The Battle of the Bridges is being held in conjunction with the NZ Defence Force on Tuesday 9 April from 10am to approx 2pm in The Square. More than 100 students from six schools in the region will be challenged to build a bridge with support from the School of Military Engineering.
“While there’ll be an engineering challenge for the students, some of the other challenges will be a bit more fun-filled,” says event manager Lou Briggs. “Like soldiers in the battlefields faced environmental challenges, we’ll be literally throwing challenges at the students during their bridge building. It will make it an entertaining spectacle for spectators as well. It’s also a great opportunity for our younger generation to get a taste of defence life.”
Also taking part are Linton Camp firefighters and some members of the New Zealand Army Band.
A similar challenge was held in the city’s showgrounds in 1908, with military engineering volunteers competing for the Scot’s Cup. A replica for the cup is being created for the schools’ challenge.
On Thursday 11 April at 11.30am, Peter Cooke’s book Won by the Spade – How the RNZE Built a Nation is being launched at the Globe Theatre. Outlining the history of Royal New Zealand Engineering Corp, the launch will be supported by a static display of current defence capabilities in the Globe carpark.
Guest speakers at the launch include Mr Cooke, LTCOL Terry McDonald RNZE, Prof Glyn Harper, Professor of War Studies, Massey University and Mayor Grant Smith.
Also on 11 April, author Dr Steven Loveridge will discuss his book, Goodbye to all that? Cultural mobilisation in post-war New Zealand, at the Palmerston North Central Library. Loveridge works from the Stout Research Centre for New Zealand Studies and has researched, lectured and written on numerous aspects of the First World War. He’s currently co-authoring the WW100 Centenary history volume on the New Zealand home front. The event starts at 5.30pm with light refreshments, followed by the presentation at 6pm.
Te Manawa is also currently hosting two military themed exhibitions. Farewell Zealandia and Balls, Bullets and Boots have returned to Palmerston North after touring the country over the past four years.
Farewell Zealandia explores the role music played both as a form of entertainment and as a vehicle for communicating ideas, aspirations and feelings about the war.
Balls, Bullets and Boots takes you from rugby field to battlefield and back and examines the impact of WW1 on New Zealand’s signature sport and its sportspeople. The free interactive exhibition hosts historical objects and multimedia displays, taking you to locations at home and abroad.