Te Papa presents two weekend performances of this specially commissioned play to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele. A vintage steam train, hauled by World War I memorial locomotive Ab608 Passchendaele, leaves Wellington Railway Station for a 40-minute journey to Trentham, then returns after a short break.
On board are four First World War characters: three soldiers and a nurse, all in uniform. The journey out is full of fun and hope, capturing the optimism that accompanied the early part of the war. The return journey is more poignant, as the once-hopeful characters reflect on New Zealand’s biggest military disaster.
Created by Wellington playwright and Dominion Post columnist Dave Armstrong, Passchendaele Journey includes music, letters, and diary excerpts from the time.
The Battle of Passchendaele
For the first time in our brief history as an army the New Zealanders failed in their objective with the most appalling slaughter I have ever seen.
Private Leonard Hart
This October, New Zealand commemorates the centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele, New Zealand’s bloodiest battle. In one morning, over 600 New Zealanders lost their lives on Belgian soil. Over the period of the battle, it is estimated over 2000 New Zealanders were killed.
This train journey is part of a series of Passchendaele commemorative events, from talks to family activities, at Te Papa and other venues this October.
Sunday's Passchendaele Journey performance