WWI his­tory given new life with con­test

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By KARINA ABADIA

It’s hard to be­lieve that many of the men who died in the bat­tle of Pass­chen­daele were in their late teens.

Pass­chen­daele So­ci­ety pres­i­dent Iain MacKen­zie says peo­ple of­ten don’t re­alise how young some of the sol­diers were.

That’s one of the rea­sons why it’s im­por­tant the younger gen­er­a­tion are aware of the sac­ri­fices that were made at the World War I bat­tle, he says.

The Pass­chen­daele So­ci­ety is part­ner­ing with the ed­u­ca­tion travel com­pany Stu­dent Hori­zons to take a group of stu­dents to Pass­chen­daele in Bel­gium for the cen­te­nary of the bat­tle on Oc­to­ber 12, 2017.

Stu­dent Hori­zons manag­ing di­rec­tor Jamie Wansey says the col­lab­o­ra­tion fits the com­pany ob­jec­tives well.

‘‘As per the name we’re about broad­en­ing the hori­zons of young peo­ple.

‘‘It seemed like there was an op­por­tu­nity where both or­gan­i­sa­tions could ben­e­fit from form­ing a re­la­tion­ship,’’ he says.

‘‘Learn­ing by do­ing is what it’s all about. Get­ting out to see dif­fer­ent parts of the world and espe­cially parts of the world where New Zea- lan­ders have played a key role is in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant.’’

A com­pe­ti­tion will de­ter­mine who the 30 to 40 lucky stu­dents are, but the de­tails are yet to be de­cided, Pass­chen- daele So­ci­ety vice pres­i­dent Chris Mul­lane says.

An­other way the so­ci­ety en­gages with young peo­ple is through the an­nual Min­istry of Vet­er­ans Af­fairs Multi Me­dia Com­pe­ti­tion en­ti­tled Why Don’t We Re­mem­ber The Bat­tle of Pass­chen­daele?

Sub­ur­ban News­pa­pers, pub­lisher of the Auck­land City Har­bour News, ran the con­test two years ago.

The top five en­trants were cho­sen to lay a wreath at the 95th an­niver­sary ser­vice at the Auck­land War Memo­rial Mu­seum.

Mr MacKen­zie says the New Zealand con­tri­bu­tion to the bat­tle is some­thing to be proud of.

‘‘Young peo­ple who are strug­gling to find their iden­tity should re­alise the proud his­tory that this coun­try has.

‘‘Ask the peo­ple of Bel­gium what they think.

‘‘If they went to Pass­chen­daele just off the cuff, they’d be likely to find a New Zealand flag stick­ing out of a win­dow some­where.

‘‘There’s still that grat­i­tude that we don’t re­ally ac­knowl­edge,’’ he says.


Pre­serv­ing his­tory: Stu­dent Hori­zons manag­ing di­rec­tor Jamie Wansey, Pass­chen­daele So­ci­ety vice-pres­i­dent Chris Mul­lane and pres­i­dent Iain MacKen­zie have signed an agree­ment to send stu­dents to Pass­chen­daele for the World War I com­mem­o­ra­tion of the bat­tle in 2017.

Go to auck­land­c­i­ty­har­bour news. co.nz to watch the video which won last year’s Why don’t we re­mem­ber the Bat­tle of Pass­chen­daele? com­pe­ti­tion.

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