Thursday, February 29, 2024

Travel Memories - New Zealand - Sheep Dog Memorial - Lake Tekapo South Island NZ

 ESPECIALLY FOR DOG LOVERS


TEKAPO DOG MEMORIAL
Bronze Sheep Dog Statue Monument
Memories of New Zealand
By
VIKRAM KARVE

During our visit to New Zealand 9 years ago in 2015 – while travelling from Christchurch to Queenstown - I was pleasantly surprised to see a Bronze Statue of a Dog – a memorial for James Mackenzie’s legendary Sheepdog (Collie).

It was the first time that I had seen a monument dedicated to a dog.

The sheep dog statue stands proudly on the shores of the unique exquisite turquoise waters of Lake Tekapo – amidst breathtaking scenery of snow capped mountains of the Southern Alps.

Lake Tekapo is located in the heart of Mackenzie County in the Canterbury Region of South New Zealand – halfway between Christchurch and Queenstown.

After leaving Christchurch – you drive past the lush green Canterbury Plains – then cross the towns of Geraldine, Fairlie and Kimbell – and then you climb up – and traverse across the Burkes Pass into scenic basin in the heart of the mountainous South Island called ‘Mackenzie Country’.

Mackenzie Country has fascinating landscapes and two lakes Tekapo and Pukaki whose waters have a unique turquoise colour caused by glacial flour suspended in the water.

At the heart of Mackenzie Country is the beautiful Lake Tekapo with its marvelous turquoise waters surrounded by magnificent scenery and the awe-inspiring snowcapped peaks including the cloud-piercing Aoraki Mount Cook.  

(The Mackenzie Country was free of human beings until several hundred years ago with the arrival of the Maori in search of food. The Moa, a large flightless bird now extinct, and other birds were hunted and eels fished for in the area. The Maori called the area Takapo – meaning “To leave in haste at night”. The current name – Tekapo – is possibly a corruption of Takapo).

As I told you earlier – Lake Tekapo is nestled in the heart of New Zealand’s South Island. The lake lies at the foot of the Southern Alps, which rise to a height of 3 kilometres. New Zealand’s highest mountain, Mount Cook (Aoraki) is a short drive away and rises to 3,753m (12,313ft).

Lake Tekapo is truly stunning – a breathtaking sight with its turquoise waters and surrounded by spectacular scenery and a most wonderful view of the Southern Alps including the snow-covered mountains like Mount Cook. 

Here is a picture of Lake Tekapo with Mount Cook in the distance which I took on my smartphone on 26 December 2015.

Lake Tekapo

COLLIE SHEEP DOG STATUE

Standing proudly on a large rock on the shores of Lake Tekapo is a bronze statue of a Collie Sheep Dog.

In 1855 James Mackenzie – a Scottish Shepherd discovered this basin that now bears his name (Mackenzie Country).

As per local folklore – James Mackenzie was a “Sheep Stealer”.

The story goes on to say that “Sheep Thief” James Mackenzie had a loyal Collie Sheep Dog named “Friday” who used to protect his sheep and hustle the flocks of stolen sheep into his sheep farms.

By stealing sheep from the Canterbury Plains and driving them inland across mountain passes into this remote area with the help of his Collie Dog ‘Friday’– James Mackenzie had become a prosperous sheep farmer.

One day James Mackenzie’s deeds caught up with him.

James Mackenzie was arrested and sent to jail.

The authorities went up the Burkes Pass into the “Mackenzie Basin” to retrieve the stolen sheep and return them to their rightful owners.

However – James Mackenzie’s loyal Collie Sheepdog continued to protect his sheep.

Mackenzie’s highly intelligent dog ‘Friday’ continued to drive the sheep without his master’s control.

The Sheepdog ‘Friday’ could not be restrained – and the dog aggressively attacked anyone who tried to come near his sheep.

Finally – Mackenzie's Collie Sheep Dog ‘Friday’ was shot and put down by the authorities.

The loyal Dog resolutely performed his duty towards his Master till his last breath and gave up his life for his Master.

