Te Papa’s First World War trench experience to get Hollywood treatment  

Te Papa trench experience
Artists impression of a trench at Gallipoli. It's summer and the trenches are stinking hot and the hum of flies is thick in the air. ANZACs take a moment to make the best of their rations, as the constant bombardment of shells and the rattle of Turkish gunfire is overhead. Creative concept by Weta Workshop Design Studio. Copyright: Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Kiwi film industry icons Sir Peter Jackson and Sir Richard Taylor are partnering with Te Papa to re-create a First World War ‘trench experience’ as part of the War’s Centenary commemorations.

Te Papa Chief Executive Michael Houlihan says he is delighted that Peter and Richard are adding their considerable talents to the ANZAC exhibition which will be a major feature of Te Papa’s Centenary programme.

“With the creative input of these extraordinarily clever guys, we will be able to deepen people’s understanding of the terror our soldiers experienced fighting a battle at such close quarters,” said Michael Houlihan.

“We will be recreating the Quinn’s Post trench, the most famous position in the ANZAC line on Gallipoli. Our aim is to make the experience as realistic as possible. This experience will bring home the detail and grain of unimaginable horror, the squalid day-to-day existence, the food, and the lice. But above all, the exhibition will remember the bravery and sacrifice of all the men who fought and those who died in the War. This will be a uniquely powerful experience of our history,” said Michael Houlihan.

Award winning Film Director, Peter Jackson, who has a keen interest in the First World War, and Richard Taylor, Creative Director of Weta Workshop, will advise on the project and direct the creative input of the exhibition. 

“It was in the trenches that the ANZAC spirit was born. The Centenary is a significant event for New Zealand and I’m looking forward to working with Te Papa to tell the ANZAC story,” said Peter Jackson.

“We are looking forward to the challenge of creating visuals that do justice to such a horrific time for our New Zealand soldiers.  It’s also a privilege to be involved in such a significant project with Te Papa, which honours those who fought in this battle,” said Richard Taylor. 

Te Papa’s Centenary programme includes a number of other activities: an outreach programme, Kiwi Faces of World War I, to identify soldiers photographed just before they went to war; contributing to the Life 100 Years Ago ‘real time’ diary project coordinated by the First World War Centenary Programme Office; and an illustrated book by Te Papa Press based on original research highlighting the impact of war on the Home Front.

This free exhibition will open for the Centenary of Gallipoli in April 2015.

For more information contact: 

Heather Church, Te Papa Communications Advisor, 04 381 7083, or 029 601 0180