France Trip - Revisiting Pages of History

  • Dates: 14 Apr – 04 May, 2016
Revisiting pages of history
By: FARIDA MASTER    Wednesday, 06 April 2016


Next week Edgewater College students along with Jessica Mowat, HOD French (left, second row) and Moira Macpherson, deputy principal (right) will be visiting places in France that are of historical significance to New Zealand.
Photo supplied.

The town of Le Quesnoy in France has never forgotten the role New Zealand has played in its history.

Streets like ‘Rue des All Blacks’, and ‘Rue Helen Clark’ immortalise not just our men in black but this country’s first elected female Prime Minister.

Students of Edgewater College will be soon walking down those streets. They will visit Le Quesnoy on Anzac Day, a town liberated by Kiwi soldiers.

Departing on April 14, around 10 students aged 14-17, along with two teachers and a parent, will be travelling to France for 20 days.

Students of Years 10-13 are hoping to attend a special ceremony held at a local primary school that even has a large mural installed with a Maori symbols and design.

Jessica Mowat, head of department, French, who has been working on this project for 16 months.

“I was awarded a Ministry of Education Language Immersion Award and spent 10 months in the north of France helping in English classes at a local high school and doing a bit of French study.”

Based on the relationships built during her time there, she has arranged the trip, with a major focus on places of significance to New Zealand.

“The students will be spending a week with host families and attending the Notre Dame de Grace School in Maubeuge,” she says.

They will also visit Normandy to see Arromanches, one of the D-Day landing beaches – where they built the artificial harbour Bayeux and Mont Saint Michel.

For the uninitiated, Codenamed Operation Overlord, also known as D-Day during World War II, saw around 156,000 American, British and Canadian forces landed on five beaches along a 50-mile stretch of the heavily fortified coast of France's Normandy region.

“The trip of a lifetime includes a visit to the town of Arras which has an extensive network of underground tunnels created by the New Zealand tunnelling company for a strategic attack during the war,” she says.

“A tour at the Carrière de Wellington where the walls are marked with names such as Blenheim and Wellington will be equally fascinating for the students,” she says.

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