The capture of James Mackenzie, for being “in the company of a thousand stolen sheep” as he rustled them with his dog ‘Friday’, through a remote alpine pass into “a plain of immense extent” resulted in his deeds being immortalized and his name being given these highlands ever since – hence the area is called “Mackenzie Country”.

Many years later – the residents of Mackenzie Country decided to construct this monument in memory of James Mackenzie’s legendary Collie Sheepdog ‘Friday’ and all the hardy working Collie Dogs without the help of which the grazing of this mountainous country would have been impossible.

Like Mackenzie – in the 19th century – many Scottish shepherds came to work on the pastoral runs of the Eastern South Island – and the high country could not have been farmed successfully without the Border Collies they brought with them.

Thus - in addition to ‘Friday’ – this monument at Lake Tekapo honours all these ‘Canine Scots’ of Mackenzie Country.

This monument is dedicated to all good and faithful Collie sheepdogs who always gave their best irrespective of the weather or hardships, in burning heat and frozen snow.

It is a unique monument dedicated to a dog – I wonder if there is any such memorial dedicated to a dog elsewhere in the world.

The bronze dog statue was commissioned by Mackenzie Country residents in recognition of the indispensable role of the sheepdog in their livelihoods. The sculptor was Innes Elliott of Kaikoura, with a dog called Haig, belonging to a neighbour, being the model. Elliott reported the sculpting process took approximately 15 months. Clay for the model came from the insulator works in Temuka, with a plaster cast of it made and sent to London in 1966, where the statue was cast.

The statue was unveiled on the 7th of March 1968 by Sir Arthur Espie Porritt, Governor-General of New Zealand.

The inscription on the monument plaque reads:

“This monument was erected by the runholders of the Mackenzie County and those who also appreciate the value of the collie dog, without the help of which the grazing of the mountain country would be impossible.

Unveiled on March 7, 1968, by Sir Arthur Espie Porritt, BT, GCMG, KCVO, CBE, Governor General of New Zealand

‘Beannachdan Air Na Cu Caorach’ (which in Gaelic means “blessings on the sheep dogs”).”


Here are a few pictures of the ‘Tekapo Dog Memorial’ which I took on my smartphone during my visit to Lake Tekapo on the 26th of December 2015.

Collie Sheep Dog Statue


‘Friday’  - the sheepdog belonging to Mackenzie, the folk hero who was the first European to find the route into this mountainous Basin – and all sheepdogs are remembered with the phrase “Beannachdan Air na Cu Caorach” (which means “Blessings on the Sheep Dog”) on the monument plaque. 





Different Aspect Views of the Tekapo Sheep Dog Statue 









On the shores of the Turquoise Waters of Lake Tekapo 




Lake Tekapo is a scenic resort with picturesque surroundings and breathtaking views. The air is pure and the sky is clear. For those interested in astronomy, this place has the darkest night skies and observatory open to public. There is plenty to do in the beautiful tranquil environment and good facilities for accommodation and food. Lake Tekapo is conveniently connected  located midway between Christchurch and Queenstown  a 3 hour drive from either place  and is an ideal stopover for all types of tourists  a good honeymoon destination too. On our next visit  we will certainly spend a day or two in Lake Tekapo.

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post

© vikram karve., all rights reserved. 

My Source Blog Post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve URL: http://karvediat.blogspot.com/2016/02/for-dog-lovers-tekapo-dog-memorial.html and also posted in my blog at URLs: http://karvediat.blogspot.com/2021/08/travel-memories-new-zealand-lake-tekapo.html and https://karve.wordpress.com/2016/02/05/memories-of-new-zealand-mackenzie-sheep-dog-memorial-at-lake-tekapo-travelogue/ and https://vikramkarve.medium.com/travel-memories-new-zealand-lake-tekapo-sheep-dog-memorial-b82287051969 etc.

© vikram karve., all rights reserved. 

Friday, January 12, 2024

The Visitor

 Short Fiction by Vikram Karve

________

THE VISITOR

Short Story by Vikram Karve

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Around 4 years ago – in March 2020 – as COVID cases started rising in my neighbourhood – I shut down my consulting room in Mumbai – and I “escaped” to my farmhouse – just a day before lockdown was imposed.

One morning – a man came to see me at my farmhouse.

“Sorry for barging in like this without an appointment – I intentionally didn’t call – because – I felt you may refuse to see me…” he said.

He introduced himself – he was a business tycoon – he gave me his business card.

“How did you manage to come here…?” I asked him, “there is a lockdown…”

“I managed an e-pass…” he said.

_________

(Well – for the “rich and famous” – normal rules don’t apply – and after reading his business card – it was evident that he was quite an influential man)

_________

Then – he looked at me and spoke.

“I heard that you are “No.1” in your field – I desperately wanted to consult with you – so I have come…” he said.

 “There was no need to come all the way here – I am doing online consultations…” I said to him.

“I know – but this issue is sensitive – so – I wanted to discuss with you in person…” he said, “I will pay you whatever fees you want for your time…”

“Let’s go and sit outside on the lawns…” I said, “in these COVID days – it is better to talk in the open air – and we can maintain social distance – remove our masks – and talk freely…”

________

We sat down on the garden chairs on the lawn – with a table in between – quite a distance between us.

I removed my mask and I looked at him.

“Okay – tell me about your problem…” I said to him.

I started “audio record” on my smartphone – and kept my smartphone on the table in between us.

“Are you recording the conversation…?” he asked me.

“Yes…” I said, “it will help me later to analyse and make my notes…”

“Please don’t record our conversation…” he said, “I want it to be totally private…”

“Okay…” I said – and – I picked up the smartphone – I switched it off – and I kept it in my pocket.

“I have switched off my smartphone…” I said to him, “now you can speak freely…”

“My wife wants a divorce…” he said – coming to the point immediately.

“On what grounds…?” I asked him.

“She says that I am impotent…” he said.

“Are you…?” I asked him, “You’ve never had sex…?”

“Of course – I have had sex – in fact – I have had regular sex with my wife for the last 3 years since we got married…” he said.

“Then clearly – you are not impotent…” I said, “if you want – I will talk to your wife…”

“No. No. It’s not that – she says that I am the reason that we can’t have children…” the man said.

“Oh – so your wife is saying that you are sterile…” I said, “doesn’t she know the difference between impotence and infertility…?”

“I don’t know…” he said, “she wants me to get myself tested…”

“It is very simple…” I said, “you can get a sperm count test done – a semen analysis…”

“No – I don’t want to do it…” he said.

“You don’t want to get yourself tested…? Why…?” I asked him – curious.

“I am scared that the tests may come true…” he said.

“You are scared that the tests may come true…? Do you fear that you are infertile…?” I said to him.

“Yes…” he said – matter-of-factly.

“You must get rid of your fears – get the fertility tests done…” I said to him.

“No…” he said, “suppose the tests say that I am infertile – that I am sterile and can’t produce a child – it will be a humiliating “loss of face” for me…”

“Loss of face…?” I said – taken aback.

“Yes. We come from a business community – mine is a business marriage – I must be able to produce an heir…” he said – looking anxious.

“Wait…” I interrupted him, “what makes you think that it is you who is infertile – what about your wife – has she done fertility tests…?”

“She says that we should do the tests together…” he said.

“And – you don’t want to do the tests together because you feel nervous – that the tests would show that it is you who is sterile…” I said to him.

“Yes…” he said – with a nervous expression on his face.

“Why are you so worried…? It is not your fault if your sperm count happens to be low. There is no stigma attached to infertility nowadays…” I said to him.

“You don’t know my wife – she will publicly humiliate me – and – as I have already told you – she will divorce me – and her family – they will spread all sorts of rumours – and they will demand all sorts of things – I will be ruined – everyone will know that I am impotent and infertile – not “man enough” – and my reputation would be totally tarnished in my community…” he said – looking nervous and distressed.

“Okay…” I said in a consoling tone, “I can empathise with you – I will schedule a private test for you – let’s see the results – then we will decide what to do…”

“Test…? Here…?” he looked at me apprehensively.

“Not here – we will do the tests in Mumbai – but you don’t worry – I will be very discreet – your identity will be confidential and no one will know…” I said to him.

“Okay…” he said, “don’t call on the numbers on my card – I will give you my private number – we can connect via WhatsApp…” he said to me.

He gave me his private number – and – we connected on WhatsApp.

I walked with the man to his SUV parked on the road outside my farmhouse.

He smiled a goodbye to me – he got inside his SUV – and – he drove away.

__________

I noticed that my neighbour was observing us – she was standing a few feet away on the road with her small daughter – a cute girl – around 6 or 7 years old.

My neighbour waved to me – and – she started walking towards me – with her daughter in tow.

I looked at the woman – she looked so chic – blue jeans, bright red tucked-in T-Shirt, fair creamy flawless complexion, jet black hair neatly tied in a bun – and – dark Ray-Ban sunglasses of the latest style.

She was a good-looking woman with smart feminine features – elegant – fashionable – chic – graceful – well-groomed.

She was “Kiwi-Indian” – an Indian settled in New Zealand.

She had come on a vacation to India with her daughter – to meet people – and now – she was stuck here – as all international flights were cancelled due to COVID Lockdown.

Instead of living with relatives in the city – she had come to live in the neighbouring farmhouse – which belonged to one of her friends.

Life was much better out here in the countryside – than in the crowded city – where you had to live cooped up in your house with all sorts of lockdown curfews and restrictions – living in fear – with “COVID Phobia” – whereas here – in the farmhouse expanse – it was much healthier and safer – and you could move around quite freely in the fresh air and natural environment.

Due to COVID social distancing – we hadn’t talked much – just a “hail-fellow-well-met” type of friendship – and a bit of “small talk”.

She smiled at me and spoke.

“You had a visitor…” she said to me – matter-of-factly.

“Yes…” I said to her.

“That man who visited you – is his name Avinash…?” she asked me.

I was quite surprised by her question – so – I just looked at her in silence curious – wondering what to say – but before I could speak – she interrupted me.

“Please don’t get me wrong…” she said in a beseeching voice, “I was totally surprised to see him here – luckily – he didn’t see me…”

“Do you know him…?” I asked her.

“Yes – once upon a time – I knew him very well – he is the father of my daughter…” she said to me – looking into my eyes.

And then – she glanced at her cute daughter.

________ 

VIKRAM KARVE

Copyright © Vikram Karve 
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Disclaimer:
1. This story is a fictional spoof, satire, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh. 
2. This story is a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
3. E&OE

Copyright Notice:
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.
Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved)
     
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
________

Friday, September 8, 2023

New Zealand Memories — War Memorials and Military Museums

NEW ZEALAND MEMORIES BY VIKRAM KARVE

WAR MEMORIALS and MUSEUM

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PART 1 
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WAR MEMORIALS
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We (my wife and I) visited New Zealand for the first time 8 years ago in the year 2015. 

After two long flights by Korean Air – the first from Mumbai to Incheon (Seoul) of around 9 hours duration – then – a wait at Incheon Airport for 5 hours – followed by the Incheon to Auckland flight of almost 12 hours – we landed at Auckland International Airport New Zealand at 0800 Hrs (8 AM) local time on the 23rd of December 2015 – where our daughter was waiting for us with a friend who had brought his car along.

Since our Hotel ‘check-in’ was as 1400 Hrs (2 PM) – we decided to drive around Auckland and see the sights.

I fell in love with Auckland immediately.

From the aircraft we had seen sailboats below in the harbor – and we drove past these too – no wonder Auckland is called “city of sails”.

The city was very clean – the air was pure – the traffic very disciplined – and the people very courteous – and it was a pleasure to drive around and visit various places – an uplifting experience driving on the superb roads, winding their way in the hilly terrain amidst on the picturesque scenery.

Our magnanimous “host” took us on a drive through Auckland – and then we visited Mission Bay Beach – where we walked on the beach in the warm sun.

Then we drove down to St Heliers which has a magnificent Seafront and breathtaking Beach amidst green foliage.

