Chapters of the Great War is a series of temporary exhibitions held at the Great War Exhibition at Pukeahu in Wellington.
The exhibit uses six big projection screens and an immersive audio environment to create a powerful visitor experience out of still imagery and verbatim accounts. Shows typically run between five and ten minutes.
The sixth, and final Chapter, "The End of the War?" looks at the war-time experiences of nine people — men and women, Māori and Pākehā, Pasifika and Asian — and explores the impact of their experiences through their descendants, 100 years on. The feelings engendered by the war are as varied as the experiences of those who lived it — nurses, ambulance drivers, patriotic supporters, conscientious objectors, wounded soldiers and those killed in action.
Chapter Five "Women's War" examined the diverse experiences women at home and further afield faced during the First World War. Women’s attitudes toward the conflict were distinct, and they did not always agree. Some girls gave up their educations to tend to family farms, while many volunteered to knit socks for soldiers. Nurses fought to travel to the front lines to tend to the wounded, while pioneers like Ettie Rout challenged the status quo by campaigning for venereal disease prevention. Six mannequins dressed in war-era women’s clothing helped to represent the six archetypal women featured in the show - Pioneer, Patriot, Entertainer, Nurse, Worker and Wife/Mother/Sister/Daughter.
"War in the Holy Lands" is the 4th Chapter in the series. It told the story of the fierce battles, hordes of flies, extreme temperatures, and rampant malaria that New Zealand soldiers faced during the Middle Eastern battles of WW1. As well as the shocking story of the Surafend massacre - the New Zealand military's most shameful day. It ran from December 2017 until 19 February 2018.
Chapter Three, "Passchendaele" opened on 4 October 2017 to coincide with the centenary of the tragic battle. The six screen set up was altered slightly for this show, with two of the projectors repositioned to cast film of mud and driving rain across the floor, conveying the horror of the boggy battlefields to visitors. A small selection of objects, belonging to soldiers who fought at Passchendaele were exhibited in the showcase.
Chapter Two, "Dissent" (July - October 2017) focused on opposition to New Zealand's involvement in the First World War. "Dissent" was not just about conscientious objectors - it also told the stories of soldiers, iwi, religious groups and politicians that spoke out against the war.
Chapter One of the series, "Wounded" (April - July 2017) told the story of the tens of thousands of New Zealanders who served overseas during the First World War and had their lives blighted by injuries or sickness. It featured four life masks from soldiers with serious facial wounds, made by New Zealand military surgeons whose pioneering work during the war established many of the principles of modern plastic surgery.