Anzac dinner brings young and old together 

Event marks new phase for Te Arawhata as a must-visit destination 

A special Anzac Dinner hosted by the NZ Liberation Museum – Te Arawhata brought people together from two sides of the world to remember those who died but also to celebrate the friendships formed in Le Quesnoy 106 years. 

More than 70 French locals and 60 Kiwis, including 30 New Zealanders who came over from London,   enjoyed together a delicious four course dinner at Les Vergers Tellier in Le Quesnoy.

“It was incredible to have so many young people in the town,” says Museum Manager Josh Hansen. “The French locals really loved the energy they brought to the Anzac dinner. It was a fantastic evening of commemoration and celebration of our friendship.” 

Dignitaries in attendance included Madame Marie-Sophie Lesne, the Mayor of Le Quesnoy; Captain James Barnes, Defence Attache to Belgium and France; Monsieur Xavier Puppinck, Area Director of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in France; and Monsieur Le Maire Xavier du Pont de Romeries, and the former Mayor of Beaudignies, Raymonde Dramez.

The Association le Quesnoy  – Nouvelle Zélande was well represented, and a speech emphasising the friendship between the two countries was given by Jean Philippe Froment.

The new chair of the NZ Memorial Museum Trust, David McLean also spoke, along with Alice Averill, whose Great Grandfather, Leslie Averill, played a key role in the liberation of Le Quesnoy on November 4, 1918. 

Mr McLean said the NZ Liberation Museum – Te Arawhata is entering a new era with a focus on establishing it as a must-visit destination in Northern France.      

“The financial sustainability of the museum is important, and we need to make sure the museum is on a solid footing. We have many initiatives underway to achieve that.

“We are also focussed on making the museum a very powerful asset for the town of Le Quesnoy. We will spread the word as widely as possible about the incredible history of Le Quesnoy and the museum. This will play a key part in dramatically increasing visitor numbers over time.”

Alice Averill told guests her Great Grandfather visited Le Quesnoy twice in the five years following the war as he was studying at the University of Edinburgh. 

“He remained great friends with many people who lived in Le Quesnoy, in particular the De Monteville family. 

“Despite speaking different languages, and during a time when communication and travel were less developed, Leslie and Eugene De Monteville remained great friends throughout their entire lives. And through the next generation, my grandparents Colin and Valerie became great friends with Henri and Christian.

Alice met Florence De Monteville, when she visited Le Quesnoy last year for the museum opening. 

“She shared photos of Eugene and Leslie and the letter shared between them, updating each other on meaningful life events. It is incredible to see how such a special friendship was formed between two people who met in such extraordinary circumstances.”

The Anzac dinner will be an annual event hosted by Te Arawhata.

Be the first to get updates

Sign up to our newsletter

Site designed and developed by Great North