Here  while walking at St. Heliers  by pure chance – I discovered the Achilles Memorial at Achilles Point commemorating the victory of HMS Achilles in the Battle of River Plate in World War 2. 

I was familiar with this warship – since – HMS Achilles was later transferred to the Indian Navy and commissioned as INS Delhi.

I discovered this “war memorial” by sheer chance – even our “host” who was driving us around did not know about it – and he had brought us here – since this was a scenic seaside spot and beach.

Achilles was originally built for the Royal Navy, and was commissioned as HMS Achilles on 10 October 1933. She would serve with the Royal Navy's New Zealand Division from 31 March 1937 onwards. Approximately 60 per cent of her crew was from New Zealand.

The Achilles Point Memorial commemorates the gallant performance of New Zealand Navy Sailors (and the supreme sacrifice of 4 martyrs) on HMS Achilles in the Battle of the River Plate in 1939 and in the South Atlantic in World War 2.

Later, after the creation of the Royal New Zealand Navy, HMS Achilles was transferred to the Royal New Zealand Navy in September 1941 and recommissioned HMNZS Achilles.

HMNZS Achilles was returned to the Royal Navy at the end of the Second World War.

In 1948 – HMS Achilles was sold to the Royal Indian Navy and recommissioned as HMIS Delhi.

In 1950 – the warship was renamed INS Delhi and remained in service until decommissioned on 30 June 1978. Most senior citizen Indian Navy Veterans (including those of my vintage) must have seen INS Delhi in service.

On 16 January 1940, in order to recognize and honour the role the New Zealand Crewed Ship HMS Achilles had played in the Battle of the River Plate, the first major naval battle of World War 2, which lead to the defeat of the German Cruiser Graf Spee, the Auckland City Council resolved to name the tip of the headland on the western side of the Tamaki River as Achilles Point

This vantage point enjoys commanding views of the Pacific Ocean over the Hauraki Gulf – and of Auckland City too.

On 13 December 1940 – a memorial was built at Achilles Point to commemorate the victory of HMS Achilles. Its structure took the form of a ship’s bow. The Achilles Point memorial plaque has the inscription:

“This Reserve is dedicated to commemorate the gallant performance of HMS Achilles and the bravery of her Captain, Officers and Ship's Company in the victorious naval battle fought in the South Atlantic off the River Plate on December 13th 1939...”

There is also a plaque in remembrance of the four Naval Ratings (Sailors) who sacrificed their lives during the Battle of the River Plate.

Here are a few pictures of the Achilles Memorial which I clicked on the 23rd of December 2015. 

ACHILLES POINT ST. HELIERS AUCKLAND

Achilles Memorial

Commemorative Plaque - Achilles Point

Inscription

Remembrance

Achilles Ship's Crest

Engraving HMS Achilles

Sea View From Memorial

View of Memorial with Pacific Ocean in Background

Achilles Point Commemorative Plaque

Parnell Rose Gardens Auckland

Next morning – we went on a morning walk from our hotel to the nearby Parnell Rose Gardens (Dove Myer Robinson Park) – and – we came across two war memorials in the garden.

Korean War Memorial

Inscription

Netherlands Memorial

Simple Monument in Tranquil Surroundings


NEWMARKET AUCKLAND  

In the evening – we walked down to Newmarket – a posh market of Auckland – and – even there – I noticed a memorial in remembrance of soldiers who had laid down their lives for the nation. 

Newmarket Memorial




PAPANUI GARDEN CHRISTCHURCH 

On the 25th of December 2015 – we flew down to Christchurch – and – on an evening stroll in Papanui – where our hotel was located – I discovered a memorial in the neighbourhood garden.

Papanui War Memorial Monument
Plaque

As I traveled in New Zealand – I saw that every neighbourhood/borough/village has a garden – and in that garden – there is a sublime war memorial – on which are engraved the names of martyrs from the neighbourhood/borough/village.

These memorials to commemorate the supreme sacrifice of martyrs are simple, sober, solemn and dignified. There is no display of vulgar “jingoism” – and – these elegant unpretentious monuments of remembrance have an ambience of silence, dignity and solemnity about them.


