Personal messages left by visitors at the NZ Liberation Museum – Te Arawhata highlight the emotional impact the museum has on people.
The themes of freedom, friendship and future also feature strongly among the hundreds of messages left in Te Ara Tuku, a space lined with tukutuku-inspired panels where visitors leave notes to be read by those who follow them.
“This will be a turangawaewae for New Zealanders in France – their place to stand,” says one. “Incredibly powerful and courageous story. NZ-Le Quesnoy connected for life,” reads another.
The colour of the Te Ara Tuku panels is inspired by the winter flowers the people of Le Quesnoy pinned to Kiwi soldiers following the liberation. Written in English, French and Māori, other messages include:
“So grateful and proud to be a Kiwi after experiencing what they have been through. Kia kaha.”
“There are so many other options before resorting to war. Never let it be the way again.”
“Magnifique musée, très émouvant, belle reconnaissance et homage a nos amis Néo-Zélandais…” (Translation: “Wonderful museum, very moving. A beautiful acknowledgement and homage to our friends from New Zealand.”)
“Je suis fier que par ce musée on reconnaisse le sacrifice de ces hommes pour la liberté.” (Translation: “I am proud that through this museum the sacrifice these men made for freedom is being recognised.”)
“Tino ātaahua he whare tēnei. Love the art and design of the place and the love towards my country.”