Jackson helps bring trench warfare experience to life
A recreated World War I battlefield the size of three football fields is being planned for Waiouru with the help of Sir Peter Jackson.
The project, outside the National Army Museum, will be based on a Western Front battlefield.
It would open in mid to late 2016, marking the 100th anniversary of the Western Front battles, National Army Museum director Jeanette Richardson said.
The cost of the ‘‘major’’ project was yet to be finalised.
‘‘Once it is built the visitor will cross a bridge and in so doing will leave this century behind and step into an especially combative part of the last one.
‘‘He or she will be in a world of bombed-out French buildings, trenches, field kitchens, first aid posts, bogged-down tanks, crashed planes and the general mayhem and detritus of war. A word of caution, though – it is a working battlefield so do watch out for the shrapnel and do be prepared to take cover.’’
The Battlefield project would give visitors a sense of the reality of the war and what New Zealand soldiers experienced.
Jackson and his team were helping with design, ‘‘planning prowess and moral support’’, Richardson said.
She would not say how she got Jackson on board, other than saying he has an interest in military his- tory. She said Jackson was ‘‘donating his time and expertise’’ towards the project, which was being funded through numerous sources, including fundraising and the New Zealand Army ‘‘putting in quite a lot’’.
Taxpayers were only funding it to the extent of Army personnel used in the project, she said.
Jackson said: ‘‘No other museum in [the] world can do this. No one’s got a backyard like we have, it’s going to be fun. We’ll make it good.’’
On the front: A model shows what a replica World War I Western Front battlefield will look like when it is built outside the National Army Museum in Waiouru. Sir Peter Jackson has been assisting in the design.