The National War Memorial is the heart of the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park. The education programme includes visits to the Great War Exhibition, the National War Memorial and Pukeahu as combined or separate visits.

The education programme supports the New Zealand curriculum and is relevant to a number of areas. It is student focused with an inquiry-based approach. Based on the old adage, tell me and I forget, show me and I remember, involve me and I understand, students, with the aid of experienced educators, are helped to construct their own understanding of the themes and content on display. Questions are posed, evidence is gathered, and decisions are made to improve learning outcomes for students.

We can tailor a programme to meet the learning needs of your group – or you can select from one of the following themes.

What you need to know

  • A minimum of one hour is recommended to explore Pukeahu National War Memorial Park and visit the National War Memorial. We recommend combining your experience with a visit to the Great War Exhibition
  • Group size is limited to 40 or fewer, although larger groups may be accommodated by prior arrangement
  • For school visits, standard adult-to-student ratios apply (RAM form available here)
  • Pukeahu is suitable for all ages
  • Bookings are essential


Themes at Pukeahu

Remembrance & commemoration (Two hours)

“We must do more than remember”  - Hew Strachan on WWI Commemorations, 2013

This theme will look at what we commemorate & why. Using the First World War commemorations and the National War Memorial as a starting point, students will consider what we (as individuals and communities) choose to commemorate or remember. Using the student’s personal experiences, students will create a meaningful response, for example, they will make a memorial or create a ceremony to a time/place of their choice.

Students will:

  • Explore how we currently commemorate
  • Critically examine the role of commemoration in New Zealand
  • Consider alternative ways of remembering our past
  • Creatively respond to these ideas (with a hands on activity in the Queen Elizabeth II Pukeahu Education Centre)

We recommend that a visit to Pukeahu is enhanced with a visit to the Great War Exhibition. Please add one hour for this experience.



Pukeahu the place (Two hours)

“A live memorial was immeasurably better than a dead one, as the spirit of life in trees, and beholders of the future, would link them in memories.”  - This theme will explore some of the rich history of Pukeahu National War Memorial Park. With its connections to both Māori and Pākehā it provides opportunities for visitors to learn about other parts of our nation’s story. From mara kai (garden) for local iwi, through to military barracks and sites of protest, prison, and the home of the first crèche in New Zealand, Pukeahu reveals glimpses of a past that is neither simple nor always comfortable, with compelling stories important to the history of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Students will:

  • Learn the history of Pukeahu including the Maori history & surrounding area
  • Explore physical remnants of the past
  • Understand the significance of Pukeahu today and in the past
  • Critically examine how these histories are told
  • Consider how we share our histories

Contact us about a walking tour to/from other sites of significance in Wellington.

Students visiting the Australian Memorial, Tomb of the Unknown Warrior at the National War Memorial.


Expressions of nationhood: Wellington the capital city (Two hours)

“Citizenship education involves students developing the dispositions, knowledge, and skills they need to play an active role in making their communities and society better.” - ChangeAgents Resource

Young people learn to be citizens from a wide range of life-experiences that should ideally occur outside as well as inside the classroom. Pukeahu is one such experience. How do places and monuments like this reflect who we are as a people and a nation now and in the past? Since its opening in 1932 the National War Memorial has been a place of significance for many New Zealanders, especially for those wishing to pay their respects to those who served in war. For others it has been a place to learn about New Zealand’s involvement in conflict or to commemorate important moments in New Zealand history. However do these still hold as valid reasons for young New Zealanders to visit over 80 years later?

A visit to the Queen Elizabeth II Pukeahu Education Centre will consider what role the National War Memorial and the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park play in Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city.

Students will:

  • Examine the role and significance of national sites of significance as expressions of identity
  • Explore how national institutions and sites of significance both change and are changed by society
  • Be encouraged to ask about their society and its future as expressed through sites such as this
  • Consider whose stories are missing from this site
  • Consider the so what in relation to their active citizenship. Is this site relevant to them and their lives?


An introduction to the Great War Exhibition (Two hours)

I wanted to tell the story of the First World War, as the people who were there experienced it – with minimum modern interpretation" - Sir Peter Jackson

Immersed in the dramatic setting of the Great War Exhibition, students are transported back in time to pre-war Belgium. They then journey through the Western Front, year by year, exploring the changing technology of war, the experience of a soldier and learn more about the significance of the Western Front. From here visitors will also enter the newly opened Eastern Corridor and Gallipoli: The New Zealand Story in Colour to gain further insight into New Zealand’s involvement in the First World War.

This experience is suitable for Years 6-13. It contains graphic images of war and its consequences on people. Discretion is advised.

Students will:

  • Explore events and developments on the Western Front from 1914 through to the end of the war in 1918
  • Follow a soldier through his experiences’ of the Western Front.
  • Compare the experience at Gallipoli with that of the Western Front
  • Reflect on the consequences and effects of the First World War with an opportunity to consider how it relates to the world we live in today.

