June 20, 2017

Wellington: Te Papa’s Gallipoli exhibit is astonishing

I was in Wellington yesterday on a quick whistle-stop trip for a meeting, lunch with my niece then home, and decided to swing by Te Papa for my last half hour as I’d heard so many good things about the WWI Gallipoli exhibition.

All I can say is, spending 30 minutes whizzing through this incredible historical account of the war was ridiculous, but it gave me enough to know that I will be making a special trip back to Wellington just to see it with more time.

It’s a free exhibition with double life-sized mannequins made by the astonishingly talented team at Weta Workshop over 24,000 hours. These figures are SO life like that I peered with my nose almost touching them just to get my head around the intricate pores on the skin, their veins and the realistic body and facial hair. Just extraordinary. And then you’ve got the fascinating and heart wrenching stories of New Zealand soldiers clambering up the cliffs of Anzac Cove in 1915 into an adventure that would change their lives.

This display shows the powerful moments in eight ordinary New Zealander’s lives…

Te Papa WWI Gallipoli exhibit

Enter the Gallipoli experience

Te Papa WWI Gallipoli exhibit

The first thing you see is this guy at 2.4 times the size of the average person

Te Papa WWI Gallipoli exhibit

I love this guy. A broken hearted doctor. See the perspective of the woman looking at him. She was kind to pose for me!

Te Papa WWI Gallipoli exhibit

And a close up of every whisker and pore

Te Papa WWI Gallipoli exhibit

This guy is feeding bullets into a machine gun as another soldier lies dead beside him

Te Papa WWI Gallipoli exhibit

The fallen comrade

Te Papa WWI Gallipoli exhibit

This guy is eating meat out of a tin with larger than life flies all over him

Te Papa WWI Gallipoli exhibit

Check out the veins on his hands

Te Papa WWI Gallipoli exhibit

And finally this nurse touched me, reading a letter saying her loved one had died in the war

Te Papa WWI Gallipoli exhibit

As you leave you can cleanse yourself as is the Maori custom

This exhibition is free and open from 10am to 6pm daily. It’s expected to be here until at least 2019.

About Megan Singleton

Hi, I'm Megan Singleton and I'm the word slinger of this travel blog as well as on radio in NZ every Sunday. Former Travel Editor at Yahoo NZ and current freelance writer for a few newspapers and mags from time to time, I set off on this travel writing journey 20 years ago and I've pretty much always got a suitcase half packed (or half un-packed!) I'd love you to join me on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for my newsletters if you want loads of travel tips, advice and deals!

"Wellington: Te Papa’s Gallipoli exhibit is astonishing" - What do you think?

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  1. Fiona on

    I agree, the exhibition at Te Papa is just incredible and I found it very emotional. I too had to make it a quick visit the first time, but I’m in Wellington next week so definitely plan to do it again.


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