Wellington Scoop

15 red sandstone columns and eucalypts – Australian contribution to Memorial Park


Press Release – Wellington City Council
The announcement of the design for an Australian sculpture in the National War Memorial Park in Wellington is a significant step forward for the project, said Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown and Deputy Mayor Ian McKinnon.


Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard yesterday revealed details of the design. It features 15 columns made from rugged red sandstone surrounded by eucalypt trees, which will be symbolic of Australia’s ‘Red Centre’ and the Australian landscape. It is designed by Australian architectural firm Tonkin Zulaikha Greer.

“I’d like to thank Prime Minister Gillard and the Australian Government for their outstanding partnership with the New Zealand Government in the creation of Wellington’s Memorial Park,” said Mayor Wade-Brown.


“Memorial Park, Pukeahu, will be a place of remembrance and contemplation, a place to reflect on war and peace, and a place to acknowledge the very special relationship between New Zealand and Australia.”

Deputy Mayor Ian McKinnon said the Capital provides the most appropriate location for what will be New Zealand’s foremost commemorative site.

“Memorial Park being situated in Wellington, the Capital City, really underlines the importance of ties with Australia and our shared history,” said Cr McKinnon. “This is a special asset for our Capital city, particularly with Australia establishing a similar memorial park over there. We take considerable pride in the spirit of friendship that exists between our nations,” he said.

The Council has committed $5 million to the Memorial Park in Wellington. It will be completed in time for the centenary of the Gallipoli in 2015.

In addition, the Council is a key partner with Melbourne’s St Kilda in the establishment of AFL games to be played in Wellington on Anzac Day, which begin this year with a match against the Sydney Swans. A close trade and business relationship between Sydney and Wellington was formalised in 1983.

“Memorial Park and the AFL games on Anzac Day will be a great symbol of the strength of our Trans-Tasman ties,” said the Mayor.

News release from Australian Government
Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced the successful design for the new Australian Memorial in New Zealand by Australian architectural firm Tonkin Zulaikha Greer. The Australian Memorial, a reciprocal gesture to the New Zealand Memorial built on ANZAC Parade in Canberra, will be erected in the New Zealand National War Memorial Park in Wellington.

To be constructed from Australian materials, the Memorial’s main feature will be 15 columns made from rugged red sandstone, symbolic of Australia’s ‘Red Centre’, surrounded by eucalypt trees, representing the Australian landscape.

As well as commemorating our shared Anzac wartime experiences, the Memorial will commemorate the shared Australian and New Zealand experience of indigenous history, settlement, immigration, culture and other links.

The memorial will be funded by the Australian Government. The project budget is AUD$5 million.

In August 2012, the New Zealand Government announced that the State Highway (Buckle St), where it transects the National War Memorial Park, will be put underground so that the National War Memorial and the new Park are joined as one precinct.

The New Zealand Government’s development of the Memorial Park will cost NZ$12 million including a contribution from the Wellington City Council of NZ$5 million. In addition, the State Highway will be put underground at a cost of NZ$70-75 million with work expected to be completed by late 2014. Construction and landscaping of the Memorial Park, including the Australian Memorial will start in late 2014 and be completed in time for the Centenary of Anzac on 25 April 2015.


  1. Red shield, 10. February 2013, 13:07

    Its a hideous design!
    We don’t have to pay for an Aussie war memorial, it’s just a bad taste joke right?
    The Australians use our economy as an all you can eat buffet, so what’s to celebrate in that?
    [The memorial will be funded by the Australian Government. The project budget is $A$5m. The Australian Memorial is a reciprocal gesture to the New Zealand Memorial built on ANZAC Parade in Canberra. – Editor.]

  2. Guy, 10. February 2013, 23:59

    It’s a pity that the first comment on this design had to be by someone opening their mouth without thinking. “it’s a hideous design!” Really?

    Actually, there has been quite a lot of war memorial design in recent years, and the one thing it has shown is that it is harder than it looks. The Aussie practice, actually part Kiwi in origin, has done a good job, much in the manner of the NZ memorial unveiled in London a few years ago. Similar design symbols of upright elements standing at attention in memory of the fallen comrades, actually provide a very moving tribute. The NZ memorial in London is poetic and elegant – something that I think that this memorial will be remembered for as well, in years to come.

    In the past, war memorials were jingoistic, with super-real depictions of live action heroes (think of the memorial at Iwo Jima), or of soldiers with head bowed (think nearly every Boer War memorial in NZ), or militaristic (Saddam Hussein’s giant swords, anyone, or North Korea / Russia / China / Cuba mighty Peasant Power exhortations to fit on till the death). Luckily for us, those times are gone in NZ and a much gentler, more peaceful, more park friendly type of memorial is being explored.

  3. anon, 11. February 2013, 1:23

    ugly, literal and undignified

  4. Red shield, 11. February 2013, 9:48

    @Guy you are free to have your own opinion of the unsightly Australian creation and the memorial tunneling project that has cost NZ, (not Australia), $70m .
    I personally don’t celebrate past wrong actions and lost causes that are still held in higher esteem than human life by war celebrants.
    You are worshiping the seeds of chaos, conflict and destruction.

  5. traveller, 11. February 2013, 9:59

    Such symmetry. It’s now obvious why the politicians were shamed into putting SH1 underground – they couldn’t have accepted the Australians’ gift if it had been separated from the NZ war memorial by a main road. If only they could equally be shamed by the plan to build a flyover next to the Basin Reserve.

  6. Nick, 11. February 2013, 12:41

    Let it go Redshield, I know you’re probably Japanese, but you lost the war more than half a century ago!

  7. Red shield, 11. February 2013, 15:31

    @Nick: I was born in New Zealand and your racism is much like the design – utter ugly outdated nonsense. And if you also think needless killing at a high cost is humanity “winning,” your thinking is deluded.

  8. Guy, 11. February 2013, 20:28

    Wow, red shield, way to go! Totally over the top responses from you! Worshipping the seeds of chaos, conflict and destruction eh? You really need to take a long hot bath, have a little snifter of something tasty, and just relax! Hmmmm. So, just by having the decency to pay respects to those who gave their lives so that you might have liberty and freedom from fascism, I am somehow automatically tarred with the same brush of being a war-crazy, gun-toting, raping and pillaging member of Armageddon? Or could it just be that I think a polite way to pay respect is not to have a motorway running through it?

  9. Trish, 12. February 2013, 21:34

    Brave solders from all countries gave their lives so we would not have to suffer flyovers. Let’s honour them.

  10. The City is Ours Inc., 7. March 2013, 14:43

    Call it the Memorial Peace Park……

  11. Ellen, 4. April 2013, 11:33

    Peace park sounds much better – no cars to blot the scene, but where is the footpath on this busy pedestrian route?