This experience is based in the Great War Exhibition - please add one hour to also visit Pukeahu National War Memorial Park.


The changing nature of war (Two hours)

“Necessity is the mother of invention.” - Plato

This theme will focus on how technologies changed the face of war including the development of new weaponry, transportation, communication and the changes in medicine & medical care. It will consider how new technologies effected the people and environment.

This experience is suitable for Years 6-13. It contains graphic images of war and its consequences on people. Discretion is advised.

Students will:

  • Explore key changes in technologies such as new weaponry, transportation, communication and medical care.
  • Explore the impact of new technologies and the effects on people, animals and the environment.
  • Examine the responses to these new technologies.

  This experience is based in the Great War Exhibition - please add one hour to also visit Pukeahu National War Memorial Park.


Gallipoli – The New Zealand Story in Colour (Two & a half hours including session in the Pukeahu Education Centre)

“We were out there two days. We numbered off on Monday morning and then there were 72 of us. And on Tuesday night I came in with nine Otago men” - Cpl Fred Rogers Otago Infantry Battalion 

"For most people, the imagery of The Great War is represented by black and white photography. That's how we now imagine it – but that's not how it was seen by those who lived through it.“ - Sir Peter Jackson

Despite the fact that the vast majority of New Zealanders served – and died – on the Western Front, Gallipoli continues to hold an almost mythical place in the nation’s story. Gallipoli: The New Zealand Story in Colour provides students with an extraordinary insight into this campaign. Containing over 140 photographs taken by those who experienced Gallipoli first-hand and colourised by Weta digital, these photos are a unique insight into life and death on the peninsula in 1915. The use of other primary sources such as diary entries and letters also provide an intimate glimpse into how life was for the ANZAC’s. Every New Zealander who lost their life at Gallipoli is acknowledged via chronologically ordered rolls of honour. Central to the exhibition is a giant diorama representing the events at Chunuk Bair which gives viewers a sense of the scale of the events of 8-9 August.

This experience is suitable for Years 6-13. It contains graphic images of war and its consequences on people. Discretion is advised.

Students will:

  • Explore primary sources to discover the personal impact of the Gallipoli campaign
  • Focus on a soldier’s personal experience through researching someone who is found in the exhibition.
  • Explore the experiences of those from your school district who served at Gallipoli
  • Carry out an investigation, an inquiry, or research of an event of significance to New Zealanders
  • Use the exhibition as a context for a range of NCEA History Achievement Standards

A visit to the GWE is enhanced by a visit to Pukeahu National War Memorial Park. Please add one hour for this experience.


Walking with an Anzac (Whole day programme)

Ideal for budding historians, class projects or an elective or extension group. Utilising the purpose built Queen Elizabeth II Pukeahu Education Centre as a base students will have the opportunity to explore the Great War Exhibition and then carry out a piece of research to explore the experiences of someone who served during the conflict. Through the use of the Cenotaph database and other online and print records, students will learn and develop new research skills to build an actual picture/story of a solider. The programme concludes with students sharing their findings with their classmates.

Students will:

  • Follow the journey of a young man (Will) year by year,  through his experience of the First World War in the Great War Exhibition
  • Learn and develop research skills utilising the Cenotaph database
  • Identify a solider (from their region or of personal significance ) and utilise documents and records to build a picture/story of that persons experience
  • Revisit the Great War Exhibition to place their research into the context of the exhibition.
  • Report their findings and discoveries to the group.


Queen Elizabeth II Pukeahu Education Centre

In August 2016 the Queen Elizabeth II Pukeahu Education Centre at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park was opened by the former Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae accompanied by the former Prime Minister Rt Hon John Key and the Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Hon Maggie Barry. Learn more about this historic building here.

Exterior of the Education Centre in August 2016. Photo by Mark Tantrum.

With over 10,000 students through the education programme already the Centre is a place for us to expand our programme to include civics education and an active citizenship experience. It is a place for students to create meaningful responses to their experience here at Pukeahu.


Students create their own Coats of Arms in the Pukeahu Education Centre. Photo by Mark Tantrum.

Students from Wellington High, Wellington College and St Patricks College, Silverstream in the research and library space. Photo by Mark Tantrum.

Risk Assessment Management (RAM) Form

Please read Pukeahu's Risk Assessment Management (RAM) form here prior to your visit.

Framework for the Education Programme at Pukeahu

This framework presents a series of nine principles that are intended as ‘design tools’ for developing powerful learning experiences for teachers contemplating a visit to the Park. Read the full report here.

Additional Material for Schools

Additional material will be available online to help schools prepare for visits and to support their learning during and following a visit. This material will also support those unable to visit in person.

Find out more here.


027 588 9857

Queen Elizabeth II Pukeahu Education Centre, 18 Buckle Street (off Tory Street), Pukeahu National War Memorial Park

PO Box 5364, Wellington 6140