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Monument on the move for some tender loving care

5 May 2006

Monument on the move for some tender loving care

The dome-shaped Wakefield Memorial next to the Basin Reserve traffic lights will be uplifted next week and trucked away for some tender loving care.

When the restoration work is complete, the memorial will be relocated to a specially landscaped site inside the Prime Finance Basin Reserve at the top of the bank on the eastern side of the cricket ground, close to where it was originally located when it was first erected in the 1880s.

The memorial – constructed in the memory of Colonel William Wakefield who was the leader of the fledgling Wellington settlement in the 1840s – ended up where it is today early last century when the Council moved the fence inwards to widen the streets around the outside.

Preliminary work is due to start over the weekend and on Monday (8 May) contractors will begin disassembling the monument so it can be transported to a Rongotai warehouse where a series of contractors will work on it. The work will be noisy at times.

A crane and two trucks will be used to move the structure on Wednesday evening (10 May), which will mean some disruption around the Basin Reserve from about 7pm. Part of one lane will be out of action while the lift is carried out but drivers will be able to use other lanes.

Landscaping work inside the Prime Finance Basin Reserve is due to begin in the next few weeks and all going well, the restored monument will be in its new position by the end of July.

The Council’s representative on the Basin Reserve Trust, Councillor John Morrison, says the monument was originally an important feature of the cricket ground.

“It is great to think that in a few months time it will be back where it belongs rather than marooned on the side of the city’s biggest and busiest roundabout.”

The monument – thought to be Wellington’s oldest – is listed in the city’s District Plan, has a Category II New Zealand Historic Places Trust listing and is a part of the Basin Reserve Historic Area.

It was prefabricated in England and shipped to Wellington in 1863 but not finally erected until 1882.

Ends

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