Youth Ambassadors to Gallipoli

Follow the youth ambassadors on their journey to the Gallipoli Commemorations here 


Veterans’ Affairs Multi Media Competition

We are thrilled to learn that the Minister of Veterans’ Affairs, Hon. Nathan Guy has recently announced the 2012 competition for Year 13 students to raise awareness of the Battle of Passchendaele, with a winning prize of a $2000 study grant. The annual competition is again titled ‘Why don’t we remember the Battle of Passchendaele?

If you know of some students that you think may like to enter, then please direct them to the Veterans’ Affairs website to download an entry form. Entries must be in by September 14th and can be presented in any of the following forms:- Artistic Representation; Essay/Letters/Diaries; Music; Poetry; Short Film; Web Feature.


E-Newsletter #3

Welcome to the Passchendaele Society’s 3rd edition of E-News! With just over 2 years before the start of the 100 year Commemorations of the various WW1 battles the news is beginning to pour in thick and fast, hence another edition of E-news before it was due as we would like to keep you all up to date with the developments.

Must See

We wish to draw your attention to the special “The Battle of Passchendaele” section of the Fairfax Last Post First Light website which can be seen here. What a great foundation on which to build all the stories of the First World War and Passchendaele that are waiting to emerge.

The Passchendaele Society has successfully managed to get them to create a special section “The Battle of Passchendaele” in the bar at the top of their Last Post First Light home page – the direct link is

How to research your relatives Military Service

Graeme Wilson and the 3rd Auckland North Regimental Association, together with the help from Passchendaele Society, Lt Col Chris Powell (Commanding Officer of the 3rd Auckland & Northland Battalion Group), Vincent Lipanovich (Auckland War Memorial Museum) and Graham Gibson (President of the Auckland RSA) are proposing two hour seminars on “How To Research Your Relatives’ Military History” during the 2012 Auckland Heritage Festival.

You can offer your individual help directly to Graeme so that he can co-ordinate, either as a presenter for the seminars or as a support person (on the door for example).  If you are able to help and/or would like to get involved, please contact Graeme directly at

The suggested plan so far is for the seminars to be held weekends at Auckland War Memorial Museum and weekdays at Arch Hill, Grey Lynn (Army HQ in Auckland), still to be confirmed:-

Saturday 29 September    AWMM

Sunday 30 September      AWMM

Monday 1 October           Arch Hill

Wednesday 3 October     Arch Hill

Saturday 6 October         AWMM

Sunday 7 October           AWMM

Tuesday 9 October          Arch Hill

Thursday 11 October       Arch Hill

Saturday 13 October       AWMM

Sunday 14 October         AWMM

“Triumph and Tragedy: Battles of 1917” tour July 2012

Massey University invites alumni, friends and those with a passion for military history to an ‘after 5’ function where there will be a presentation by our Historical Advisor Professor Glyn Harper titled “Triumph and Tragedy: Battles of 1917”. Glyn Harper is Professor of War Studies at Massey University and General Editor of the Centenary History Project.

Passchendaele Society members from all over New Zealand have the opportunity to hear Glyn speak as there are 4 sessions:-

Monday 16 July – Auckland War Memorial Museum

Tuesday 17 July – The George (Parkview room), Christchurch

Wednesday 18 July – Massey University Museum Building, Wellington

Thursday 19 July – Massey University (Japanese Lecture Theatre, University House), Palmerston North

Event format:

5.30pm to 6.15pm                             Your opportunity to connect with other alumni, students, staff and friends of Massey (canapés will be served and a cash bar is available)

6.15pm to 6.45pm                             Guest speaker Professor Glyn Harper will talk Triumph and Tragedy: Battles of 1917

6.45pm to 7pm                                  A question and answer session will be held

7pm to 7.10pm                                  Overview of the ‘Centenary History Project’

7.30pm                                             Event Concludes

For more info and to make your booking, please visit the Massey University website or call 06 350 5865 or email .

Honour #3

Following on from the Honour #1 recently awarded to our President Iain MacKenzie (Knight of the Royal Order of the Crown, Belgium) and Honour #2 of the Queen’s Service Medal awarded to the Society’s Historical Advisor Professor Glyn Harper QSM we are proud to announce that there has been a 3rd honour awarded for one amongst our ranks:-

Our Vice-President Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Chris Mullane ONZM, MBE has finally received The Legion of Merit after being awarded it 33 years ago! The delay was caused through an administrative fault which cast doubt on his eligibility for America’s sixth highest military decoration. The award is in recognition of his contribution to leadership in the United States military in the post-Vietnam war era. It was presented by Major General R.F. Mathews, Deputy Commander, US Army Pacific on behalf of the President of the United States of America.

The Legion of Merit is a military decoration of the United States armed forces that is awarded for exceptional meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements. The decoration is issued both to United States military personnel and to military and political figures of foreign governments.

Expert Session at AWMM

Charlotte Descamps is visiting from Belgium. On July 21st at 2pm in the Auckland War Memorial Museum Charlotte will be presenting an Expert Session about ‘Life on the battlefields 95 years later”. She is a seasoned lecturer so we are sure her presentation will be extremely informative! She has been running battlefield tours in Flanders since 2004.

Her talk will cover what remains from the destruction, including the unearthing of bones, ordinance (200 tons of ammunition is still collected every year) and other objects that are a constant reminder of the grinding war that took place on Flanders Fields. More information and reservations can be made on the AWMM website. Meet in the Atrium by the Red Arrow.

Auckland Police Pipe Band

Two of our members, Bob Davis (Hon Secretary of the Passchendaele Society) and John Graham (our own official piper and President of the band), are touring Europe and Flanders in July with the Auckland Police Pipe Band and will be playing at the Menin Gate in Ypres on Tuesday 24th July. The Band will lay a wreath on behalf of the Passchendaele Society as part of a significant New Zealand content  at a ceremony involving the Band in their splendid No 1 uniforms.


2011-2012 Annual Report

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 ; Companies $250.

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.