Memorial gets a green light for upgrade
The peace memorial on Te Rauparaha Park in Porirua will be upgraded, with a price tag of $517,000.
The enhancement could include two new statues, of a soldier on one side of the memorial and a woman and children on the other, plaques to commemorate fallen soldiers, and seating.
The high cost is being justified due to the memorial’s high-profile spot in the city, which currently ‘‘lacks a significant presence’’ about it, according to a report presented to Porirua City councillors on Thursday morning.
‘‘As the city’s most prominent memorial, the work needs to be of a high quality to reflect the significance of this space in its role of commemoration in Porirua,’’ the report states.
Greater emphasis on New Zealand’s role in wars in school curricula and increasingly strong turnouts to Anzac Day ceremonies meant there was a need for an improved memorial, the report concludes.
The $517,000 will be spread over two years and come from the council’s $21 miilion budget for the city centre revitalisation programme.
A concept plan was developed by landscape architects Isthmus Group, in discussion with members of the Porirua War Memorial Project Team, that included war historian Allan Dodson, Porirua RSA’s John Hannan and retired Brigadier Roger Mortlock.
It is hoped to finish the construction before Land Wars commemorations in October.
Mortlock told councillors at Thursday’s City Delivery committee meeting that ‘‘intense research’’ had been carried out to discover the names of the servicemen and servicewomen from the district that had served in wars.
These would be included on plaques.
‘‘As an old soldier, I’m disturbed when we have gatherings for Anzac Day and people say ‘we will remember them’, when we have no idea who we are remembering,’’ Mortlock said.
‘‘That’s distasteful and we can do better.
‘‘A new memorial would be a sparkling addition to the city.’’
Porirua RSA president Roger Kingsford said Tawa had a new memorial on the way and Wellington’s was spectacular, ‘‘so we shouldn’t be left behind’’.
The RSA are halfway towards raising $64,000 to help fund it.