It is almost 100 years since the guns fell silent in France, the Great War finally ending with the signing of the armistice at 11am on November 11, 1918).

Kaitaia's Te Ahu Museum, the history department at Kaitaia College and the RSA are planning a number of commemorative events two of which are already under way.

Auckland Museum's He Pou Aroha Cenotaph has been installed at Te Ahu, and will remain there until November 16, with visitors invited to use it to search for relatives who have served in the New Zealand military.

"We are also asking that people search their cupboards, churches, marae, older relatives' memories etc, and bring any objects associated with the military — diaries, medals, letters, postcards, cables, telegrams, photographs, uniforms etc — to the cenotaph, where they can be scanned and uploaded to the database at the museum," said Michael Withiel, head of the college history department.


The Online Cenotaph has been created as a comprehensive hub for stories of New Zealand service personnel. It currently holds around 127,000 records in total, with about 99,000 biographical records relating to World War I.

Auckland Museum is seeking the help of communities throughout the country to add to that collection.

Purpose-built digitisation kiosks enable visitors to search for family members, to lay a virtual poppy against a specific person's name, and contribute additional information to the database.

Each kiosk has an object photo booth for war-related items such as medals, diaries and letters, which are then uploaded to the relevant person's Online Cenotaph record for the world to see and future generations to remember.

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Museum curator Whina Te Whiu would also like to see local material, as she is preparing for an exhibition at Te Ahu Museum based on Peace and the Positives that came out of war.

The Kaitaia RSA is adopting a similar theme for a competition for students (in three sections — primary (Year 1-6), intermediate (Year 7-10) and senior (year 11-13). The best entries will be displayed at Te Ahu from November 11, with the winners to be announced there after the Remembrance Day service at the Kaitaia Cenotaph and War Memorial, which will start at 11am on Sunday November 11.

"The First World War led to much change in the world — deaths, injury, destruction, and much that was new in almost every aspect of life," Mr Withiel said. "We are asking students to think about the many positive changes that came from the ashes."


Primary students were invited to draw a picture showing some of those positives (prize $100); intermediate students to write on the same subject (prize $200); and senior students to produce an illustrated piece of writing on the subject 'Out of the ashes of World War I came ... ' (prize $1000).

Primary and intermediate entries need to be delivered to Te Ahu Museum or Mr Withiel (at the college), and senior entries to Mr Withiel, by the last day of Term 3 (September 28).