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The Construction of Arras Tunnel and Pukeahu National War Memorial Park – a photographic essay

19 May to 24 May 2016

Hall of Memories, The Carillon, National War Memorial, Wellington

A photographic essay on the making of New Zealand’s centrepiece commemoration of the First World War - Pukeahu National War Memorial Park – will feature in the Hall of Memories beneath the National Carillon in Wellington.

The exhibition from 19-24 May records the making of Arras Tunnel and Pukeahu Park from 2012 to 2015 through 48 photographic prints and 400 on-screen visuals by photographer Colin McLellan.

On Anzac Day, 25 April 2015, 50,000 people stood in silence for the park’s first commemorative use on the centenary of the Gallipoli Landings. Their number equalled the 1932 turnout for the opening of the Carillon tower, the first of the National War Memorial buildings.

Construction of the Arras Tunnel in March 2014. Image is courtesy of Colin McLellan.

“The idea for recording this project in a photographic essay seemed natural enough – photos taken in Europe 100 years earlier reminded us easily enough of the reasons for this park. The photos taken today should therefore record the effort put into building the park. It is not every day we build such a large area to commemorate our fallen,” McLellan says.

 “Recording the construction of the tunnel and park in photographs is my acknowledgement of those who served their country at war and in peace-keeping.”

McLellan, audiovisual technician and part-time photographer, began taking photos of the project on his way to work, prompting the Memorial Park Alliance, which was building the tunnel and park, to contract him as the official photographer. Just over a year since the park was completed, this exhibition comes after McLellan spent 32 months covering the stages of construction and shot 35,000 frames.

The Ministry for Culture and Heritage gifted the use of the Hall of Memories for this exhibition, while the Memorial Park Alliance funded the costs of printing and mounting the exhibition.

Colin McLellan

Born and raised in Wellington, photographer Colin McLellan is an audio visual technical operator at Te Papa Tongarewa, Museum of New Zealand. He recorded the construction and opening of Arras Tunnel and Pukeahu National War Memorial Park 2012 – 2015 and, as the official Memorial Park Alliance photographer, has recorded all Alliance projects in Wellington.

Colin McLellan | colin.mcl@xtra.co.nz | 021 192 2847

Memorial Park Alliance | Lynsey Morgan | lynsey.morgan@memorialpark.co.nz


Updated on 24th May 2016