Passchendaele Centennial Competition for New Zealand Schools

Winning entry (2017)

An excellent educational resource has been created for use in schools and titled:”Blood and Mud” by a team comprising of Dylan Woodhouse, Tony Wu, Lucy Tustin and Connor Harrigen from St Paul’s Collegiate in Hamilton. The Passchendaele Society has obtained the rights to the website which we continue to improve and enhance. Teachers have our full permission to use this website:

2016 competition

The Veteran’s Affairs annual competition “Why do we remember the battle of Passchendaele?” was won by Mina Bixley from Tauhara College in Taupo. Mina Bixley’s winning entry was a short film she scripted and animated herself. You can view Mina’s entry here

Nina Richardson from Samuel Marsden Collegiate School in Wellington won second prize with the following poem called ‘the things they did, the things they didn’t’

so much has been said
so many words have tried to wrap themselves
around this horror thing
this beast of blood and mud thing

in the aftermath of screaming grey
of cracks, echoes
(an ash cloud that will never quite dissipate)
it’s easy for things to slip between the cracks
for a spark of courage to drift, forgotten
for names to blur into the mud
to disappear in rain, under boot stamp

Passchendaele –
the ground there heavier, somehow
thickened by hot blood and shot-down dreams
hopes pinned to the ground by barbed wire uncut
(few things weigh more than never coming home again)
boy targets still milk-young, all tooth and strong arm

they wilt into pages of text with no beating heart
     0525 preliminary artillery
barrage 12/10 quagmire
     craters gunfire fire shells 845
front and flank and flame

casualty is a cold word
(all stretchers and hospital halls and missing things)
no room for the crumbs of anzac from home, for freckles
for the songs they sang, the last face they saw
when they closed their eyes

this village meant so little, in the end
a shivering emptiness in the spires, the streets
but these men, with their rushing humanity
their bravery fire-hot, footstep after footstep
shot after shell after shot after hell
these men meant so much

they mean our seas, blue and endless
our rolling hills, straining with life
our trees, the songs in them
our skies, full, our hearts
a country living and growing with fervour
with fern and green and good
they mean each free breath

we weep for what they never got to do
we live for what they did

2015 Portia Baine

The 2015 Ministry of Veteran’s Affairs Multi Media Competition “Why should we remember the Battle of Passchendaele?” was won by Portia Baine from Sacred Heart’s Girls College, Hamilton.

Her winning poem was titled “Passchendaele” and not only impressed judges but also all those who were present at the 2015 commemoration at the Auckland War Memorial Museum.

Everyone says

Bring me a memory

make it warm

like a hug and

nostalgic like the childhood

I thought I had.

But no one says

Bring me the past

make it cold and tragic

painful and real.

Bring me the battles which taught tears how to form

and communities how to grieve.

Bring me the memory of a bleak October day

remind me of the Battle of Passchendaele,

tell me how they suffered and died for a war which only foreshadowed another.

Please tell me more.

No one ever says that.

People whisper to each other in front of a stone monument

filled with names and history

and say, wasn’t that awful

I can’t imagine how their families must have felt.

But no one ever says

Please tell me about the death

I want to hear how thousands of lives were ended by

the cut and slice of a reaper called to action

by the assassination of an Archduke.

No one ever walks up to historians

and begs for memories  –  Real memories

Not just Places and Dates,

But Details and Deaths

Facts and Faces.

No one ever says help me remember Passchendaele

Help me make sure that it



Happens again.

No one says that enough.

Portia Baine, 2015.

2013 James Costello Ladanyi

The 2013 Ministry of Veterans’ Affairs Multi Media Competition “Why don’t we remember the Battle of Passchendaele?” was won by James Costello Ladanyi of Scots College, Wellington.

His winning video is:







2012 Nathan Garry

The 2012 Ministry of Veteran’s Affairs Passchendaele Competition was won by  Nathan Garry with the following entry: