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Tuesday, 19 March 2019 09:26 am

Finalists for $570,000 memorial ready for exhibition in Wellington

France across the top

Acting Prime Minister Bill English and Her Excellency Florence Jeanblanc-Risler, Ambassador of France lay fern leaves at the tomb of the unknown warrior

In three weeks the public will be able to view the finalists for the $570,000 French memorial to be installed in Wellington.

The Arc of Peace right top

Finalist: L’Arc de Paix – The Arc of Peace by Kingsley Baird, Adam Flowers, Professor Annette Becker, Allen Wihongi and Alistair Cattanach.

The four finalists were chosen from 43 submissions to the architectural competition launched by the French government on Anzac Day this year.

The winner will be commissioned by France to design the memorial to be erected at Pukeahu National War memorial Park at the invitation of the New Zealand Government.

Announcing the shortlist jury member and architect Stuart Gardyne says there is diversity of design solutions reflected in the shortlisted submissions.

“Each one demonstrates a very different and unique approach to remembrance and the memorial typology,” Gardyne says.

The exhibition will be held at the Great War Exhibition in the former Dominion Museum from mid-October to mid-November with specific dates to be confirmed.

The winner will be announced on November 11, Armistice Day.

Speaking at the commemoration of the centenary of the First World War in France on Sunday, Acting Prime Minister Bill English highlighted the significance of the installation.

“The memorial is a gift from France to NZ to celebrate and bear testimony to the long-lasting friendship and the strong bonds forged between both countries since that First World War.”

Les Fleurs Sauvages right top

Finalist: Les Fleurs Sauvages by Richard Ainsworth, Amanda Bulman, Nick Denton, Hamish Moorhead, Jake Yocum and Nicolas Zillio.

Despite the weather, 200 Wellingtonians attended the ceremony held in the Hall of Memories.

Dignitaries included Her Excellency Florence Jeanblanc-Risler, Ambassador of France, Rear Admiral David Lesson ONZM (Rtd), chair of the National War Memorial Advisory Council and Deputy Mayor Justin Lester.

In his prologue to the event David Lesson, painted a stark picture of the reality of this war.

“One hundred years ago last Thursday New Zealand division had its first encounter with what has been described as the slow slaughtering process when they rushed the first yards in the first battle of Somme.”

Quarry of Memory right top

Finalist: Carrière de mémoire – Quarry of Memory by Andrew Sexton Architecture.

Over 12,000 New Zealanders died in France and Belgium between 1916 and 1919.

Organisers made the call for the wet weather option two hours before the event was due to commence.

Senior communications advisor for WW100, Clare Fraser, said they had put together 500 of the information packs in preparation for the crowd expected but could only seat 200 in the Hall of Memories.

The France in the Park afternoon of outdoor activities was also cancelled and limited to a series of short historical presentations in the Pukeahu Education Centre.

Le Calligramme right top

Finalist: Le Calligramme by Patterson Associates with Paul Baragwanath.

Speakers included Ian McGibbon on New Zealand’s war in France, Pascal Sirguey on a digital record of the tunnels of Arras, France and a student collaboration between Villers-Cotterets school and Wellington Boys College.

Alison Parr, the historian who escorted the unknown warrior from France to New Zealand in 2004 opened the speaker’s programme.

“It was such an extraordinary privilege to be in the small group to accompany our Soldier home. The experience has to be one of the most memorable and moving of my life,” she told organisers.

More information about the First World War Centenary can be found here.


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