Wellington Scoop

50 tonnes of sandstone arrive on RAAF Globemaster for memorial park

big plane
Photo: Tom Moody

News from NZ Government
A Royal Australian Air Force C17 Globemaster aircraft delivered almost 50 tonnes of sandstone to Wellington today to progress construction of the Australian World War One memorial in Pukeahu National War Memorial Park.

The memorial will feature 15 sandstone columns, symbolic of the country’s Red Centre, surrounded by eucalyptus trees representing the Australian landscape.

Australia’s A$5 million memorial is a reciprocal gesture to the New Zealand memorial built on Anzac Parade in Canberra and is funded by the Australian Government.

The Australian Air Force C17 was due to land at Wellington around 1.35pm.

At the invitation of the Australian Defence Force, Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee and members of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee will visit the aircraft before departing for a return flight to the New Zealand Air Force base at Woodbourne, where they will view the C-130 Hercules restoration programme.

“This is a timely opportunity, and I appreciate the Australian Air Force giving us a chance to learn more about and experience the C17,” Mr Brownlee says.

The Ministry of Defence is in the process of receiving price and availability information on the C17 from the United States Government as part of its long term review of airlift capability.

“Consideration of New Zealand’s continuing engagement in the Antarctic, and our ability to respond to natural disasters and provide humanitarian aid in the Pacific, means options for future airlift capability need to be explored,” Mr Brownlee says.

“The need for replacement airlift capability has been long anticipated and is foreshadowed in the Defence Mid Point Rebalancing Review.

“While there is no commitment to purchase any C17s, it seems sensible to view the Australian aircraft while it is in the capital.

“To experience a potential replacement aircraft first-hand with a cross-party delegation was too useful an opportunity to miss.

“While the C17 may not prove to be the best solution for New Zealand, we owe it to ourselves to look at it seriously while we can,” Mr Brownlee says.