Battle of Passchendaele Centenary
When: 11 and 12 October 2017
Where: Ieper (Ypres) and Zonnebeke
New Zealand National Commemoration
The New Zealand National Commemoration for the Battle of Passchendaele will take place at 11 a.m. on 12 October 2017 at Tyne Cot Cemetery, near Zonnebeke (external link). This is the largest Commonwealth War Grave Cemetery in the world. It contains 520 New Zealand graves and further New Zealanders are listed on the New Zealand Memorial to the Missing in the Battles of Passchendaele.
All members of the public are asked to proceed through security screening and board shuttles to the Cemetery at Bellewaerde Parking C, Frezenbergstraat, Zonnebeke. There is strictly no parking at Tyne Cot cemetery. We advise arriving at Parking C no later than 9.30 a.m.
Following the National Commemoration, shuttles will return to Parking C via the Memorial Museum Passchendaele, Zonnebeke. The Museum is offering a barbeque for those attending the service; for more information and to register, please visit the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917 website.
At 3pm, the New Zealand Passchendaele Centennial Memorial & Garden will be opened at the Memorial Museum Passchendaele. This event will feature elements of ceremony and music, and is open to the public.
The day will conclude with a sunset ceremony in Buttes New British Cemetery in Polygon Wood at 7.15 p.m. finishing at 8 p.m. The New Zealand Memorial to the Missing for those 388 New Zealanders who were killed in the vicinity of Polygon Wood between September 1917 and May 1918 and who have no known grave is located within this cemetery. The cemetery has 95 known New Zealand graves. There are, however, over 1600 unknown soldiers buried in this cemetery.
Buses will depart for the Sunset ceremony from Parking C, beginning at 5.45 p.m.
Access to these commemorations is not balloted – they are open to anyone wishing to commemorate New Zealand’s military service during the First World War regardless of nationality.
Buses from Ieper to parking C
On 12 October a limited number of buses will run from Ieper to Parking C, where security screening will be carried out before guests board buses on to Tyne Cot Cemetery (for the National Service) or Buttes New British Cemetery (for the Sunset Service). Buses will return to Ieper after the services from Parking C. There are limited spaces on these buses, so registration is necessary.
To register, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and note whether you would prefer to be on the 0830h or 0915h bus (in the morning, for the National Service) and/or the 1745h bus for the evening service. Further information on bus pick-up in Ieper will be sent to those who register via email.
From the Uttermost Ends of the Earth: Special Commemorative Event and Last Post Service
At 7 p.m. on 11 October a special commemorative event with a distinctly New Zealand flavour will be held in Ieper/Ypres. Along the ramparts next to the famous Menin Gate, a video and sound show telling the story of New Zealand’s participation in Passchendaele “from the uttermost ends of the earth” will be shown. As part of the event, a ceremonial waka taua will be paddled for the first time in Flanders’ fields, by a 14-strong crew. This will be followed by the traditional Menin Gate Last Post Ceremony, strongly featuring New Zealand elements including a performance by New Zealand music legend Dave Dobbyn.
We recommend the public arrive before 6.30 p.m. for the best view of the event, and prepare for security screening – please leave bulky items at home.
There are a number of other commemorative events taking place in the week prior to the Battle of Passchendaele centenary, which the public are welcome to attend:
- New Zealand Service of Remembrance, 9 Elms Cemetery, Poperinge – 4 October at 2.30 p.m. The Service of Remembrance will take place in the cemetery, where 151 New Zealanders are buried. There will be a tribute to the 1905 All Blacks captain Dave Gallaher who was killed on this day 100 years ago.
- New Zealand Memorial Service to mark the Battle of Broodseinde – 4 October at 4.30 p.m. The Service will take place at the New Zealand Battlefield Memorial, s’Gravenstafel.
- WW100 website - Passchendaele (external link)
- Learn more about New Zealand and the Battle of Passchendaele (external link)
- Download Ngā Tapuwae New Zealand First World War Trails (external link)