Discovering the Scale of War

March 06, 2017 at 1:30 AM

Year 12 History Trip to Wellington
With thanks to student reporters, Jaimee Mudford and Daniela Koningham

As part of our studies, the Year 12 History students were fortunate to have the opportunity to travel to Wellington to visit a number of exhibits to help broaden our understanding of World War 1. 

For us teenagers, a 5:30am start at school was an ‘exhilarating’ way to begin our journey! 

Te Papa was showing ‘Gallipoli: The Scale of our War’ exhibition which fitted in extremely well with the criteria of our first History internal assessment for the year. We were fortunate to have a guide walk and talk us through the exhibition, giving us important information about each of the six incredibly detailed models on show; all of whom contributed significantly to the Gallipoli campaign. 

She explained to us why many of the battles at Gallipoli took place, how some of the heavy artillery worked and gave us some of the personal experiences of the soldiers, doctors and nurses on display. We learnt the significant contribution these people played in the war effort and how their actions impacted others. This exhibition ultimately helped each of us decide on which key New Zealander involved in World War 1 we would examine for our internal assessment. 

After the guided tour, we were given 90 minutes of free time to explore the rest of the museum. During this time we walked around the different levels of the museum and were able to visit the level six viewing platform overlooking beautiful Wellington City. This was followed by lunch at the Te Papa cafe where we shared our thoughts on the amazing exhibition. Everyone particularly loved the realism and detail of each of the huge models on display.  We felt extremely lucky to have visited Te Papa as it not only gave us a wide range of resources to utilise for our upcoming internal but also enabled us to learn many new and interesting facts about World War 1.  

A short 15-minute walk through the city brought us to Pukeahu National War Memorial Park where we were given a detailed presentation on the Western Front. This was great as it gave us a broader understanding of the events of the First World War. We then made our way through the park to the Great War Exhibition created by Sir Peter Jackson. This exhibition was a year by year walk-through beginning in pre-war Belgium and following the events and developments of the Western Front from 1914-1918. Walking through the exhibit, we were immersed in movie-like sets transporting us back through the years and enabling us to see how things had changed during the course of the war. From life-sized tanks and guns to miniature replicas of famous battles, the exhibition was incredible. The exhibition concluded with hundreds of war time photographs that had been converted from black and white into colour which was truly something special to see. 

After our visit to the exhibition, we went to the Hall of Memories inside the National War Memorial. While the Hall contained incredible carvings and columns, the focal point was the Mother and Children statue. This statue reflects a wartime family comforting each other in the absence of loved ones. Here we also learnt how the four largest bells in the tower were engraved with the words Grace, Hope, Remembrance and Peace, whilst other smaller bells had been donated by members of the community and were engraved with the names of lost loved ones. 

Our experience ended in a humbling wreath laying ceremony at ‘The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier’. The Tomb itself is a resting place for those who did not make the journey home after the war and is a place where people can remember those men and women lost in the war. As the day drew to a close, we were left to reflect upon our experience on the plane journey home. Overall this was an amazing day filled with valuable information and incredible experiences. 

EOTC (Education Outside the Classroom)
Saint Kentigern College has a long history of giving students the opportunity to be challenged in many settings away from College. Education Outside the Classroom (EOTC) takes a variety of forms from the traditional Orientation Camps at Year 7 & 9 and the annual Field Centre in Tongariro National Park for Year 10, to field trips associated with particular curriculum subjects such as geography, history and biology; organised trips to art galleries or museums for our visual arts students; workshops for performing arts students; university lectures; TedX, Writers and Readers Workshop, theatre visits; service opportunities in many guises; and the opportunity for small groups of students to represent the College at events such as MUNA (Model United Nations Assembly), SHOGM (Student Heads of Government Meeting) and CETA. 

In addition there are annual opportunities to travel overseas in a service capacity to Vanuatu and occasionally further afield to Europe and the Americas for such trips as uncovering the Classics, exploring the origins of English Literature, revisiting our historical roots in Scotland, engaging in Performing Arts and learning more about new technologies in media and digital technologies. 

Each of these opportunities brings learning into context, adding another layer to their classroom studies.

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