The New Zealand government announced today it is supporting the New Zealand Memorial Trust to establish a war memorial museum in Le Quesnoy, France.
Cabinet has agreed to grant overseas donee status to the New Zealand Memorial Trust, marking the centenary of the liberation of Le Quesnoy by New Zealand troops.
The museum will be the first New Zealand war memorial museum in Europe, providing information and learning resources to visitors about New Zealand’s contribution to the First World War, and the sacrifice made by troops in Le Quesnoy in the last week of the war.
“The story of Le Quesnoy is compelling and worthy of remembrance. On 4 November 1918 New Zealand troops liberated the town, capturing 2,000 German soldiers and 90 field guns. While 140 brave soldiers lost their lives, no civilians were killed. It’s an important moment in New Zealand history,” Mr Peters says.
“The First World War saw more than 18,000 New Zealand service men and women lose their lives. This museum is a way to raise awareness of New Zealand’s participation, contribution and sacrifice.”
Revenue Minister Stuart Nash says granting overseas donee status means that anyone giving monetary donations to the Le Quesnoy initiative would be eligible for a tax credit.
“This tax credit will help the fundraising of the Museum project, in remembrance of those brave men who fought so long ago.
“It was the last battle of the New Zealand Division during the First World War and the people of Le Quesnoy have never forgotten that day 100 years ago. We acknowledge the special connection between New Zealanders and the people of Le Quesnoy,” Mr Nash says.
The New Zealand War Memorial Museum project is supported by prominent New Zealanders, including Rt Hon Helen Clark, Rt Hon Lt Gen Sir Jerry Mateparae, Rt Hon Sir Anand Satyanand, Rt Hon Sir Lockwood Smith, Dame Jenny Gibbs and Rt Hon Sir Don McKinnon.
Le Quesnoy is located 90 minutes’ drive from the Somme memorial.
Donee status for the Trust will come into effect from 1 April 2018.