Gallipoli drama to unfold on our TV screens
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.
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.