National Army Museum, Waiouru, New Zealand : Military History & Army War Museum

Freyberg Gallery

Freyberg Gallery

Balls, Bullets & Boots – from rugby field to battlefield

DSC07159 900x675 Freyberg Gallery

Balls, Bullets & Boots exhibition

Balls, Bullets and Boots – from rugby field to battlefield and back. This interactive multimedia exhibition comes to us from the New Zealand Rugby Museum and looks at the legacy of the First World War, as viewed through the eyes of XV New Zealand rugby players and one woman coach. It features those from every background, those who served and those who stayed behind, those who came back and those who did not return.

50 All Blacks went away to the war, 13 died. No fewer than 728 provincial representatives served, 163 died and by late 1915 (before conscription) it was estimated that 10,000 active club players from throughout New Zealand had volunteered for service.
 
The exhibition explores the impact the hostilities had on New Zealand’s signature sport and its sportspeople. Rugby players during the Great War were often held up by recruiters as heroes, athletes turned soldiers, making noble sacrifices for their country as they traded the cheers of spectators for the roar of artillery fire.
 
Ex- All Black captain, Anton Oliver features as the exhibition’s ‘digital guide’. Oliver is passionate about the need to confront the realities that New Zealand men and women went through during wartime. “I’m interested in this project because it attempts to strip away all of the political, nationalistic rhetoric and describe what really happened to people in the war by telling people’s stories.”
 
The exhibition is on display from 17th December 2015 until 26th February 2016 in both the Thornton and Freyberg galleries.