Two Powerful War Exhibits in Wellington New Zealand

War exhibits don’t typically make it onto my list of things to do. However when one is created by Weta Workshop (Lord of the Rings) and the other by director Sir Peter Jackson, these war exhibits suddenly peak my interest. Both are currently on display in New Zealand’s capital city of Wellington. Each is overwhelming in it’s own right.

Gallipoli, The Scale of our War is on display at Te Papa, the National Museum of New Zealand. Marking the centenary of the first World War, it was developed by Te Papa working closely with Weta Workshop. It tells New Zealand’s wartime story through the eyes of eight of its citizens. The power of the exhibit is amplified in it’s size. The models are built 2.4 times human size, and since they were created by Weta, they are so lifelike it leaves you speechless.

Gallipoli The Scale of our War at TePapa the National Museum of New Zealand in Wellington

Gallipoli The Scale of our War at TePapa the National Museum of New Zealand. It is one of two war exhibits in Wellington

Gallipoli The Scale of our War at TePapa the National Museum of New Zealand. It is one of two war exhibits in Wellington

Gallipoli The Scale of our War at TePapa the National Museum of New Zealand in Wellington

Take a look at the size of the volunteers versus the sign. It is similar perspective to the models above. I wish I had added a person to any of the three above to give proper perspective.

Have you ever seen a war exhibits like this?

Next we walked to the National War Memorial.

National War Memorial in Wellington New Zealand

The National War Memorial is located on Buckle Street in Wellington. It was dedicated in 1932 in commemoration of the First World War.

The historic Dominion Museum visible just behind the memorial is now home to the Great War Exhibition, a creation by Sir Peter Jackson. This $10 million dollar project was also created to mark the centenary of the Gallipoli Landings where 2,779 Kiwis lost their lives. The war exhibits housed here take you from pre-1914 to the 1919 signing of the Treaty of Versailles. Much of the war exhibits come from Sir Peter Jackson’s private collection.

A collection of army helmets at the Great War Exhibition by Sir Peter Jackson in Wellington

A collection of army helmets which probably belong to Sir Peter Jackson, although not identified as such.

War Exhibits in the Great War Exhibition by Sir Peter Jackson in Wellington

The war exhibits in the Great War Exhibition are live size. While not as overwhelming as Te Papa, they are powerful.

So much information available at the Great War Exhibition by Sir Peter Jackson in Wellington New Zealand

So much information is available through the various war exhibits, and there was plenty of reading if you want the details.

Practical Information:

  • Te Papa, the National Museum is always free. While some special exhibits have fees, Gallipoli, The Scale of our War is free. It takes about an hour to go through, longer if you read it all. It is open daily from 10am to 6pm.
  • The Great War Exhibition is located in the Dominion Museum on the Massey university campus. It is also free to enter, although donations are encouraged. It is open daily 9am to 6pm. Guided tours are available for a fee.

Have you been to either of these war exhibits in Wellington?

If you were moved by this exhibit, please pin it.

Gallipoli The Scale of our War at TePapa the National Museum of New Zealand in Wellington

This post is also linked to BeThere2Day for Wordless Wednesday on Tuesday, Our World Tuesdays, Trekking with Becky for Expat Tuesday, Monday Escapes at My Travel Monkey, Travel Tales at Girl on the Move, Travel Tuesdays at Lauren on Location, Wednesdays Around the World at Photographing New Zealand, and Outdoor Wednesday at A Southern Daydreamer.

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  1. says

    Hi Rhonda – what amazing exhibitions to be able to see. I usually steer clear of War Museums – though I must get up to the Imperial war Museum now it’s been brought up to date. Those are extraordinary … and must have been incredible to visit – I can quite understand why you felt ‘compelled’ to take a look – thanks so much for posting here. The sizing is such a surprise … I’d love to visit – just that Wellington isn’t on my immediate bucket list!

    So pleased you posted them … cheers Hilary

    • says

      The reviews from both of these seem compelling enough to visit, and as a travel writer I often step outside of my personal comfort zone to give a more complete picture of a destination.

    • says

      I don’t generally go to these type of exhibits. However, there were five of us on that trip, so we shared the selection, and with Sir Peter Jackson and Weta involved, you knew they would be amazing.

  2. says

    Those are powerful exhibits! I can only imagine the impact they would have on me! Thanks for sharing, Rhonda! Visiting today from the Expat Tuesday linky party. My linky party is live if you’d like to join.

    • says

      It’s interesting, as you walk through Te Papa, the National Museum, you see groups of people walking, talking, laughing – then you get into this exhibit and people are quiet and contemplating. .

    • says

      We visited Washington DC and saw both of the two you mentioned. That wall, the way it dips down, it catches you by surprise. You just don’t expect to see so many names. So sad.

  3. says

    Hello Rhonda. Though war memorials are important, Anything about wars, guns, & death upset me so much. I know, I know they are important to make people realize the past to no more fight and have wars but look at our world. NO ONE IS LISTENING. Death & destruction are around us every day. For now, all I want to see to beauty and life because someday we will all die so all I want to life. Your photography always give me beauty & life.
    Sorry about my comment. I guess I’m down at the moment. maybe tomorrow I’ll be better. See ya my friend.

    Cruisin Paul

    • says

      Sorry to upset you today. And, sadly you are so right, no one is listening, or least not enough people. All we can do is visit these places and share them. I will post beauty for my next post.

    • says

      I had heard this was an outstanding exhibit, but even with the great reviews, I wasn’t prepared. It is so powerful. And Yes, New Zealand is lucky to have these exhibits – and they are both free.

  4. says

    Wow! I have never been to either museum but these seem so impactful. The mannequins are so life-like and that building is very impressive. Thank you for sharing!

    • says

      I think most of the public museums in New Zealand are free. This is at the National Museum. Actually, there are plenty of really impressive free things to do in Wellington, the nations capital.

  5. says

    Wow these are really realistic models – I thought they were real for a second there. Haven’t been to these museums but they sound like places I should try to visit next time 🙂

  6. says

    It’s always interesting to see what expats can do/see in their new cities, and I love anything historical. Of course, places like this are so sad, but they’re so important. I had to do double-takes on the exhibits; they look 100% real.

    Thanks for sharing this for Trekking with Becky’s #ExpatTuesday! 😀

  7. says

    We visited both of these exhibitions during our recent trip to NZ. They were both excellent exhibitions. Gallipoli was such a defining moment for NZ and I didnt appreciate that till our visit. Being British we have a big list of battles we learn about and have relatives who fought in them, but for the ANZAC forces to go across the world for this really affects them to this day. It was particularly awful to realise how many troops were sick and lost their lives because of poor supplies, conditions or poor leadership as opposed to the enemy. It was also interesting to learn about the steps for reconciliation from NZ and Turkey- a war of a bygone age.

    One thing that did push my buttons though were people taking selfies with the models- thumbs up and grinning. Made me despair

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