Mr Coutts speaking at the mayoral reception which was held at the official opening of the exhibition and book launch in Chauny, France. The students then supported him with a Maori song at the end of his speech.
We attended a concert of French music today. The music was of French songs from the First World War and French poems from the First World War that had been set to music. The musicians played a contemporary musical version of these. It was a great concert to attend as it gave us a unique chance to hear this French music.
This evening the Mayor of Chauny held a reception in the town hall. The venue was very beautiful. There were lots of speeches from visiting dignitaries all in The French language. The photo shows the Mayor speaking. Mr Coutts spoke on our behalf (in Maori, French and English, and Mr Gallop translated the English part of the speech. The students supported Mr Coutts' speech by singing a song in Maori after his speech.
Students from Baradene College que for food at the canteen. We enjoyed a special lunch at the School Canteen at Lycée Proffesionnel Jean Mace (ex Guy Lussac). The French students decorated the canteen with banners showing the New Zealand and French flags. Two DJs played music in the canteen. But the highlight was a special meal of special food from Piccardy. It's was very delicious food.
New Zealand and French students read poetry as a way of paying respect to the New Zealand soldiers who died in the Somme. Poems were read in Maori, French and the English language. We then laid a wreath and the New Zealand students sang a song in Maori. It was a great way to end the day and it was good to do this together. The students now understand very well that we both share a history for the First Wirld War.
This afternoon we went on a literary tour of the Somme battlefield. We visited the village of Frise, saw where German and French soldiers had trenches and discovered stories about the war written by the author Blaise Cendrars.
Students from Chauny, France and students from Auckland, New Zealand in a group photo at Vauclair Abby.
This Abby was a Cistercian abbey founded in 1134 by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux. It managed to survive until the French Revolution in 1789, when it was finally demolished and sold as "national property". Its geographical location very near to the Chemin des Dames led to what was left of its buildings being almost totally destroyed in 1917 by direct artillery bombardment during the First World...
The village of Craonne is on the Californie plateau which was the site of bloody fighting on 16 April 1917 during Nivelle's failed 1917 Offensives. It was these disastrous offensives that pushed the French Army over the edge and led to the 1917 Mutiny. The village was immortalised in the song called La Chanson de Craonne (English: The Song of Craonne). This song was sung by the 68 divisions of French soldiers (out of 110 French Army divisions) who mutinied. The song was prohibited in France...