ANZAC commemorations begin in Le Quesnoy, France

We will remember them

This year is the first Anzac Day commemorations in Le Quesnoy since the NZ Liberation Museum – Te Arawhata opened its doors in October last year.

From April 25 to April 28, Te Arawhata will host French and New Zealand dignitaries, New Zealand visitors, and French and Le Quesnoy locals at a series of Anzac remembrance events.

The museum exhibition created by Wētā Workshop tells the story of the Kiwi soldiers who liberated the French town from four years of German occupation on November 4, 1918, during World War One. 

New Zealand’s Minister of Defence, Judith Collins, will make her second trip to Le Quesnoy on Anzac Day to acknowledge the commemorations and visit the NZ Liberation Museum – Te Arawhata for the first time.

Museum Manager Josh Hansen says remembering the sacrifice of New Zealand soldiers, side-by-side, with the people of France is the ultimate symbol of the friendships these soldiers helped create. 

“Te Arawhata has been crafted so that the visitor experience is a living example of the phrase lest we forget,” he says. 

One room in Te Arawhata captures and focuses on the friendships and connections between Le Quesnoy and France from the last 106 years, including footage from past Anzac Days of Kiwis and French locals laying poppies at the cemetery. 

“If you are traveling through France or visiting other Western Front remembrance sites in Northern France, we look forward to welcoming you to Te Arawhata for Anzac Day.” 

On Saturday evening (April 27) an Anzac Dinner will be held to mark the friendship between New Zealand and the village of Le Quesnoy.

As is tradition in Le Quesnoy, Anzac Day is celebrated on the nearest Sunday to April 25. At 11am on Sunday (April 28), the Le Quesnoy Anzac Ceremony takes place. This will be attended by dignitaries from New Zealand and France, locals and Kiwi visitors. This will be followed by a public reception.

Mr Hansen says what makes Anzac Day in Le Quesnoy special is the service is organised and attended by the French locals.

“It is a unique and emotional service where the efforts of the New Zealand troops during the liberation are remembered with deep gratitude by the people of Le Quesnoy.

“In this way, Te Arawhata and Le Quesnoy is a perfect place for New Zealanders to come together to commemorate Anzac Day.” 

“Being part of Anzac Day in Le Quesnoy means you become a part of this community formed through the remembrance of our shared history.  This is something to be commemorated and celebrated.” 

Te Arawhata Anzac events schedule

Museum open every day. 

Thursday 25 April 2024
Museum guided tours (Fre/Eng): 10:15am, 2pm, 4:15pm
Town and medieval rampart tours (Eng): 11am and 3pm

Friday 26 April 2024
Museum guided tours (Fre/Eng): 10:15am, 2pm, 4:15pm
Town and medieval rampart tours (Eng): 11am and 3pm

Saturday 27 April 2024
Museum guided tours (Fre/Eng): 10:15am, 2pm, 4:15pm
Town and medieval rampart tours (Eng): 11am and 3pm
Anzac Day Dinner in conjunction with the Ville de Le Quesnoy
New Zealand Le Quesnoy Association Events

Sunday 28 April 2024
Museum open all day
11am: Official Le Quesnoy Anzac Ceremony followed by reception at Te Arawhata
Town and medieval rampart tour (Eng): 2pm
3pm: Official ceremony at Longueval, New Zealand Battlefield Memorial

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