WWI memorial back on track
Auckland mayor Phil Goff has stepped in to oversee the construction of a WWI memorial after the project nearly fell over.
The memorial was set to be built in the Auckland Domain in time for the centenary of the end of the Great War in November 2018.
The estimated $3 million memorial was approved in 2015 but was plagued by funding shortfalls, designers walking off the job and changes in design.
Council’s Auckland Domain Committee chaired by councillor Mike Lee was responsible for overseeing the project.
Last month Goff stepped in to take charge after designers walked off the job.
The project was in jeopardy of not being completed because of issues with project governance, Goff said.
At Auckland Council’s governing body meeting on Thursday Goff urged councillors to go back to the original design and asked for a Mayoral Advisory Group to be established.
The design concept dubbed Te Takuahi, or the Hearth, was a collaboration between artist Ross Hemera and New Zealand firm Wraight Athfield Landscape and Architecture.
Lee had led the project since October 2014, and in February 2016 told Stuff the design failed to meet a number of the original brief specifications.
Goff has now taken the project off the Domain Committee.
Lee said it had been a ‘‘very unpleasant experience’’.
‘‘The whole thing is a disgrace really,’’ Lee said.
‘‘The rights of my committee has been trampled on and the rights of Aucklanders to have a say too.’’
The designers walked off the project after the Domain Committee changed the design.
Lee wanted a pathway up a grass hill to create a link within the Auckland War Memorial Museum area.
The committee also wanted the project to be ‘notified’, or open to public submissions.
The original designers were reappointed.
One of the designers Jon Rennie said the team would be interesting in being involved in relation to the original design they submitted.
‘‘We welcome the opportunity to re-commence the design development and delivery of this significant and meaningful project,’’ he said.
The Auckland War Memorial Museum will sit above the proposed WWI memorial.