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First World War Centenary Panel
The panel has been set up as an advisory group to help steer what will be an extensive programme to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the First World War.
“I am pleased to announce the appointment of such distinguished and talented individuals to advise the Government on these centenary commemorations,” Mr Finlayson said. “It is a diverse group that will ensure the commemorations programme reflects the importance and solemnity of these events to the community and the whole nation.”
The panel will be chaired by NZ Post chief executive Brian Roche. Mr Roche was project manager for the successful bid to host last year’s Rugby World Cup and was director of was also chairman of RNZ 2011, the company responsible for delivering the highly successful tournament.
Other panel members are:
Hon Rick Barker, former Minister of Veterans’ Affairs; Peter Biggs, managing director of Clemenger BBDO in Melbourne; Bob Harvey, former mayor of Waitakere City; Carol Hirschfeld, head of programming at Māori Television; Sir Peter Jackson, Academy award winning director and producer; Hon Dr Wayne Mapp, Law Commissioner and former Minister of Defence; Dame Anne Salmond, anthropologist, historian, writer and academic; Dr Monty Soutar, historian and academic, and expert on Māori in wartime; Matthew Te Pou, former Treaty settlement negotiator, farmer, coach of New Zealand Māori rugby team, and soldier, who served in Vietnam; Cervantee Wild, winner of the National Bank RSA Cyril Bassett VC Speech Competition in 2011, who will bring a youth perspective to the panel.
There are also two ex officio members: RSA president Don McIver and incoming Australian High Commissioner Michael Potts.
Mr Roche, like most panel members and most New Zealanders, has personal links to the First World War.
“My grandfather and uncle served on the Western Front. I recognise the project will be an opportunity for us as a country to reflect on the war as a contributor to our character, identity and place in the world.”
The Governor-General of New Zealand, Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae, has agreed to be patron of the panel and said he was looking forward to working alongside panel members to ensure the commemorations reach the hearts and minds of New Zealanders.
Mr Finlayson said he was grateful to panel members who, despite busy careers, wanted to devote their time to the project because they recognised the importance of marking the centenary.
“These significant commemorations will take place over several years and aim to foster a better understanding among New Zealanders of our military heritage and the impact of the First World War on families, communities and those who served overseas.”
Today also marks the official launch of the First World War Commemoration symbol – a stylised poppy that will be used to identify and link commemorative events and activities.
The Government has a number of centenary legacy projects in the pipeline and some significant announcements will be made in coming weeks.
Just over 100,000 New Zealand troops served overseas from 1914 to 1918 from a population of barely one million. Of those, about 18,000 died and 41,000 were wounded.
The centenary programme will include a wide range of activities and events for New Zealanders to participate in – both at home and overseas. All New Zealanders are encouraged to engage in the programme in some way either by attending a commemorative event or learning more about their family’s military service history.
More information about the opportunities available to New Zealanders will be publicised through a dedicated website, http://ww100.govt.nz.
The First World War Centenary programme is being led by Manatū Taonga/Ministry for Culture and Heritage, with funding and support from the New Zealand Defence Force and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The project team will also work with the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Veterans Affairs New Zealand, Royal New Zealand Returned And Services Association, Te Puni Kokiri and the Department of Internal Affairs.
The WW100 symbol reflects the poppy which has an enduring place in New Zealand war memorial commemorations. It will be used to link First World War commemorative projects and activities in communities and nationwide. See http://ww100.govt.nz for more information on the symbol and its use.