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Rangimārie - A New Zealand Garden for Peace in Le Quesnoy, France
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Rangimārie A New Zealand Garden For Peace In Le Quesnoy, France
Project 2018-08-08 21:17:49 +1200
Thank you so much for the amazing support! It's getting close! For this garden to be fully funded we need the pledges to get to $22,000, please keep giving, every little bit is greatly appreciated!
We have been commissioned to build a garden for peace as part of the 100 year commemoration of World War 1 in a small village in the north of France named Le Quesnoy, which NZ soldiers freed from German occupation on the 4th November 1918. Le Quesnoy will also be the site of the New Zealand War Memorial Museum acknowledging our role in WW1.
The New Zealand soldiers captured the town by climbing the walls with ladders, many NZ soldiers were killed. The north of France lost many historic towns and sites during WW1 so the decision of NZ soldiers to go in with ladders means that the citadel of Le Quesnoy is one of the few villages that survived bombardment.
A New Zealand Solider standing on top of the walls of Le Quesnoy, taken after the battle when the town had been libertated.
Ever since, the town has maintained a strong affinity with New Zealand. The invitation to create a significant garden which looks forward in peace allows us to acknowledge this important milestone after the residents of Le Quesnoy have cared for our ancestors as their own for the last one hundred years. It is our opportunity to return back a koha which will never be and never need be repaid; such is friendship.
A view overlooking the site of our garden, currently meadow some of which will be kept as part of the
concept of respect for this place.
Our team will be travelling to Le Quesnoy in September to build and plant the Rangimārie garden, which will have its official opening ceremony on 3rd November, the eve of the 100 year anniversary of the liberation.
Who are we...
Our team is a collaboration between Xanthe White Design Studio and Uru Whakaaro Ltd; together we bring a wealth of experience working on a wide range of landscape, social and ecological projects both in NZ and abroad.
We believe the way to acknowledge the story of our men and the town Le Quesnoy is to create a space that unites our cultures and allows visitors to be transported from France into a space that reflects our home and offers an opportunity for meditation to visitors now and into the future.
The key theme of Peace will be expressed through the Māori concept of Rangimārie. For Māori, Rangimārie is the space of calm within which we can walk with our tūpuna (ancestors). This exists in the hours before dawn as well as having a relationship between wai (water) and the whare tangata (womb).
As the people of Le Quesnoy have looked after our tūpuna (ancestors) for 100 years the concept of the garden is to create a place of Rangimārie or calm where we can find the space to walk with our ancestors. While the memorial and the museum tell their stories and remember their names, to walk with them again we need to be able to leave the raru (conflict) and noise of this world and enter a state of calm and quiet reflection.
How you can help...
The garden is being funded by the French government, the Region Haut-de-France, New Zealand/France friendship Fund and the support of the City of Le Quesnoy through an organisation called Art & Jardins Hauts-de-France, but the funding is a small commission for a large site and so we are trying to raise enough money to have seating in the garden and to be able to extend the planting to occupy the whole site. We thought it would be wonderful for New Zealanders to continue our circle of koha to give something from us to the garden to make it a special place for the town of Le Quesnoy but also a special place for the New Zealanders that visit every year to remember their ancestors.
Any funds raised beyond that spent on the garden we would like to put towards setting up a reforestation trust in Le Quesnoy. Not only did France loose many historic sites during WW1, it lost almost all of its forest, the trees were cut down and the whole landscape became nothing but mud, so if we’re able to raise money beyond the seats we want to put it towards the formation of a trust to assist the North of France in re-establishing a reforestation programme working with community groups and community nurseries kiwi style so that in another 100 years the friendship that started in Le Quesnoy can grow to give back to France something that they have lost which is something that we value the most.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like more information
(+64) 09 3007135 [email protected]
The People Behind Rangimārie - A New Zealand Garden for Peace in Le Quesnoy, France
02/11/2018 at 9:37 PM
Kia ora koutou,
It has been a while since our last update and so much has happened! We finished planting the garden in the most beautiful, sunny autumn weather and said good bye to our new friends in Le Quesnoy. It felt so strange to leave and we can't wait to go back to see the garden when it has grown! We decided late summer would be best when all the raspberries are ripe but shhh don't tell anyone ;)
On our last day we received the most amazing news that the NZ embassy would be gifting the money we needed to have 4 beautiful timber seats carved for the garden by artist Tui Hobson. Tui flew out the week we all arrived back and she is currently in Le Quesnoy where she has finished carving the seats ready for the offical opening tomorrow (3rd Nov). Xanthe is on her way and will be there when the garden is opened by the governor general. We can't wait to see photos of the seats!