AUCKLAND WAR MEMORIAL MUSEUM

In addition to these Spartan yet Dignified Memorials – I was fortunate to visit the magnificent “Auckland War Memorial Museum”

Completed in 1929 on the highest point on the Auckland Domain – the Auckland War Memorial Museum is an impressive structure – with its imposing neoclassical temple capped with an impressive copper-and-glass dome – dominates the Auckland Domain and is a prominent part of the Auckland skyline – especially when viewed from the Harbour.

After World War 2 – the building was extended to encompass war memorials for the over 4,000 Aucklanders who lost their lives in the Second World War. The semicircular extension at the rear of the building was opened in 1960 to provide space for the “World War 2 Hall of Memories” which now also encompasses the names of those martyred in subsequent conflicts and peacekeeping operations.

I shall write a detailed post on the Auckland War Memorial Museum later in my Blog – with pictures of the war memorial, commemorative halls and military exhibits.

For now – here are two pictures of the Auckland War Memorial Museum. 

Auckland War Memorial Museum
Auckland War Memorial Museum - World War 2 Hall of Memories

Seeing these war memorial monuments had a lasting impression on me – whether small or large in size – each memorial was a sublime epitome of reverence, elegance and dignity.


Food for Thought

With the exception of the early New Zealand Wars (1843–1872) which were fought on New Zealand soil – the other wars in which New Zealanders participated – these wars were fought far away from its shores – South African War, World War 1 and World War 2 – and – even the subsequent UN Peacekeeping Missions in which the New Zealand Defence Forces participated were in distant lands.

For many years now – New Zealand is one of the most peaceful nations in the world.

India’s population is almost 300 times more than New Zealand.

Size-wise  India is 12 times larger than New Zealand.

India has one of the largest Armed Forces in the world  especially the huge Army.

Compared to India – the size of New Zealand’s Armed Forces (Army Navy Air Force) is minuscule.

India has faced many wars and conflicts – and – there is always some Low Intensity Conflict (LIC) due to terrorism/militancy/insurgency going on due to which soldiers are martyred quite frequently.

In contrast – New Zealand is a peaceful country.

If you exclude the early New Zealand Wars, there have hardly been any direct wars on New Zealand territory – however – New Zealand made a significant contribution to Allied Forces in World Wars 1 and 2 and Peacekeeping Operations later by deploying its Armed Forces abroad.

However – one thing is evident: 

New Zealand respects its Martyrs – soldiers, sailors and airmen who laid down their lives fighting under the New Zealand Flag – the 900 War Memorials located throughout the length and breadth of New Zealand – in each neighbourhood, borough, village, town and city – bear testimony to the reverence accorded to the military.

Yes – there are more than 900 War Memorials in New Zealand – meticulously recorded in the New Zealand Memorials Register which has historical information and images and accurate locations with maps for over 900 memorials throughout the country.

There are a few War Memorials in India – including the recently built impressive war memorial in New Delhi. But there are hardly any memorials in villages to commemorate the bravery and sacrifice of our military men in uniform. I feel it would be a noble idea to emulate New Zealand in this regard and we too can have similar simple, sublime and elegant war memorials  in each village  in each locality in every city  engraved with the names of martyrs from that village or locality  as a remembrance to martyred soldiers, sailors and airmen who perform the supreme sacrifice and lay down their lives for the nation.


References: 

'New Zealand Wars memorials', URL: http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/war/new-zealand-wars-memorials, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 20-Dec-2012

'Memorials register', URL: http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/culture/the-memorials-register, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 19-Nov-2013

'NZ memorials register map', URL: http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/map/memorials-register-map, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 20-Dec-2012 

'HMS Achilles memorial, St Heliers', URL: http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/media/photo/hms-achilles-memorial-st-heliers, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 3-Jul-2014

Auckland War Memorial Museum, URL: https://www.aucklandmuseum.com/about-us/history-of-auckland-museum


I have written this travelogue based on my own personal experience during my visit to New Zealand in December 2015/January 2016 – of course – I have referred to References cited above for cross-checking and background information. 

However – all the photographs in the travelogue have been clicked by me on my smartphone. 

