On 16 October 1914, ten troop ships left Wellington, carrying more than 8,000 New Zealand soldiers – the Main Body of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force that fought in the First World War.
To commemorate this date and the significant role played by the capital and its residents over the course of New Zealand’s involvement in the war, the Wellington City Council will use the public spaces of the city to bring the past into the present.
Wellingtonians from the beginning of the last century will take to the streets once more, as images of men and women from the time are pasted up around the city as ‘Wall Stories’. Stumbling upon them or seeking them out, current residents will be able to access the stories of these regular men and women who – like them – lived normal lives in the capital until the declaration of war. These Wall Stories are enhanced online where anyone can discover further information unearthed from Wellington’s many archives, as well as tips and hints on how to access similar information about their own relatives.
And on the evenings of the 16th to the 18th of October 2014, the archival history of wartime Wellington will be viewed in the locations it was made – the streets and buildings of the city.
Early film footage of Wellington and its war effort will be combined with still photographs and other visual images and projected onto the facades of three significant locations. The accompanying voice material from veterans and recordings from the period will immerse passers-by in the stories of those who once stood where they themselves now stand.
Curated by the Wellington City Council in association with Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision (formerly the Film Archive) and Te Papa, ‘Wellington – Lest We Forget’ will offer a unique mode of discovering and connecting with the past.