It took a remembrance tour to Ieper and the Somme in 2011/12 to recognise how much is not known about the Great War and the relatively low level of dedicated infrastructure related to New Zealand's contribution. As a result, the New Zealand Division 1914-1918 initiative was started to preserve and protect the Division's sacrifice across the Western Front during the Great War.
Key objectives and expected outcomes:
- Bring stories online from official records,family histories, and remembrance together in one place.
- Create and maintain a partner and user network.
- Create a sustainable service.
- Raise awareness of New Zealand's role in the conflict.
What we are doing:
The programme is creating a digitized chronology, from a soldiers point of view, of the Great War. Our overall plan is to:
- Aggregate digital objects from libraries, historians, museums, interpretation centers and people affected by it.
- Use official volumes that make up the campaign histories and the regimental histories covering New Zealand's involvement in the First World War. They were written by senior officers who had fought in the campaigns but who generally had no training as historians. Despite this, the four official histories became accepted sources for New Zealand’s military effort in the Great War, and have never been updated or superseded (source: Peter Cooke).
- Facilitate the increase of knowledge sharing in the cultural, remembrance, and tourism sectors.
- Distribute by making access to the chronology available to everyone.
- Engage users in new ways.
The combination of doing business and doing good provides the inspiration. As the saying goes, "Make remembrance more than something you feel. Make it something you do."