________________________

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PART 2 
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AUCKLAND WAR MEMORIAL MUSEUM

Impressive Display of the Military Heritage of New Zealand 
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MUSINGS ON MILITARY MUSEUMS

India’s first Aircraft Carrier INS Vikrant was decommissioned in 1997 – and – as a fitting tribute to the warship’s yeoman’s service to the nation – it was decided to preserve INS Vikrant as a “Museum Ship” based in Mumbai.

Accordingly – INS Vikrant was converted into a Naval Museum Ship IMS (Indian Museum Ship) Vikrant.

The Museum Ship was very well conceived – the Indian Navy put in a lot of effort – and IMS Vikrant had a fascinating display of Naval Artifacts.

This interesting “afloat” Navy Museum had an added novelty of being on a famous ship – and this tribute to Naval Heritage attracted many visitors – despite not being easily accessible due to the security restrictions.

It was proposed to anchor this floating Navy Museum off Mumbai harbour to make it a top attraction to citizens, visitors and tourists.

However – all these noble plans never materialized – and – after a few years – the Navy Museum was dismantled – and the grand old ship INS Vikrant was scrapped.

Sadly – our Politicians and Civilian Citizens do not seem to be interested in preserving our military heritage – despite the fact that – India has fought major wars – and our Military Forces are in a constant state of combat – continuously engaged in counter-insurgency operations and action against militants/terrorists.

In contrast - even a small peaceful country like New Zealand has impressive War Memorials and Military Museums – to commemorate the few wars and peacekeeping missions in which its citizens participated  mostly overseas.

The remarkable Military Museums in New Zealand are prominent landmarks and top attractions – for citizens and visitors.

For example – if you open any visitor guide or tourism brochure – you will see that the magnificent Auckland War Memorial Museum is highlighted as a top sightseeing attraction.

Other Military Museums like the New Zealand Maritime Museum, Torpedo Bay Navy Museum and Aviation Display (at MOTAT) are hyped as “must see” sightseeing attractions in Auckland and figure prominently on all visitor guides and tourist itineraries – and so is the case with the Air Force Museum of New Zealand at Christchurch – and all the other Military Museums at various places in New Zealand.

The general public is well-informed of these Military Museums – and any tourist visiting New Zealand will be made aware and encouraged to visit these museums.

By the way – there are number of good Military Museums in India too – created in a piecemeal manner at various military locations  but – unfortunately – most civilians are not aware of these museums.

For example – let me ask you: “Have you visited Goa?”

If so – you must have visited the excellent beaches and other attractions in Goa.

But – are you aware that there is an impressive Naval Aviation Museum in Goa?

Does this Navy Museum figure prominently in any visitor guide or tourist itinerary?

Similarly – there are Military Museums (created by the Army, Navy and Air Force) at various places in India – in New Delhi, Ahmednagar, Jaisalmer, Port Blair, Pune – and maybe in a few other places – but – is the civilian public aware of these military museums – and are these military museums publicized as top tourist attractions?

Why is it – that there are many Military Museums in India – but most of these are unknown to civilian citizens and not easily accessible to the general public...?

This is just “food for thought” – shouldn’t we be proud of our military heritage as other nations rightly are?


AUCKLAND WAR MEMORIAL MUSEUM

Now – let me tell you a bit about the impressive Auckland War Memorial Museum – a magnificent structure with a superbly commanding presence as it stands tall and mighty atop the Auckland Domain in the heart of Auckland.

Auckland War Memorial Museum, one of New Zealand’s finest heritage buildings, stands on the hill known by Māori as Pukekawa.

The War Memorial Museum has occupied this site since 1929 when subscriptions raised by Aucklanders in remembrance of their war dead (in World War 1) enabled the construction of what is considered one of New Zealand’s best monuments.

After World War 2 – the Museum building was extended to encompass war memorials for the over 4000 Aucklanders who lost their lives in the Second World War – and to accommodate the ever-increasing artifacts in the Museum's collections.

