Gal­lipoli drama to un­fold on our TV screens

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By SARAH ROBERTS

A tele­vi­sion drama mark­ing the 2015 cen­te­nary of Gal­lipoli is bring­ing the re­al­ity of war close to home.

Three boats from Waiuku Mu­seum were used in the film­ing of the six-part mini se­ries When We Go to War, due to air next year.

Large row­ing boats were also bor­rowed from Pa­pakura and Waiuku Sea Scout groups to help re-en­act the Gal­lipoli land­ings. The TV One se­ries will show troops on the front line and life back in New Zealand dur­ing the early 20th century.

Waiuku res­i­dent Ron Bird drew on his con­tacts to find the boats. He’s helped aboard boats on other films, in­clud­ing The Bounty and The Piano but this film­ing had spe­cial sig­nif­i­cance.

His late fa­ther Ge­orge served in the Royal Med­i­cal Army Corps in Gal­lipoli – he had to col­lect the dead bod­ies as part of his job.

‘‘I asked my mother once about why he used to shake at times and she told me it was a side-ef­fect from when he was trenches.’’

Mr Bird ap­pears in the se­ries as a sol­dier, car­ry­ing his fa­ther’s hand­book, along with his hat badge.

‘‘It was an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and it re­ally brought home what it was like be­ing in­volved in the war. There were real­is­tic scenes, in­clud­ing elec­tron­i­cally con­trolled ‘ex­plod­ing shells’ on the beach and in the wa­ter.’’

Sea Scout groups and Waiuku Col­lege stu­dents played crew on the row­ing boats.

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When We Go to War is cost­ing nearly $1 mil­lion each episode and will make up a sig­nif­i­cant part of NZ On Air’s con­tri­bu­tion to the cen­ten­nial com­mem­o­ra­tions.

The pro­gramme is pro­duced by Robin Sc­holes, who pro­duced Mr Pip and Once Were War­riors.

The se­ries is di­rected by Peter Burger.

War scenes: The story of Gal­lipoli will screen on New Zealand tele­vi­sion in the se­ries When We Go to War.

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