Diana Lawrenson

— Writer —

Diana Lawrenson Pages to Places Blog

Welcome to my blog that takes you from pages to places. Come and discover some quirky, little-known, or loose-but-relevant links from books to places around the world. You might even like to add a book suggestion of your own to the topic.

15 April 2016 | New Zealand, Wellington


ANZAC Nurse Te Papa Museum NZIt’s not Madame Tussaud’s and yet it is a chamber of horrors. Not a wreath-surrounded cenotaph nor a minute’s silent memorial, but a realistic confrontation with what our Australian and New Zealand ‘boys’ and nurses − our ANZACS − faced and coped with at Gallipoli 101 years ago.

Reams have been written for adults and children about the Gallipoli CampaignANZAV Te Papa Gallipoli exhibition New Zealand of 1915. About Churchill’s debacle, about the slaughter of youthful soldiers wading ashore and climbing the cliffs, about the Battle of Lone Pine and the tree’s seeds brought back to Australia. But the scaled-up exhibition at the Te Papa Museum, New Zealand’s national museum in Wellington, delivers a vivid and forceful assault on the senses, as war is. Perfectly re-created people of wax, actual New Zealanders who enlisted, are accompanied by the sounds of battle and the stench of latrines in overuse because of widespread dysentery. Each sculpture is more than twice the size of an average person. I found myself marvelling at their extraordinary detail: sweat droplets, protruding veins, fine hairs.

IMG_2748 - CopyMud and flies, poignancy and despair, blood and death are ever present as visitors walk on the black floor light-strewn with scarlet crosses and poppies. Besides the oversized soldiers and nurse bringing home the enormity of the conflict, miniatures, maps, diaries and a host of other memorabilia and explanatory material add to the experience. An unasked-for silence envelops everyone, from children to adults, as they stop to stare, to read and to contemplate.IMG_3781 - Copy

Gallipoli: the Scale of our War exhibition was opened in time for the centenary of the Gallipoli landing in 1915, and will remain on view at Te Papa Museum until 2018. It is a sobering and unflinching memorial to all those who took part in that disastrous campaign we remember on April 25th.




  • Meet the Anzacs by Claire Saxby, illus. Max Berry (children)
  • Lone Pine by Margaret Warner and Susie Hamers, illus. Sebastian Ciaffaclione (children)
  • Gallipoli by Peter Fitzsimons
  • Gallipoli: The New Zealand Story by Christopher Pugsley
  • Gallipoli: The Battlefield Guide by Mat McLachlan
  • My Gallipoli by Ruth Starke, illus. Robert Hannaford (children)



  1. Thanks for this blog Diana, my grandfather served in the first world war, It is easy to wonder what it was like but an actual recreation is something I would visit, to spend a short time in their shoes, to be thankful so many of them gave their lives for the freedoms we have today. Lest we forget

    1. It’s a really sobering exhibition, Liz. Did you grandfather ever speak about his war experiences?

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