Minister commemorates Armistice Day in Europe

  • Maggie Barry
Arts, Culture and Heritage

In her first official overseas visit new Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister, and lead Minister for New Zealand’s WW100 programme, Maggie Barry will attend the 96th anniversary commemorations of Armistice Day in Europe.

Ms Barry will be supporting the All Blacks when they play England at Twickenham, where poppies will be worn on the player’s uniforms and a moment’s silence will be observed as a mark of respect.

Fallen All Blacks will be remembered at the game, including Dave Gallaher, captain of the 1905 "Originals", who died following the Battle of Passchendaele.

On 9 November, Ms Barry will be a guest at the Remembrance Sunday ceremony at the Cenotaph, London, which will also be attended by Her Majesty The Queen.

“The First World War profoundly shaped our nation and left an indelible mark on our national identity. This visit will provide an opportunity to pay respects not only to New Zealand’s fallen, but to acknowledge those of other nations,” says Ms Barry.

On 11 November, Ms Barry will lead the New Zealand delegation in a ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, followed by a commemorative event in Northern France at Notre-Dame-de-Lorette, the site of the world's largest French military cemetery.

“Armistice Day is a poignant occasion when it is appropriate to reflect on New Zealand’s shared ANZAC history with France, Belgium, the United Kingdom and others. I am honoured to be representing my country at these centenary events,” says Ms Barry.

Ms Barry will also visit New Zealand memorials and significant sites in Belgium, including Passchendaele and Messines, and lay a wreath at the Menin Gate.

In France, Ms Barry will visit the Carrière Wellington museum and the Arras tunnels, as well as the New Zealand National Memorial Longueval and Caterpillar Valley, the original burial place of New Zealand’s Unknown Warrior.

“I will be meeting my counterparts in Europe to discuss First World War centenary plans for the coming five years in both New Zealand and across Europe, and to reinforce our strong ties forged one hundred years ago,” says Ms Barry.