Joint show about WW1 'little stories'

Members of the New Caledonian war memorial collaboration (from left),  South Otago Museum curator Gary Ross, New Caledonian historian Stephane Pannoux and Kanak customary senators Paul Jewine, Samuel Goromido, Daniel Nigote, John Trupit and Armand Gorobor
Members of the New Caledonian war memorial collaboration (from left), South Otago Museum curator Gary Ross, New Caledonian historian Stephane Pannoux and Kanak customary senators Paul Jewine, Samuel Goromido, Daniel Nigote, John Trupit and Armand Goroboredjo, attend a new joint exhibition at the Dunedin Railway Station. Photo by Gregor Richardson.
A joint exhibition by the South Otago Museum and a New Caledonian heritage consultancy group is a reflection of the ''little stories'' from World War 1 as it played out in the two Pacific nations, its curators say.

The exhibition ''Never a Week Goes By'' opened at the Dunedin Railway Station on Saturday and will continue this month as part of the World War 1 centenary.

New Caledonian Stephane Pannoux, a historian with the heritage consultancy group Association In Memoriam, said the exhibition showed the impact of war through two parallel histories, New Caledonia's and New Zealand's, and its aftermath for the countries' respective indigenous cultures.

''If you are native, you don't have the same status for the people ... You are not in the same battalion, you don't fight in the same place, but for all of them, it is the same war,'' she said.

When people spoke about World War 1, they spoke about Europe not New Caledonia.

''What happened in New Caledonia is so little,'' she said.

''When you look at how many people have gone to fight, it's not many, but it is important for the people of New Caledonia. It deepens the view.''

''Never a Week Goes By'' offered the big picture, but also the little stories. It was a challenge to create an exhibition in two different countries and languages - French and English.

''It's quite new. It is difficult to make a picture because we do not have the same language, but we do not have the same way to make an exhibition as well,'' she said.

South Otago Museum curator, and curator for the New Zealand half of the exhibition, Gary Ross, said both teams had been working on getting the exhibition together for five years.

After Dunedin, the exhibition would spend a month in Balclutha before touring New Zealand for the centenary and then it would go to New Caledonia, he said.

John Trupit, who travelled to New Zealand with members of the New Caledonian Kanak customary senate for the opening of the exhibition, said the visit to New Zealand also allowed for an opening of dialogue between Maori and Kanak in the future.

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