National Army Museum, New Zealand

New Zealand’s history has been one of warfare. From conflict between Maori tribes to fighting overseas in the major wars of the last 120 years, New Zealand’s past is littered with wars. Since the New Zealand Army has been intimately involved in this part of our history, it is only fitting that this history be preserved so that future generations can understand why we have considered it a duty to fight. The National Army Museum in Waiouru (official title: The Queen Elizabeth II Army Memorial Museum) was opened in October 1978 to fulfil a number of roles, namely: to act as a memorial to all who served in the New Zealand Army in peace and war; to acquire and preserve physical evidence of the history of the New Zealand Army; to illustrate the history of the Army and its contribution to the development of New Zealand society and the national character; and to provide facilities for research and study. The Army had a series of small museums following the end of the First World War when memorabilia from that conflict was housed in Trentham Camp. From there, the collection was moved up and down the North Island until finally settling at Waiouru. Since opening in 1978, the museum, designed by Sir Miles Warren, has expanded with another two stages, the last being the Kippenberger Pavilion which houses an extensive archival collection and research library. In the future, more expansion is planned. One of the features of the last development was the construction of Roimata Pounamu – Tears on Greenstone, a unique memorial wall of pounamu (greenstone) that commemorates the more than 30,000 men and women who have died in the service of our country whilst serving with the Navy, Army, Air Force, and the Merchant Navy. Today, the museum has a vibrant exhibition programme that has built on the reputation of; dioramas, personal stories, and a rich collection of artefacts. These features are complemented by the implementation of a range of education programmes that cater for students of all ages. Since its inception, the museum has enjoyed a high profile as a cultural resource and tourist attraction. It gives visitors a unique insight into the New Zealand Army and our military history.

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