Gal­lipoli sto­ries brought to life

Fo­cus on lo­cal troops

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By DANIEL WHIT­FIELD

A his­toric nar­ra­tive about the men and women from Porirua who ex­pe­ri­enced life in Gal­lipoli dur­ing World War I, has been pieced to­gether to link lo­cal names back to the com­mu­nity.

In col­lab­o­ra­tion with Plim­mer­ton his­to­rian Al­lan Dod­son, so­cial his­tory cu­ra­tor Alice Masters and her­itage ed­u­ca­tor Linda Fordyce re­searched the sto­ries and Porirua con­nec­tions to bring the ex­hi­bi­tion to life at Pataka.

Porirua An­zacs at Gal­lipoli honours the young men and women from the Porirua area, who were in­volved in the Gal­lipoli cam­paign in Turkey be­tween April and De­cem­ber 1915.

Though the ex­hi­bi­tion opened only at the be­gin­ning of the month, Masters said it had been popular. Peo­ple had been spend­ing time read­ing about the Porirua sol­diers.

‘‘Our fo­cus has been on those from Porirua. It shows what life was like,’’ Masters said.

Lo­cal sur­names in­clude Boul­ton, Bennett, Auty, Earp and Siev­ers.

Masters said much of the re­search was done by Dod­son and that the Porirua RSA sup­plied medals and items that once be­longed to the men.

‘‘It would be great if there were more con­nec­tions. We’re very keen to hear about the con­nec­tions fam­i­lies might have with th­ese names.’’

Dod­son’s most mem­o­rable find was the sto­ries of the staff from the Porirua Men­tal Hos­pi­tal who signed up, many to the med­i­cal corps. Some were killed, some re­turned to Eng­land, some moved back to New Zealand.

He said it was ex­cit­ing to find men­tion of Porirua in such a mas­sive world event. He has been re­search­ing the sub­ject for about four years.

‘‘It’s re­ally unique to Porirua, which is what makes it so spe­cial,’’ he said.

Sev­eral medals on dis­play are of sig­nif­i­cant stature, in­clud­ing a mil­i­tary cross given to Lieu­tenant Wal­ter Leonard Cobb.

‘‘He’s a hero of mine,’’ Fordyce said. ‘‘He was the only man from Porirua in the WMR ma­chine gun sec­tion.’’

An­other Porirua con­nec­tion comes from the Katene fam­ily – Rangi, Taku and Fred­er­ick – who were part of the early Maori con­tin­gent.

Porirua An­zacs at Gal­lipoli is to con­tinue un­til 2017 as part of New Zealand’s World War I cen­te­nary.

Dod­son will be joined by his­to­ri­ans Imelda Bargas and Tim Shoebridge from the Min­istry of Cul­ture and Her­itage dur­ing a dis­cus­sion at Pataka on April 23, from 6pm till 9pm.

He will dis­cuss the Porirua con­nec­tions and the sto­ries fea­tured in Porirua An­zacs at Gal­lipoli.


Pataka’s Alice Masters, left, and Linda Fordyce hope there are public con­nec­tions with the Porirua An­zacs at Gal­lipoli ex­hi­bi­tion.

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