Virtual tour 17 - New Zealand 1917

New Zealand, a British dominion, formed the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) with the Australians. During the Battle of Messines in June 1917, the New Zealanders took the town of Messines after which the ANZAC took the lead during the second phase of the Battle of Passchendaele from September to October 1917. The victory at Graventafel was, at the same time, the darkest day in New Zealand's history. The troops found themselves stuck in the mud and thick rows of barbed wire. On 12th October, the division lost 2,700 men in just four hours.

Object 1: Uniform and lemon squeezer hat from the New Zealand Rifle Brigade

A peculiar feature of the New Zealand uniform is the hat, sometimes teasingly dubbed the ‘lemon squeezer’. The story goes that it took its shape from the New Zealand volcano Mount Taranaki in order to distinguish New Zealanders from other Allied troops during the Gallipoli Campaign in Turkey. (MMP1917, MZ 02345, MZ 02068, MZ 06092, MZ 06093)


Object 2: German Clock, Polderhoek Chateau

In December, after the Third Battle of Ypres, the New Zealanders carried out a limited attack on Polderhoek Chateau, between Polygon Wood and Geluveld. The attack began on December 3, 1917, but the operation failed. The clock symbolizes the strenuous efforts of New Zealanders in that region during the winter of 1917. (MMP1917, MZ 03109)


Object 3: New Zealand Cross of Remembrance

Between September and November 2009, the Glenfield Abilities Group places 5,000 wooden crosses on a field in Auckland, New Zealand. The art exhibition commemorated the thousands of New Zealanders who died in Belgium, including those involved in the Battle of Passchendaele. This cross was donated to our museum by a New Zealand visitor after the exhibition ended. (MMP1917, MZ 06722)