 2011 at the World War One Memorial and Hall of Memories in the Auckland War Memorial Museum was a great success. Well attended and honoured by the presence of the Honourable Judith Collins Minister of Veterans’ Affairs and the Honourable Wayne Mapp Minister of Defence, it was a fitting tribute to the fallen. Significant was the support given by Auckland Council, Auckland District RSA, Auckland RSA, the Royal New Zealand Navy, the 3rd Auckland and Northland Battalion Group (who had three Battalions at Passchendaele), the Royal New Zealand Air Force, the Auckland Officers Club, the Consulate of Belgium and the Service Academies. Our official Passchendaele Society Bugler Doug Rose and Piper John Graham helped to create a memorable occasion. After the ceremony Minister Collins made a presentation to Eve Bain, the 17 year old Whangaparaoa College student, who won the “Why Don’t We Remember The Battle of Passchendaele?” competition initiated by the Ministry of Veterans’ Affairs.
In conjunction with the Commemoration Ceremony the Auckland Officers Club organised a highly successful Passchendaele Commemoration Luncheon with our President as the guest speaker and to which members of the Passchendaele Society were invited.
Military (Chris Powell)
As Commander of the 3rd Auckland Northland Battalion Group, Chris made a vital contribution to the success of the 2009 Commemoration Ceremonies and the “Passchendaele: The Belgians Have Not Forgotten” exhibition. Support from the Battalion continued with the formation of our Society and use of the Great North Road facilities was much appreciated as was the presence and involvement of Battalion personnel at the 2011 Passchendaele Commemoration. Chris was given the honour of being seconded for the last six months as Deputy Commander of the International Stabilisation Force and Senior National Officer of the New Zealand military contingent in East Timor. During that time we have received quality assistance from Major Terry O’Neil.
In January 2012 a proposal was released by the New Zealand Defence Force proposing to disband seven Military Territorial Force and Reserve Bands including the Band of the Royal New Zealand Artillery, which has a 148 year old history. This proposal was particularly concerning to your Board in light of the extensive World War One centenary commemorations which will commence in two years time and which can be expected to significantly increase the demand for military bands for commemorative events throughout New Zealand and for representation overseas at the anniversaries of historic New Zealand battles such as Passchendaele. Our serious concern at this proposal was expressed in letters to the Prime Minister, the Minister of Defence, The Chiefs of Army, Navy and Air, and relevant politicians. The savings to be gained from this proposal in no way matches the loss to the country. Our Honorary Secretary Bob Davis, as the previous President of the International Military Music Society, was able to provide international evidence of this.
Honorary Secretary and Honorary Treasurer The Board was ably supported by the secretarial and financial services provided by Bob Davis and Bill Rayner.