We thought we would share with you the final design statement for the Rangimārie Garden as a last thank you to all of you who helped make this garden...
Rangimārie – A New Zealand Garden for Peace in Le Quesnoy October 2018
Xanthe White Design x Uru Whakaaro
The concept of the garden first developed from the place of Rangimārie (Peace) which is to be found in the early hours, in the last wedge of night before dawn. This is the space where the worlds of our tīpuna and our present selves are open to each other. This is the place where we believe our garden meets those who were left behind, and in the garden we return to be present with them in this time.
As our thinking for the garden started, the ideas evolved to consider the place itself and our role as guests entering this space. As we explored the concept of peace, we considered how we as visitors enter into and work within the space of those who are hosting us.
Our thoughts focused around how we show respect to what is there, what we might bring as our gifts and how we create a space that pulls people together, like the connection between worlds.
These are the three key elements that formed the design.
The islands of meadow hold and protect what was on the site when we arrived. This recognises the life that was present when we first visited the site, from the tall grasses that sang in the summer breeze, the array of insects and frogs that moved around the space, to the soft bed of moss growing at the stems of the plants.
The meadows will be mowed at the end of summer and left to grow tall through the spring.
He kete koha (Basket of gifts)
In response to the invitation by our French friends to occupy the space, we do not leave it all unchanged, and we bring with us a basket of gifts. When we come as manuhiri (guests) it is our tradition that we bring with us a koha (gift) as an expression of deep gratitude and affection, so we fill the garden with plants. Our taonga (treasure) plants for weaving and medicine such as harakeke, plants for their beauty and the changing seasons, for dyes, for scent, and for food. These plants we bring in drifts of red wrapping around the walls, encasing the meadow as once a field of poppies touched the hearts of our tīpuna, we bring beauty for what beauty heals. With these gardens comes the work and voices of our grandmothers who took many roles through the war. That of medicine and of clothing and feeding those at home and afar, as well as many other roles left vacant as their men fought across the oceans. But as well as food and function, their gardens were essential sources of sustenance and life. They offered a beauty that, with little more than earth and seed, they nurtured to wrap around our homes so that when our men returned they had something left to believe in when
their heads were pounding with the haunting memories of what they had only half lived through; these gardens wrapped around them nurturing what was left. A promise of what can be restored when we rest our knees on the earth, and believe in the rising of the sun and the promise of the first drops of rain.
So when we bring our koha we bring the love of our wāhine back to our men who stayed behind in the soil here. It’s roots will reach down to their fallen tears and unsettled memories and pull the life back into the warmth of the sun. This love will be seen in the gardens as they rise and fall to the seasons; no one is forgotten.
As we struggled with funding for the garden it came to be that all the plants for the garden were in the end funded by the generosity of a crowdfunding campaign donated to by many individual New Zealanders, raising over NZD $16,000. So the koha has become very much what it intended to represent, a gift given from the people of New Zealand to the town of Le Quesnoy.
He awa (the river) - Paths
The flow of water, the source of life, flows and pools through the meadows and through the plantings. These are the paths we walk together wherever we are from. Whatever our memories of this place or another, they pull us back together and give us space to be alone. They are a guide that leads us nowhere but keep us within the arms of our wāhine.
Ki raro he whenua (Beneath the earth)
Within the garden is a time capsule to be opened in 50 years. The box, made by Justin Hurt from black maire and painted panels, contains memories from families of lost New Zealand soldiers, the names of all who supported the garden, those involved in the creation of the garden, thoughts from other designers creating gardens as part of the centenary of Armistice day, our families’ thoughts for the future, and the story of the garden. The paintings by Marc Blake on the panels of the box represent our maunga (mountains) our moana (waters) and our ngahere (forest). These images are of places that remain little changed between our world now and the places our tīpuna would have known and recognised. It is from our maunga that our souls set forth. A map back home, a connection between two worlds such as in the time of rangimārie.
Kia noho tahi (To sit together)
Within the garden are seats carved in wood by Tui Hobson. These were part of the original design of the garden, but as funding was short they were put aside. The New Zealand Embassy then came forward and commissioned the completion of the seats that were carved in the garden after the garden’s completion.
