The Somme: From Tauranga to the Trenches featured maps, quotes, photographs and facts relating to New Zealand’s efforts at the Somme. It also revealed the connection Tauranga had to “that terrible battle” through the stories and images of many of the Tauranga men who fought and, in some cases, died there.
The exhibition opened at the Phoenix car park downtown Mount Maunganui on 15 September 2016 - one hundred years to the day New Zealand entered the fray on the Western Front. It also traveled to the Papamoa and Greerton Libraries.
“The Gallipoli experience of 1915 has overshadowed New Zealand’s enormous contribution on the Western Front between 1916 and 1918. It was on the Somme that the majority of New Zealanders were killed or wounded during the First World War. And it was here that New Zealand experienced its worst days in military history in terms of loss of life. The Battle of the Somme was New Zealand’s first major engagement on the Western Front. It took a huge toll on the 15,000 members of the New Zealand Division who were involved. Roughly one in seven of the division who fought on the Somme was killed, and about four in every 10 were wounded.” - New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage