Plug pulled on New Zealand’s massive Chunuk Bair diorama


Back in 2015 about 100 New Zealand wargamers volunteered to take part in the nation’s official World War One centennial commemoration by participating in a crowd project to paint over 5000 specially sculpted 54mm figures for a massive diorama of the Battle of Chunuk Bair.

The diorama was to be part of Sir Peter Jackson’s The Great War Exhibition in Wellington’s former Dominion Museum. The building was leased until November 2018 from its current owners, Massey University.


Now the time has come for the lease to conclude. Massey University will return to the Dominion Museum building in 2019, so The Great War Exhibition will close shortly after after Armistice Day in November 2018.

I haven’t yet heard what will happen to the diorama or its 5000 painstakingly painted figures. I just hope it will remain intact, and can be housed in a new location. Maybe the National Army Museum at Waiouru might take it?


But if the worst were to happen, and the diorama is broken up (oh, that’s so painful to even contemplate) we must lobby that the 5000 figures themselves are preserved for posterity. You can read all about the sobering experience of painting these figures in this article from Wargames Illustrated.

I’ve got a personal stake, too, in hoping to preserve the special figure that the Perry twins sculpted of me, pointing the way in the below pic!


Anyway, let’s keep our fingers crossed that a new home will be found for the diorama. In the meantime, you’ve got till 2 December to see it in its present location.

If you can’t make it to Wellington before The Great War Exhibition closes, take a look at these amazing photos by Andy Palmer on the Mustering The Troops blog to see what you’ve missed. These are the very best photos that you’ll find anywhere of this diorama, professionally taken just before it was enclosed in glass.


Here are just a few sample pics from the above blog. Click each picture for the full effect, and be prepared to be especially shocked by the last one. Please do go to Dressing The Lines for plenty more of these pictures, along with detailed captions.









6 thoughts on “Plug pulled on New Zealand’s massive Chunuk Bair diorama

  1. I thought for one second you meant it was closing NOW – I have had 2-3 years to get down the WLG to see this and I am still hoping to make it before they close it up – I have been assuming it will remain in place till at leats 1100 hrs on 11 November 2018

  2. A true pity, but I hope at least the Diorama can be moved or stored. The army museum would be a fitting place, but often dioramas are not seen as museum objects in their own right.

I hope I've given you something to think about - please do leave a comment with your thoughts or reactions.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s