Selected students from Lyçée Guy Mollet in Arras and Lycée Pierre Mendès France in Péronnes and the NZ Young Ambassadors representing schools from all over the country will be arriving in Wellington ahead of the day of commemoration on 25 April 2018.
ANZAC day 2018 is a focus for all Young Ambassadors this year, as it commemorates those killed in war as well as honouring returned servicemen and women. Ceremonies are held at war memorials across the country on the day, or in places overseas where New Zealanders gather, and are rich in tradition and ritual.
The French and Kiwi Young Ambassadors will spend a week together over the period, first meeting in Wellington earlier that week. All will be hosted by the Embassy of France in New Zealand and will first meet over afternoon tea followed by a reception.
Together over the duration of their Wellington stay they will visit the Treaty of Waitangi exhibition at the National Library, Te Papa Tongarewa and the Great War Exhibition.
On ANZAC day they will attend the Dawn Ceremony as official guests followed by a meeting with the officials. They will gather for National Service as official guests again, seated behind the diplomatic corps, an opportunity maybe to make it to the small screen as this service is being televised.
Much is being planned in terms of experiencing a true taste of New Zealand while in the capital, including waterfront area discovery and a fish and chips dinner.
The party will then take a bus trip to Waiouru, and after being welcomed by a traditional maori powhiri at National Army Marae, they will visit the National Army Museum.
The day will conclude with a formal dinner in the Army mess and a presentation by the Army Camp Commander.
The trip will take the visitors for a drive over the Desert Road, an emblematic landmark of New Zealand landscape, with plenty of photo opportunities at Te Kooti’s redoubt in particular.
All Young Ambassadors are encouraged and will be given time each day to pause and reflect on their experiences by keeping a journal, that will be published as a blog on this website.
In order to cement further their friendship and relationships the French visitors will be spending the remainder of their first week in New Zealand with their Kiwi counterparts as hosts in their respective families. This will lay an excellent foundation on which to build on between the end of April and early July, date at which the New Zealanders will depart for France as a return visit.
The Young Ambassadors initiative is part of the Shared Histories programme and supported by partners of the French Embassy in New Zealand, and the Mission Centenaire 14-18.