Anzac Day planning

Tēnā Tātou te iwi. Two of the big days in terms of numbers visiting our site are Waitangi Day and Anzac Day. With Anzac Day often falling in the term 1 school holidays it can be easy to overlook.

While people talk about how an increasing number of younger New Zealanders can be seen at dawn parades and other Anzac Day ceremonies I wonder how many schools acknowledge this day and its meaning in their own school programmes? I am aware that some schools, especially those old enough to have had past pupils involved in some of the significant wars of the past, hold special assemblies. But there are many other ways that you can incorporate Anzac Day into your teaching programme or into the life of your school irrespective of its own direct links with war.

There are a number of really useful ideas to be found at the Learning Zone of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website. One activity we are working on here in the Classroom is how to use the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph database to help bring some of our fallen servicemen and women 'back to life'. This is one way in which we can truly acknowledge the common epitaph of 'we shall remember them'. Select a name from a local cenotaph, school roll of honour or similar memorial and then use the sites mentioned to find out  more about these people. A significant national story can therefore become more localised and personal. These stories would make great presentations whether they be oral or visual for the school hall, library or corridors. Please feel free to send in any examples of projects you and your students are involved in around Anzac Day.

Without wishing to sound like a cooking show here is something I prepared earlier for social studies teachers on First World War memorials. To help you get started you might also want to look at our Memorials Register. Here you will find information, accurate locations and images for over 800 memorials throughout the country. This is an ongoing project to document memorials throughout New Zealand. At this stage it mainly includes civic First World War memorials and memorials from the New Zealand Wars and South African War. There are plans to add memorials from non-military commemorations (e.g. centennial memorials) in the future.

Please send us any information you find about your local memorial or the people listed on it and we'll add it to the register. Email us at [email protected] if you can help

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