The futility of war and its ongoing impacts, are front and centre in a new exhibit at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park.

The End of the War? exhibit in Wellington highlights the ongoing impact of the First World War on New Zealand families.

It's being launched in the lead up to Armistice Day commemorations in November, which will mark 100 years since the war ended.

The exhibit features interviews from the descendents of nine people with different experiences of the fighting.

Advertisement

They include the stories of Frank Tararo, who served as a soldier on the Western Front, ambulance driver Deborah Pitts-Taylor, and conscientious objector Archibald Baxter, who was physically forced to the front.

Māori Member of Parliament Sir Māui Pōmare and his wife Lady Miria were at the forefront of the Māori and Pacific Islands contribution to the war.

Sir Māui was chairman of the Maori Recruiting Board responsible for recruiting the Māori Battalion, and visited the Cook Islands to recruit the Rarotongan Contingent, while Lady Miria launched the Maori Soldiers' Fund in 1915, providing comforts to Māori soldiers overseas.

Great granddaughter Miria Pōmare said being interviewed for the exhibit was an emotional experience, as it made her think more deeply about aspects of her family's history.

"I hope people will get a sense, as I did, of the legacy of war.

"The impact of the war that was supposed to end all wars, has had and continues to have down the generations on families like mine.

"When you watch the footage and interviews with descendents of the nine people chosen, what comes across is a united and overwhelming sense of futility. The futility of war.

"All of those families, representing families who gave their sons to the war, I think have now come to the conclusion that war isn't worth it.

Advertisement

"No war is. It's futile, horrific, and devastating, and war simply doesn't create peace."

Exhibitions manager Ian Wards said the interviews showed how the legacy of war continued down the generations.

"The War didn't discretely end at the end of 1918, it lived on particularly in people's memories and emotional experience. That went on for generations.

"For a lot of our visitors who come through here, they have ancestors who fought in the war, and it's still something that's in their heart and mind today.

"So it's very emotional for a lot of people who come through this exhibition. So we wanted to show that experience, how the war still impacts on people's lives today."

The End of the War? audio-visual exhibit is open now at the Pukeahu National War Memorial.

It was created by Story Inc. and Dusk, and funded by the Lottery Grant Board.