A CREATIVE DIALOGUE
In order to establish the general parameters of the memorial with regards to its design and remembrance purpose, it was decided that different consultations should take place with New Zealanders.
It first took the form of a series of interviews conducted through a questionnaire by the French Embassy in New Zealand with more than thirty New Zealand professionals (artists, historians, designers, writers, experts involved in projects relating to the Great War, or in charge of commemorations). Their answers were compiled and a synthesis based on recurring response elements was produced. The synthesis highlights a few major ideas with regards to the perceptions held by New Zealanders about World War I and its role in the relations between our two countries. It also incorporates more ad hoc considerations deemed relevant in view of the preparatory work for the memorial.
A second step was decided and organised with the different parties involved in France: the Ministry of Defence and the French First World War Commission. A symposium brought together six prominent New Zealanders in France, from December 6 to 12, 2015. The group spent a full week interacting with French organisations and experts involved in the WW1 commemorations, including museums’ curators, historians, elected officials, veterans’ associations and more. The outcome of this symposium was a general design brief that feeds into the architectural competition for the memorial that the Embassy of France is organising in 2016 in New Zealand.