The Tauranga Girls' College history and classics students can now better grasp the events they are studying after visiting the places in Europe they had only ever seen on paper.

Amber Holdem, Letitia Dixon and Bianca Ruegg, all 17, were part of the group of 28 students who left Tauranga for France, Belgium, Greece and Italy, where they were fully immersed in the history they had been studying.

The group left on April 15 and returned in early May.

Amber, who studied history and classics, said seeing the subjects they had learnt about in person was a highlight.


"I'm pretty sure I squealed the whole time."

She said the number of graveyards in Belgium was surprising.

"Just driving down the street, I was taken aback and the sheer size of them," she said.

The group started in France, where they visited Versailles, they then went to Belgium, and back to Paris with a stop off at Le Quesnoy, the town the New Zealand Division captured a week before the end of World War One.

From there they visited Greece, then ended the trip in Italy.

"It was good going with a school group. There's things you wouldn't do by yourself, it makes you learn," Laura said.

She said for some of their studies, they could now reference the photos they took and the pamphlets they collected.

They also went to the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing in Ypres.

"Every night they have a ceremony, and we laid a wreath for our fallen soldiers to pay our respects," Laura said.

Before the trip, Bianca had gone to the Katikati Rugby Club to see if they wanted her to take anything over to the grave of the famous Katikati All Black captain of the 1905 team, Dave Gallagher.

"They thought it was a really good idea. My brothers, dad and grandad all played for the club," Bianca said.

The group held a small ceremony for Mr Gallagher, who was killed at the Battle of Passchendaele in 1917, at the Nine Elms Cemetery near Leper.

Le Quesnoy:

* The town of Le Quesnoy still remembers the important role New Zealand had in its history. There are streets named after New Zealand places, there is a New Zealand memorial, and a primary school named after a New Zealand soldier.