Kiwi design to be part of new Passchendaele gardens

Posted on August 5th, 2014

A New Zealand designed poppy garden will be a key part of the Passchendaele Memorial Gardens, which will commemorate the Battle of Passchendaele of 1917,

The Battle of Passchendaele,was New Zealand’s largest military disaster. Over 800 New Zealand soldiers were killed in just one day for virtually no gain. In all some 2800 New Zealanders were killed or wounded during the battle on October 12 1917.

The Passchendaele Society is raising money for the memorial garden, after being asked by WW100, the Government organization set up to remember those who died in World War One.

The society anticipates many New Zealanders will make a pilgrimage to Flanders in Belgium during the World War One centenary commemorations of 2014-2018. When they do they will find the Passchendaele Memorial Gardens project will include nine poppy-shaped small gardens, each representing a partner nation. When seen from the air the gardens will be in the shape of a poppy.

Work has already begun on the gardens, near the Passchendaele Memorial Museum at Zonnebeke Chateau in Belgium. Eventually, all allied countries that took part in the battle: New Zealand, France, Australia, Canada, Britain, the United States and Germany will have individual gardens.

The winning design for the New Zealand garden was submitted by Cathy Challinor of Boffa Miskell, a New Zealand design practice. Boffa Miskell has provided some $15,000 of its time pro bono, and the society has put in $7500 of its own funds. An application will also be made to the Lotteries World War One fund this August. But as more funds are needed this year, the society needs to raise up to $420,000.

Elements of each garden include three large “petals”, delineated by red planks; a central area designed for seating containing black gravel; a smaller “petal” containing an information panel; and a flagpole. Plant species will be typical for the represented nation, including New Zealand native plants.

The Auckland-based Passchendaele Society is using the Telecom crowd funding website Givealittle

– where 100% of what you donate is then given to this project, thanks to help from the Telecom Foundation.

The Society’s president Iain MacKenzie, says that as it is 100 years since World War One began (July 28 1914) it’s natural to remember the huge sacrifices that New Zealanders made, over 18,000 killed out of a population of slightly greater than 1.1 million.

‘During World War One New Zealanders were sent to fight in places many had never heard of before. They were part of a near-global conflict.

‘The power unleashed by industrial technology resulted in previously unimagined and shocking losses.

‘In remembering those losses, we hope that they will never be repeated and that one day war will be a thing of the past.

The early 21st century, 100 years after World War One began, is far from that day.’

To see the design, click here.

For more information of comment please contact Iain MacKenzie

Telephone  Iain MacKenzie, president 09 575 6202 Or 0274 955 226

Or Lawrence Watt (communications) tel 021 366805

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