A new generation remembers war and sacrifice

Issue: Volume 94, Number 18

Posted: 12 October 2015
Reference #: 1H9cus

Poems, posters, videos and even a memorial garden were just a few of the 148 entries from throughout the country to the Their Stories, Our Stories competition.

Held to commemorate the service and sacrifice of New Zealanders in World War and to mark WW100, Their Stories, Our Stories was a joint initiative between the Ministry of Education and the Fields of Remembrance Trust.

There were four age group categories in the competition, which was open to students from years one to 13. Judges were overwhelmed by the number of high-quality entries, saying they reflected a huge amount of research, creativity and hard work. For this reason the judges decided to present six entries with highly commended awards.

Entries closed at the beginning of July and during the last week of term three, Minister of Education, Hon Hekia Parata presented the awards at a ceremony in the Grand Hall of Parliament. Among the attendees were first place winners, and other entrants from and near the Wellington region. Additional ceremonies have been held in Gisborne, Stratford and Putaruru and a ceremony is soon to be held in Christchurch.

Prizes and awards were provided by the competition’s sponsors: Vodafone Warriors, Canterbury New Zealand, Auckland Returned and Services’ Association and Royal New Zealand Returned and Services’ Association.

Daniel Lovewell (Year 1-4 winner)

Daniel Lovewell with his father Glen and sister Gemma. Gemma came 3rd in the year 5-8 category.

A year two Adventure School pupil combined his interest in writing poetry with a willingness to remember those who had sacrificed their lives in war.

Daniel Lovewell, 6, used his writing skills to craft his award-winning poem ‘On Anzac Day’, which he has since shared at school and at home.

“Poems are really fun to write,” Daniel says.

“It is also very important to remember everyone that died in the wars.”

The theme of Daniel’s poem was citizenship. He talked about what Anzac Day means to people in 2015 – from Anzac biscuits and beautiful poppies to dawn services and thinking about soldiers who have been killed.

“My poem is simple and it reminds people to always remember our Anzac soldiers.”

Daniel says he was very pleased when he found out that he had won his age group of the competition.

James Broadwith (Year 5-8 winner)

James Broadwith meets trustee of the Fields of Remembrance Trust and president of the Passchendaele Society, Ian McKenzie.

Kaingaroa School student James Broadwith, 9, won his age group by writing the diary of a fictional soldier who fought in World War I.

While the diary entries were penned by James, all of the details about the war within its pages are historically accurate.

“I have been interested in war and history since I was quite young,” says James, who was raised hearing stories about his great-grandfather’s war experience.

“I really enjoyed doing the research because I learnt a lot about the events and dates of these things.

“My great-grandfather (Bruce Hosken, 1913–2001) flew in Lancaster Bombers as a rear gunner during World War II. He was really brave.”

James says the diary started off as a school project and when he heard about the Their Stories, Our Stories competition he decided to try his luck.

When he heard he had won, James says he was surprised but very happy.

The trip to Wellington from Northland was a good way to celebrate, and he says a tour of Parliament was his highlight, closely followed by a visit to the Dominion Museum’s Great War Exhibition.

“I really enjoyed it, they were both very interesting.”

James says it is important to remember the sacrifice made by those in years gone by.

“They gave us the world we live in now. Without them things could have been different today.”

Anjali Gentejohann (Year 9-10 winner)

Minister Parata congratulates Anjali Gentejohann.

A visit to Te Papa’s Gallipoli: The Scale of our War exhibition was the motivation behind a Samuel Marsden Collegiate School student’s entry.

Year 10 Anjali Gentejohann, 14, says she enjoys doing anything creative, so once she heard about the Their Stories, Our Stories competition at school she decided to take part.

Anjali created a poster, which includes a poem and two paintings of Anzac Cove in Gallipoli. One image shows Anzac soldiers storming the beach in 1915, while the other shows hundreds of people at a dawn service in 2015. The contrast is stark.

“I had the thought that it has been exactly 100 years since the Gallipoli Campaign and I wanted to show the difference between the two times.”

While in 1915 the allied forces fought against the Turks, in 2015 people from New Zealand and Turkey stand shoulder to shoulder to honour the sacrifice of those that took part in the battle, Anjali says.

Her poem highlights the contrast between what was once ‘a raging battlefield and is now land drenched with the tears of grief’.

It is important to remember the past so the same mistakes are not repeated, Anjali says.

“We must also commemorate those that gave up their lives for our country.”

Anjali says she was surprised and very happy to win her age group.

Cam Loft and Cheyenne Ballantine (Year 11-13 winners & outstanding community or iwi engagement)

Minister Parata presents Cheyenne Ballantine and Cam Loft with their awards and prizes.

At Hauraki Plains College students are encouraged to leave their legacy and Their Stories, Our Stories gave the 2015 head students the perfect opportunity to do just that.

Starting the week before the beginning of term one, Cam Loft, 18, and Cheyenne Ballentine, 17, began enlisting their classmates and teachers to create an Anzac memorial garden in the school.

Principal Ngaire Harris says she was impressed by the amount of time Cam, Cheyenne and the school community dedicated to planning, organising and constructing the garden.

“The whole school got in behind it. There was a lot of work that went in but there was also quite a bit of learning for all of the students as well,” Ms Harris says.

Completing the garden took 14 weeks and departments from throughout the school got involved. A group of arts students designed and painted the mural, and a building and construction class built a fence that was later painted by the school motocross team.

Cheyenne says the students wanted to leave a little bit of themselves at the school to honour their heritage.

“It’s a part of all of us. They (Anzac soldiers) fought for our freedom, so that’s something we need to continue to honour.”

Asked how he reacted when told they were winners in the competition, Cam says he was speechless.

“I kept asking if we had actually won. It was pretty shocking.”

Earlier in the year Hauraki Plains College held their first dawn service at the garden and now when future students, teachers and the school community pass by they will remember the sacrifice made during World War I.

Pomaria school (outstanding community or iwi engagement)

Students from the Pomaria School drama class won the primary age award for outstanding community or iwi engagement. The class created a performance based on the poem ‘In Flanders Fields’.

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero, reporter@edgazette.govt.nz

Posted: 5:19 pm, 12 October 2015

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