Ngā mihi nui,
Zoe, Xanthe and Charmaine he Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy
Our progress in Les Quesnoy
09/10/2018 at 8:28 AM
Kia ora koutou,
We have made huge progress in the last 2 weeks and now have started planting! It feels so good to get our hands into the soil here and the first plants to arrive and be planted were, quite appropriately, our beautiful harakeke. On the first day of planting we also buried our time capsule in the garden at dawn along with a karakia and waiata to mark the occasion, 99 years and 11 months to the day since the battle of Le Quesnoy took place. We will continue planting this week, only 2000 more plants to go!
When we were finalising the budgets for the garden we realised that the money we raised through Pledgeme from your kind donations is the exact amount that is needed for all of the plants in our garden, truly a very special koha from the people of Aotearoa to the people of Le Quesnoy. Thank you again for your generosity.
Ngā mihi nui,
Zoë, Xanthe and Charmaine
We have arrived!
25/09/2018 at 7:57 AM
We have arrived! A very successful first day on site marking out. Amazing to finally be here.
Tomorrow the excavation for the paths will start : )
1 day to go!
15/09/2018 at 10:05 AM
Kia ora koutou katoa!
Huge gratitude to all of you who have supported this pledgeme campaign for our Rangimārie garden! There is 1 day left! With your help we have reached our goal but every little bit still helps and will go directly into the garden. Please share with your friends and follow the campaign for updates when we arrive on site next weekend to start the build.
Ngā mihi nui, in gratitude and peace,
Xanthe, Zoe and Char
2018-09-16 20:09:14 +1200
2018-09-16 18:08:51 +1200
2018-09-16 14:19:27 +1200
"My Grandfather William Arthur Whitlock lost 2 fingers on his left hand while fighting here. This pledge is for my mother Wendy Doole (nee Whitlock) If possible she would prefer a Pohutakawa as her plant"
2018-09-15 21:23:52 +1200
"To remember the sacrifices of men & women given in a time of war so we may live in a time of Peace. A Garden For Peace the perfect remembrance. Hope all goes well with this great project."
2018-09-15 12:36:13 +1200
"Love from Rosie and Lee x"
2018-09-15 10:37:17 +1200
2018-09-15 10:34:31 +1200
2018-09-15 01:12:38 +1200
"Hello. It’s Toko’s mother. Thank you for accepting my daughter in NZ. She had an awesome time with you and your family. Good luck with your project and Toko will be back to NZ soon!"
2018-09-14 20:40:13 +1200
2018-09-14 19:06:49 +1200
"What a wonderful project! Hope to visit this special place one day. #bucketlist#lovetrees#triptofrance."
2018-09-14 13:39:06 +1200
2018-09-14 13:05:11 +1200
2018-09-13 15:08:03 +1200
"In memory of Grandad."
2018-09-13 00:25:37 +1200
"Cheap with extra 50c. After all it's a donation!"
2018-09-12 19:34:41 +1200
"What a lovely project and you are the perfect team to do it. I really hope we get to see it sometime. Good Luck! Susan and Mike"
2018-09-11 19:23:42 +1200
2018-09-11 11:13:50 +1200
"All the best & looking forward to following the garden's progress on Instagram xx Rach HEDGE"
2018-09-10 20:11:44 +1200
2018-09-10 16:54:37 +1200
2018-09-09 14:54:48 +1200
"To the memory of my uncle Arthur Joe Trotter killed in the battle of Le Quesnoy"
2018-09-08 17:33:48 +1200
"This pledge is being in memory of Thomas William Chitty, my father, who fought at Le Quesnoy and was awarded a military medal for bravery in the field. "
2018-09-08 17:28:11 +1200
"This pledge is being in memory of Thomas William Chitty who fought at Le Quesnoy and was awarded a military medal for bravery in the field. "
2018-09-08 07:15:02 +1200
2018-09-07 09:06:02 +1200
2018-09-07 08:28:01 +1200
"This donation is made on behalf of members of the choir Voix de femmes Wellington NZ"
2018-09-06 15:38:14 +1200
"What a beautiful concept and plan. We will look forward to seeing it in person one day."
2018-09-06 15:22:58 +1200
2018-09-05 14:00:21 +1200
"on behalf of the Eskdale War Memorial Church"
2018-09-04 22:10:39 +1200
"In memory of Charles Carrington Southey, a member of the New Zealand Cyclist Corp, who served in the vicinty in Worl War 1."
2018-09-04 15:02:00 +1200
"I look forward to visiting!"