October 8, 2018
Issue 12 2018

Students have a once in a lifetime chance to experience WWI

As visitors weave through dark, claustrophobic tunnels as part of The Great War Exhibition’s newest experience, they will smell the stench of dirty socks, rotting bodies and gunpowder.

The Quinn’s Post Trenches experience opened in April and offers visitors a unique opportunity to see, hear and even smell what it was like to be a soldier in Gallipoli’s trenches.

Massey students now have a once in a lifetime opportunity to volunteer, guiding visitors through the state-of-the-art experience.  

In December, Peter Jackson’s exhibition will close its doors after Massey University announced it would reclaim the Museum Building which house’s the exhibition, for its College of Create Arts.

The charitable trust, which runs the exhibition, is now calling on the public to help support them over the coming months.

Quinn’s Post was one of the most dangerous places in Gallipoli during World War I, with Turkish trenches only metres away.

However, it became a stronghold under the guidance of Lieutenant Colonel William Malone, the commander of the Wellington Battalion, where New Zealand soldiers spent nine months living in rough conditions.

As part of the experience an old Victorian theatrical trick called Pepper’s Ghost - an optical illusion that uses glass to project images - works together with sophisticated technology that replicates the trenches, dugouts and tunnels, with living, talking, ghost soldiers.

These soldiers explain their experiences and guide the audience through the trenches, as if they were there.

More than 50 speakers and 38 amplifiers are located throughout the trenches to ensure that visitors feel completely immersed in the environment.

Visitors even have the opportunity to smell what it would have been like to live in trenches thanks to advanced technology.

HR, Health and Safety Manager Giuliano Serrao says there are 15 vacancies for volunteers and they need students to who are eager to offer up a few hours of their time each week.

“It’s a chance to gain some work experience, it’s quite an enjoyable environment. We are all movie and history nerds here… it’s all bombs and battles.”

He said it could appeal to all students, not just for those with a background in history.

“It’s a privilege [to work here] because it’s such a beautiful exhibition and so well out together and well received. It’s an asset to Wellington and New Zealand”

He enjoys getting students involved, as they bring energy and fun to the exhibition.

“The younger generation is more energetic and I think it’s also nice for our visitors because we cater to an older demographic and they enjoy young people getting involved in this”

Serrao says the Quinn’s Post Trench Experience is proving very popular, with most sessions sold out daily.

Students interested in volunteering can contact Giuliano on giuliano.serrao@greatwarexhibition.nz