Wellington Schools Commemorate WW1 with Living Heritage Sites

Two Wellington schools celebrated the launch of their Living Heritage websites at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park last Friday.  Students from Kilbirnie and Brooklyn schools gathered at Wellington’s new Memorial Park to receive their certificates from Mayor Celia Wade-Brown.  Both schools developed sites based on the WW100 theme “Their Names Shall Live”.

Thibault Dunkin
Thibault Dunkin receives his Living Heritage certificate from Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown

Thibault Dunkin, a Year 5 student from Kilbirnie School, explained that their site “A past pupil goes to war” tells the story of one of the soldiers named on the WW1 memorial at their school gates –  Corporal Francis John Herbert (Bert) Fear DCM.  Bert was a pupil at Kilbirnie School from 1892 to 1900 and went to Gallipoli in 1915.  He was subsequently transferred to the Western Front and died in the trenches near the village of Flers in September 1916.

Rory Mainwaring
Rory Mainwaring receives her Living Heritage certificate from Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown

Rory Mainwaring, a Year 7 student from Brooklyn school, explained that their site “Brooklyn school remembers” researched the 48 soldiers who died in WW1 and who are named on the Brooklyn War Memorial, as well as some of the soldiers who returned.

Well-known historian Jock Phillips joined the students and presented a copy of his book on war memorials from around New Zealand to each of the schools.

The two new sites, which received funding support from Wellington City Council, are the first Living Heritage sites to focus on World War One Memorials in their local communities.  As part of New Zealand’s 100-year commemorative initiatives, the 2020 Trust is encouraging schools to tell the stories about the people named on local war memorials, many of which are located in or near schools.  The initiative “Their Names Shall Live”, was inspired by the inscription on the memorial near Rahotu school in Taranaki.

“We hope that many other schools will be inspired by the work of these two Wellington schools and develop their own commemorative Living Heritage sites based on memorials in their communities,” said Vanisa Dhiru, Executive Director for the 2020 Trust.

About Living Heritage

Living Heritage is an initiative of the 2020 Trust; it was created in the year 2000 as a partnership between Sun Microsystems, the National Library and the 2020 Trust to encourage school students to use digital technologies for learning.  Students research a heritage resource in their community and record their findings as an online website.  However unlike other websites, Living Heritage sites are locked when completed and preserved for ever by the National Library as part of New Zealand’s digital heritage archive.  Since the year 2000, 144 Living Heritage sites have been published.  The two new ones launched last week bring the total to 146. The sites can be viewed here.