Jack­son helps bring trench war­fare ex­pe­ri­ence to life

Taranaki Daily News - - News -

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.

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