L'ANZAC Day au Quesnoy
France New Zealand Association Board member, Isabel Kerr, joined the ANZAC Day commemorations in Le Quesnoy this year which were held exceptionally on the 23rd April due to the date of the second round of the French presidential elections. This was the first public ceremony in Le Quesnoy to be held in over two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Le Quesnoy, a fortified town in northern France, was liberated by the New Zealand Division during the First World War on the 4th November 1918. Today the town with a population of around 5000 people, pays tribute to those New Zealand soldiers with streets named “Rue de la Nouvelle Zélande”, “Place des All Blacks” and New Zealand and French flags decorating the streets.
The annual procession made up of New Zealanders and locals and attended by New Zealand Ambassador, Caroline Bilkey, Madame Marie-Sophie Lesne, Mayor of Le Quesnoy and Colonel Tian McKinstry, Defence Attaché, joined in paying their respects to the fallen with wreaths laid at the New Zealand Battlefield Memorial near the ramparts and at the French Memorial in the town centre.
Attendees were then invited to the Town Hall for refreshments and to hear a performance of the New Zealand National Anthem performed by local school children in both English and Māori.
An exciting announcement was made during the day that the New Zealand Memorial Museum Trust – Le Quesnoy has entrusted Wētā Workshop to create an immersive experience for visitors to the New Zealand Museum and Visitor Centre in Le Quesnoy which is set to open to the public on ANZAC day in 2023.
40+1 ans de l'Association France Nouvelle-Zélande
On the 13th April 2022, the France New Zealand Association celebrated its 40th (+1) anniversary at the New Zealand Embassy in Paris, an event which had been postponed since 2021 due to the pandemic. The event was a great opportunity for the French-New Zealand community to get together after two years.
France New Zealand Association President, Georgia Aussenac, opened the evening by welcoming all those present and introducing the new New Zealand Ambassador to France, Portugal, Senegal, Monaco and the OECD, Caroline Bilkey, who gave some welcoming remarks.
The evening continued with a recital of French and New Zealand songs composed by Albert Roussel and Anthony Ritchie by French soprano, Anne-Sophie Petit, and flautist, Alexis Kossenko, and a poetry reading by the very first Katherine Mansfield Fellow, Owen Leeming, from his book Latitudes published in 2021.
This was followed by a cocktail and a magnificent cake prepared by the President and Secretary of the Association, Georgia and Clément Aussenac.
Guests received copies of the 40th Anniversary Gazette, published for this special occasion, that recounts the last 40 years of the Association.
For more information about the Gazette, click here.