Lonely Planet Writer

World War I ANZAC experiences brought to life by Sir Peter Jackson

A world-first sensory experience has opened at The Great War Exhibition in Wellington, New Zealand created by Sir Peter Jackson.

Sir Peter Jackson has created the Quinn’s Post Trench Experience. Image by Tourism New Zealand

The Quinn’s Post Trench Experience combines Jackson’s world-acclaimed storytelling artistry with a personal passion for First World War military history and stories of the experiences of New Zealand soldiers. Set at Quinn’s Post, a tenuously-held frontline position on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey and a key (though tragically unsuccessful) campaign for New Zealand and Australian soldiers during WWI.

Visitors get a glimpse of what life was like for the soldiers. Image by The Great War Exhibition

Visitors to the exhibition enter the world of grit and hardship experienced by New Zealand soldiers during this ill-fated battle. With the help of cutting edge technology, visitors are guided through Quinn’s Post by the ghosts of New Zealand soldiers. Guests experience the sights, sounds and even smells of Gallipoli 1915.

A reacreation of Quinn’s Post. Image by The Great War Exhibition

Visitors have the opportunity to experience the bleak and dangerous conditions soldiers endured during the Gallipoli campaign. The exhibition opened last week as New Zealanders and Australians prepared for ANZAC Day on 25 April, a national day for both countries to pay tribute to the brave people that were in Gallipoli. “We hope visitors find the experience both exciting and insightful. It is truly immersive and will, we believe, bring people as close as you can get to experiencing the conditions faced by our Anzac troops”, says Clare Olssen, Executive Producer at Wingnut Films.

Trench visitors at sunset. Image by The Great War Exhibition

Great care has been taken to ensure that the terraces, tunnels and trenches accurately reflect those of Quinn’s Post as it was in 1915. “The intent of The Great War Exhibition has always been for visitors to gain increased understanding and awareness of New Zealand’s military history, and the impact of the First World War upon our society” said General Manager, Dave Clearwater.

Trench explosives and biscuits. Image by The Great War Exhibition

Over 350 intricately timed DMX lighting, audio and video circuits are controlled over a dedicated network. More than 50 speakers and 38 amplifiers installed throughout the experience ensure visitors feel totally immersed in the atmosphere. The Great War Exhibition, is located in the Dominion Museum building, and forms an integral part of Pukeahu National War Memorial Park.