The semicircular extension at the rear of the building was opened in 1960, providing more floor space and the World War 2 Hall of Memories which now also encompasses the names of those lost in subsequent peacekeeping missions and conflicts.


Auckland War Memorial Museum is a sacrosanct monument of remembrance for families and returned service personnel who wish to honor their loved ones and fallen comrades. 

This imposing neoclassical temple, capped with an impressive copper-and-glass dome, dominates the Auckland Domain and is a prominent part of the Auckland skyline, especially when viewed from the harbour.

The Auckland War Memorial Museum features a very interesting, informative and educative display of New Zealand’s heritage.

There a 3 levels:

1. People of the Pacific - which features artifacts and information about the pioneers who explored and settled down in New Zealand.

2. Stories of our Land and Sea - which has fascinating information about the geological origins and natural history of New Zealand before the advent of human settlers.

3. New Zealand War Stories - which is the most impressive section of the museum - comprises a fascinating display of the military heritage of New Zealand and highlights the gallant participation of New Zealanders in wars worldwide through history and their significant contribution to peacekeeping forces throughout the world. The Halls of Memory commemorate the supreme sacrifice of soldiers, sailors and airmen - and bear testimony to the rest respect and admiration the armed forces have in New Zealand.

This museum is so interesting that you must take out an entire day for seeing this impressive museum during your stay in Auckland New Zealand.

Here are a few photos I clicked during my visit to the Auckland War Memorial Museum on 31 December 2015.

Pictures of the Impressive War Museum


Auckland War Memorial Museum - Main (North) Entrance

Auckland War Memorial Museum - South Entrance

World War 1 - Hall of Memories


World War 2 - Hall of Memories

World War 2 - Remembrance Inscriptions and Record of Fallen

HMS Achilles Bell


Spitfire Fighter Aircraft - World War 2


Zero (Japanese) Fighter Aircraft - World War 2



Memorial Hall - World War 2



Navy Artifacts

Maori Wars Artifacts

Above and Below - Random Photos of Displays










View of South Entrance of Museum 

Instrument of Surrender with Japan - End of WW2

I could click very few photos since many displays were quite elaborate with subdued lighting and my smartphone battery ran out – but – I can say that this museum is the most impressive Military Museum I have seen so far. Indeed – the Auckland War Memorial Museum is one of the best museums I have ever visited. 

I hope India emulates New Zealand in this regard to commemorate the bravery and sacrifice of our military men in uniform – and we too create and proudly publicize similar impressive Military Museums in India to showcase our Military Heritage and inspire future generations – and build sublime War Memorials as a remembrance to martyred soldiers, sailors and airmen who perform the supreme sacrifice and lay down their lives for the nation. 

Most importantly – we must make these military museums easily accessible to the public and tourists. 

I have written this travelogue based on my own personal experience during my visit to the Auckland War Memorial Museum New Zealand on 31 December 2015 – and  of course – I have referred to the references cited below for cross-checking and background information. 

References: 


Auckland War Memorial Museum Website at url: https://www.aucklandmuseum.com/about-us/history-of-auckland-museum

However – all the photographs in the travelogue have been clicked by me on my smartphone. 

Dear Reader: Do let me know if you know of any Military Museums and War Memorials – and – hope you enjoyed the virtual tour of the Auckland War Memorial Museum New Zealand.

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I visited a number of Museums and Art Galleries during my New Zealand visits (Pictures in my Social Media Accounts)

These military museums are definitely worth a visit when you visit New Zealand:

New Zealand Maritime Museum Auckland
Torpedo Bay Navy Museum Devonport
MOTAT (Museum of Transport and Technology) Auckland
Air Force Museum Christchurch

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Maritime Museum

Torpedo Bay Navy Museum

MOTAT

Air Force Museum


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VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
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Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

This Blog Post is an updated re-post of my travel blogs posts WAR MEMORIALS IN NEW ZEALAND written by me Vikram Karve on March 6, 2016 and posted by me online earlier in my blog at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.com/2016/03/war-memorials-in-new-zealand.html and AUCKLAND WAR MEMORIAL MUSEUM at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.com/2016/03/auckland-war-memorial-museum-military.html etc.
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
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