Te Papa National Museum Introductory Tour
Tour Participation Requirements
"Aim for the stomach. And get a man for every bullet."
It was simple advice in a complex invasion that would fail in every respect but one: The tragedy turned an isolated outpost of the British Empire into a nation.
Strategically, the plan made sense. In April of 1915, less than a year into World War I, the Allies would seize the Turkish peninsula of Gallipoli, giving them control of the Dardanelles Strait and cutting off the Ottoman Empire from its German allies.
But as you'll see at Te Papa's acclaimed Gallipoli exhibit, it went wrong from the beginning. Soldiers of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (Anzacs) had to climb up from low, marshy ground surrounded by high cliffs – perfect for the Turkish defenders, who raked the beach with a hailstorm of machine gun and artillery fire.
What followed were months of stalemate, the Anzacs enduring dehydration, dysentery, and a scorching sun on the shelterless shores of what came to be known as Anzac Cove. By the time they left, nearly 2,800 New Zealanders had died – for nothing, it seemed. The military situation was unchanged.
But at home, grief over the loss, and pride in their boys' grit and heroism, created a sense of identity that led to independence in 1947.
As you walk around the darkened Gallipoli exhibit, you'll see replicas of the supply crates, weapons, and sandbags that sustained the Kiwis for over eight months. Small-scale models of the cliffs and troop paths help you understand the logistics of the battle.
But the most impactful parts of the exhibit are the massive sculptures of actual soldiers. Built 2.4 times human scale, these figures express the human impact of war. They clutch rosaries, weapons, and rations with desperation on their faces, their uniforms caked with blood and dirt. It is their legacy, however, that the exhibit honors. It can be seen clearly now, through the smoke and haze of a battle that ended more than a century ago, that they did not die for nothing.
A pressing introduction
Hongi is the Maori term for their traditional greeting, which involves the two parties pressing their noses and foreheads together. Similar to a handshake in the west, the Maori believe that the ritual allows people to exchange ha, the breath of life, which creates an unbreakable connection. Dignitaries from around the world have been greeted this way on trips to New Zealand.
Non-refundable if canceled within 24 hours of requested services.