Wellington residents will be aware of the big changes happening down near the New Zealand National War Memorial with the closure and realignment of Buckle St.
This is the first step to building an Australian war memorial to be completed in time for the centenary of Anzac on April 25, 2015. It will be in the precinct being developed by the government as the centrepiece of New Zealand‘s Anzac commemorations.
The memorial is intended to commemorate the shared efforts of the two countries in war and in peace – a relationship born on the battlefields of Gallipoli and in the trenches of France and Belgium during World War I.
The Anzacs have fought alongside each other in almost all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations, from the Boer War through to modern conflicts in Afghanistan.
The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister assisting the Prime Minister on the centenary, Warren Snowdon, recently approved the memorial design submitted by Australian architectural firm Tonkin Zulaikha Greer.
Interpretative material on the columns will address the shared Anzac wartime experience, but the memorial will also commemorate the shared experience of indigenous history, settlement, immigration, culture and other links.
It will comprise 15 columns, each 6m tall and arranged in an open array on a surface of red sandstone and dark grey basalt. The columns form an open backdrop to the ceremonial plaza facing the New Zealand National War Memorial, with its civic steps, a raised tomb and a carillon.
The memorial will be surrounded by eucalypt trees representing the Australian landscape. The architects note it will be a ‘landform’ representing Australia with the columns constructed of rugged red sandstone, instantly recognisable as an image of the country's ‘red centre’, with its weathered gorges and rich colouring.
It will also recall other aspects – the shoreline cliffs, the streets of the city, the ranks of forest trees.
The columns each have an inset panel of reflective inscribed polished black granite.
The architects see the memorial has having two layers of meaning embodied in its design, inseparable from its form and relationship to the setting. Embodied in this is a layer of applied representation, where selected texts and images will convey more direct meanings.
The 15 columns will be each dedicated to concepts or ideas about Australia and New Zealand and the shared experiences, which will also include immigration and colonisation.