17 Apr 2015

Remembering the Great War

7:30 pm on 17 April 2015

Artillery guns, muddy trenches, vintage cars and planes are just a selection of what is on offer at the Great War Exhibition which opens in Wellington tomorrow.

Sir Peter Jackson showing media around the Great War exhibition in Dominion Museum,Wellington.

Sir Peter Jackson showing media around the Great War exhibition in Dominion Museum,Wellington. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

It opens tomorrow in the Great Hall of the city's old Dominion Museum, giving visitors a colourful and fascinating insight into the lives of the men and women who gave their lives during World War One, between 1914 and 1918.

The expansive polished hall of the Dominion Museum leads into another world of the cobbled streets of Germany where you immediately find yourself in the summer of 1914, just before the war.

Sir Peter Jackson is the brains and creator behind the exhibition: he said he wanted the public to get a sense of what the war was like.

"I wanted to take all the icons and put a story behind them, so you at least come out of this understanding the context behind it."

The path of the exhibition continues to wind through the war years chronologically with displays including a Belgium street, a tank, and a heavy fire artillery gun that was used at Gallipoli.

The exhibition's executive director, Rhys Jones, said the journey is designed to take you from the optimism at the start of the war, to what really happened.

"We then go through the bad years of the war and it gets closed in, and it gives that subconscious feel that things aren't as comfortable and that things are a lot more tight. So it adds to the emotional story as well as the psychological story".

Sir Peter Jackson at giving the tour of the new WWI exhibition at Dominion Museum,Wellington.

Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Mr Jones said Peter Jackson wasn't available to oversee the project until the end of last year which gave them limited time to work.

He said despite the tight time frame they've created something New Zealand can be proud of.

Thanks to Te Papa and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

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