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The upcoming centenary of the First World War has provided the perfect opportunity for Massey University to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Auckland War Memorial Museum.
The MoU was signed last night, after Professor of War Studies Glyn Harper’s lecture on the battles of 1917 - arguably New Zealand’s toughest year of war.
Auckland Museum’s work on the Cenotaph Database project, to be launched in 2014, is aimed at bringing family stories to life, detailing the human sacrifices made during the First World War. As well as individual pages for each soldier who served, contributions from families on the impact of the war will help bring a present-day reality to the impact of war, and give some insight into why and how the war shapes New Zealanders today.
Massey University Vice-Chancellor Steve Maharey says the collaboration with the museum provides valuable opportunities for Massey researchers to work with Museum staff and enhance what is already an impressive historical database.
"It's great to be working with the Museum in this way,” he says. “Massey University aims to promote the highest standards of research and scholarship and be a world leader in areas of specialisation – and the work done by our historians, led by Professor Glyn Harper, is widely acknowledged as world-leading."
The MoU provides a platform for research collaboration and other projects of mutual interest, including the Centenary History Project, the history of the Auckland Province and the history and the impact of the Treaty of Waitangi.
“Museum programmes will be enriched and the public better served through the research, scholarship and other benefits that will flow from this collaboration with Massey University, exploring topics related to war commemoration as well as a wider range of themes and projects over time,” says Auckland Museum Director Roy Clare.
The Centenary History Project will outline different aspects of the conflict in order to tell the complete story of New Zealand’s involvement in the First World War. Professor Harper is writing a volume on the experience of the New Zealand soldier in the 12-volume series. Massey University, the New Zealand Defence Force, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage and the Royal New Zealand Returned & Services Association are working together on the project.
Professor Harper’s four-city lecture tour will carry on to Christchurch, Wellington and Palmerston North this week.