This is a press release that was sent to media on Thursday, 4 February 2016.

Images of the banner and its production have been added, as well as images of the previous night’s protest at the war memorial.

On Thursday 4 February, an art intervention will take place inside Te Papa. An 8 metre square banner will be released from the top of the entrance to Te Papa’s Gallipoli: the scale of our war exhibition.The banner drop is timed to precede the anti-TPPA rally for democracy and sovereignty.

The banner will fall in front of the Gallipoli show signage, and replace the original exhibition title with one that reads “Our Imperial War” under an image of conscientious objector Archibald Baxter.

Since 2014, New Zealand has been commemorating the World War One centenary, with exhibitions and events such as the Gallipoli show at Te Papa.

The designer of the art intervention, Renee Gerlich, states, “The standard line in our commemorations is that New Zealand soldiers fought and died to defend democracy for future generations. The 4th of February TPPA signing is fundamentally anti-democratic, and in breach of both the treaty and human rights law.”

“The TPPA has been made behind closed doors and favours the interests of corporations over the public. The TPPA flies in the face of democratic culture.”

Dr Pala Molisa states, “The signing of the TPPA today punctuates a long series of corporate-driven policy changes that systematically undermine all our foundational democratic institutions.”

Gerlich concludes, “So it gives the lie to this ‘democracy’ line. It is unacceptable for our government and social institutions to be glorifying the deaths of thousands of soldiers for a cause they are at the same time prepared to completely undermine.

This action questions whether our soldiers actually died for democracy. We believe they were unjustly forced into an imperial war. We also believe that this imperialism continues, and that the TPPA is an example of its current form. This is the reality that our social institutions, like Te Papa should be encouraging public dialogue about, rather than exhibiting nationalistic propaganda, which undermines the truth about war.”

Ends.

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Our Imperial War: a more apt title
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The scale of our banner drop preparation
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This soldier is asking, “If we died for democracy, why is New Zealand now being sold?”
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