Report by Peter and Mike Woods
The 9/11 See the Evidence exhibition was brought to the Rotorua Convention Centre on the 6th, 7th and 8th September. This was made possible by the generosity of the Convention Centre management who allowed us to use this wonderful space as they could see this was a not-for-profit exhibition for public good. The exhibition space was by far the best the exhibition has been held in to date, with its high ceilings and plenty of natural light streaming in and free tea and coffee were available.
There was a slight hiccup with a newspaper advert that had been booked in the Rotorua Review that ended up not running. We thought the exhibition was doomed to be a failure as we were relying on that advert to draw people in. Someone must have been looking down on us, because that very day Peter Woods got a call from Classic Hits wanting to do a verbal plug for the exhibition which aired the next day and the Rotorua Daily Post called and held a 15 minute interview from which they wrote a fabulous article which appeared in the newspaper the day before the exhibition opened on September 6th.
With advertising in place and nearly 800 flyers hand delivered throughout the CBD of Rotorua, the turnout at the exhibition over the three days was excellent. We estimate close to 400 people would have viewed the exhibition by the end of the last day. As word spread, people started flocking in, especially on the Sunday, where crowds started to bunch up around certain display panels – but everyone was determined to read every panel, even if they had to wait their turn, because they found the information such an eye-opener.
Out of the 400 or so people that viewed the exhibition, there were very few people that argued with the information. There was only one women who made a few of the typical disparaging comments such as, “Why drag all this up again now?”, “How could you be so disrespectful to the lives lost?”, “I know what I saw on TV and now you are telling us a different story”. There are some people we just cannot convince, even after watching the video of WTC 7, which was not hit by an aeroplane, collapsing at freefall speed.
Some people had some knowledge of the events of 9/11 (other than what our media have told us), but most had never even heard of WTC 7, not even the journalists that turned up from the Rotorua Review! As predicted, no VIPs such as Government MPs or Mayoralties made an appearance, despite having it in their diaries to attend.
We felt that this exhibition had a strong effect on people, as many felt they needed to support us by way of donations. One women made a special trip the next day just to give us $20 and to say thank you, as she had watched the DVD we gave her the day before and was obviously convinced by it.
Young students who attended the exhibition also were moved by what they had just read and seen on the displays and plasma screens. One young man said to us “This makes my blood boil!” A couple of staff from the i-SITE office across the road came over and viewed the exhibition, and it was clear by the expression on their faces they were deeply troubled by the information. They raced back to the i-SITE and told other staff, and a few minutes later they too came to have a look. Passengers waiting for their bus were also sent to see the exhibition by the i-SITE staff.
All in all, the exhibition was a great success, and we are sure it will be the topic of conversation for weeks to come from the people who came along. If anyone in other areas would like to exhibit the work, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org