Funding found so Tawa memorial back on track
A Tawa memorial could become a reality in the next 12 months, at a cost of up to $80,000.
It was first mooted in 2008 by Tawa Historical Society, but the global financial crisis put paid to any plans to commemorate the 13 men from the suburb who died in the Boer War (two deaths), World War I (five) and World War II (six).
But, with the observance this year of the centenary of the beginning of World War I, and of the Gallipoli landings next year, the time was right to try again, said historical society chairman Bruce Murray.
‘‘It’s been talked about for some time, but the timing went out the window a bit in 2008 and 2009,’’ he said. ‘‘We’ve received funds from the Tawa Community Grant and Mana Community Grants Foundation, so we’re back on track.’’
The agreed site is at the northern end of Oxford St, adjacent to Grasslees Reserve and close to the RSA.
Murray said the memorial was intended to recognise the 13 for their service both in war and ‘‘ the pursuit of peace’’, so it was not specifically a war memorial.
Plans by architects McKenzie Higham show an enclosing wall, seating, extensive paving and landscaping.
Murray said a large, misshapen casuarina tree could be removed to improve the visual impact on the rest of the reserve.
‘‘We would look to replace it with another tree, but it is something that is being discussed,’’ he said.
It was originally thought, that owing to the $70,000 to $80,000 price tag, the memorial would be built in stages, but Murray said he hoped the project could be completed in the coming months.
The decision would be made by Wellington City Council, he said.
The project was something he could see the community getting behind.
‘‘To my mind, there is good support for it and for the memorial to be seen as a Tawa memorial.
‘‘The support and enthusiasm from the council and Tawa Community Board has been fantastic and we are grateful for that.’’
The chairman of Tawa Community Board, Robert Tredger, said with RSAs around the country in danger of closing, memorials were important to remember those who served their country.
‘‘It fits in nicely with the reserve, a shaded area for reflection.
‘‘There was unanimous support from the board and we would like to see it happen sooner rather than later,’’ he said.