Education Minister Nikki Kaye and the Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry have announced the winning students who will be flying to Belgium to attend the 100th anniversary commemorations for the Battle of Passchendaele.

The students impressed the judges with their digital creations designed to teach younger students about this important event in New Zealand’s history. 

“All the students should be extremely proud of what they’ve produced,” says Ms Kaye.

“The feedback from the judges was outstanding, with one reporting that the entries reduced him to tears with the students’ understanding of what they had learnt from Passchendaele.”

The winning entries came from St Paul’s Collegiate in Hamilton, St Margaret’s College in Christchurch and Rotorua Girls’ High School. The students created websites encompassing a range of digital resources including an interactive map of the battlefield, social media profiles and provocative questions.

“This competition is a great example of how digital technologies can help inspire our students to learn about different areas of curriculum.

“What these students have produced gives us a glimpse of what they are capable of and gives me real confidence that young New Zealanders are well on track to be successful in this fast-evolving digital world.”

The competition, to raise awareness of the Battle through digital technologies asked entrants to develop a curriculum resource to be used for Year 7 to 10 students in the future.

“It is important for us to learn from the past and through this opportunity the students will be able to share what they’ve learned with others,” says Ms Barry.

This competition has been an amazing opportunity for them to learn more about the Battle of Passchendaele and reflect on the sacrifices made by our ancestors.”

The competition was launched by the Ministry of Education in May, in partnership with the sponsors, Fields of Remembrance Trust and the Passchendaele Society.

“Students were asked to think about ways to use digital technologies to connect historical events with our modern digital world to enrich student learning,” says Ms Kaye.

“It was great to see students thinking creatively to find innovative ways to incorporate the various technologies now available to them, to tell the story of the Battle to fellow students and to a wider global audience.

“I look forward to seeing more of this way of working once the Digital Technologies | Hangarau Matihiko is incorporated into The New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa from 2018.”

The winners will travel to Belgium on 7 October 2017 to attend the National Commemoration Service at the Tyne Cot Cemetery near Zonnebeke in West Flanders.  

“Tyne Cot Cemetery is the largest Commonwealth War Grave Cemetery in the world,” says Ms Barry.

“It is also the final resting place of 520 New Zealanders and a memorial to those missing in battle. They will also attend the New Zealand Memorial and Garden Opening on 12 October 2017. I planted a flax to begin construction of the garden in September 2015.”

As well as the commemoration, the students will visit the Passchendaele Battlefields and surrounding areas and the Flanders Fields Museum, and will visit Paris and Amsterdam, where they will visit Anne Frank house before returning to New Zealand

“This will be the trip of a lifetime for the students,” says Ms Barry.

“It will be an invaluable educational experience as they retrace the steps of those who fought in WW1 in Passchendaele and Flanders Field.”


Further details of the winning entries:

Rotorua Girls’ High School, Rotorua

Alyssa Mae Pineda, Kayla Kautai, Mairaatea Mohi, Atawhai Ngatai and Keighley Jones

The students created a scrolling menu of pages on their website called The Missed that detailed different aspects of the battle, a quiz to test learning and material in te reo Maori. The website impressed the judges because it enables students to think critically about the Battle of Passchendaele.


St Margaret’s College, Christchurch

Alexandra Lay

The judges were impressed with the digital map that navigated users through this website. It provided a coordinated story of the Battle of Passchendaele with provocative questions, a brilliant German photo album and some great quotes providing a New Zealand context.


St Paul’s Collegiate, Hamilton

Dylan Woodhouse, Tony Wu, Lucy Tustin and Conor Horrigan

The students created a website called Blood and Mud which had interactive activities and strong links to the curriculum. The judges were impressed by the use of social media, community engagement and provocative questions. They applauded the website’s ability to address diversity, connect the past with present and encourage students in Years 7 to 10 to engage and do their own research.  It had the standout “wow factor”.

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