Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


Landmark war memorial up for registration

Thursday April 17

MEDIA RELEASE

Landmark war memorial up for registration

The historic value of the earliest known built World War I monument erected in New Zealand is in being assessed by the country’s lead heritage agency.

Heritage New Zealand (formerly the NZ Historic Places Trust) has proposed the First World War Memorial Beacon on Auckland’s waterfront for registration as a Category 2 historic place.

“In light of the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the First World War later this year, the preparation of a registration proposal for the beacon is very timely,” says Heritage New Zealand’s Registration Adviser, Martin Jones.

“It also ties in strongly with this year’s theme of Heritage and Commemoration as part of the International Day for Monuments and Sites on April 18 – a global celebration of heritage organised by ICOMOS [the International Council on Monuments and Sites].”

The beacon memorial is unusual in that it was created at the same time New Zealand troops were fighting in Gallipoli – indeed the red beacon that once stood at the top of the monument was lit for the first time the same week troops were being evacuated off the Dardanelles in December 1915.

The memorial is also rare in that it was erected by an employer – the Auckland Harbour Board – and commemorates not only those who were killed during the war, but all Harbour Board employees who served. As such it is one of very few occupational monuments erected during the First World War.

“As a major port, Auckland had close trade ties with other parts of the British Empire – particularly after the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914, when British cargo was increasingly shipped directly to the city,” says Martin.

“When war broke out, the Auckland Harbour Board promptly donated a considerable sum of money to the Auckland Patriotic Fund. It was also heavily involved in preparations for the conflict providing storage space for cargo on Queen’s Wharf and organising the departure of the troops from the Auckland wharves.”

In September 1914, for example, 2000 troops cheered by large crowds marched through the city to the wharves to board the troop ships.

The port itself was a centre of activity throughout the war years, and from 1917 the wharves were put under military control and manned with armed guards. An examination anchorage off North Head was established, which monitored vessels coming and going from the port.

From late 1915, the beacon memorial was a central part of the waterfront.

“The beacon was one of comparatively few World War I memorials in New Zealand that served a functional purpose,” says Martin.

Originally standing 5.8 metres high with a clear view to the harbour, the monument consisted of steps, a stone obelisk surmounted by decorative ironwork and an electric lamp illuminating a red beacon at the top which served as a navigation aid.

“A newspaper account of the day describes how launches coming into the landings were required to sight the beacon and then align their craft with a white diamond fixed to the Sailor’s Home behind the beacon before ‘running in’,” says Martin.

“The memorial was basically a functioning navigation marker and as such is believed to be unique in New Zealand, and one of only a few built internationally.”

Functionality apart, the symbolism of the light also suggested a beacon of hope, a shining example and safe return home.

As reclamation along the waterfront took place after the war, the beacon became increasingly distant from the sea. Sometime between 1968 and 1973 the memorial was taken from its original site – near where the Copthorne Hotel is today – when the hotel and the Downtown car park were constructed.

Parts of the dismantled memorial were found in Shed 51 on Bledisloe Wharf in 1999 – though the iron railing, orb and wreaths were never recovered. An anonymous Jewish German benefactor who had immigrated to New Zealand prior to the Second World War offered to fund the restoration and reinstallation of the memorial beacon.

In early 2000 the monument was restored with the plaques and new wreaths attached to the Coromandel granite obelisk, and a new stone ball placed on top of the obelisk to replace the original ironwork and lamp.

Today, the monument stands near the entrance of the Viaduct Basin, bearing the names of Harbour Board employees who served overseas, as well as a list of theatres of war and a plaque commemorating the signing of the Versailles peace treaty in 1919.

People are welcome to make submissions on the proposal to register the memorial beacon – contact mjones@heritage.org.nz. Submissions are due by 4pm on May 5.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Pre-Caucus Audio:
David Cunliffe And
The Future Of The
Labour Party

David Cunliffe met with the press today after Saturday’s disappointing election result for The Labour Party.

“We are all deeply concerned by the result of our party vote. I want to be clear that I, as leader, am responsible for that result” Cunliffe said. Although he called the results “deeply disappointing” Cunliffe said “the voters are always right”.

He felt that Labour needed to make improvements and take action: “We don’t need months to get feedback from members of the public, we've had a lot over the past 48 hours”. More>>

Update: After a seven hour caucus meeting David Cunliffe has announced Chris Hipkins and Carmel Sepuloni as new party whips and said the Labour council will hold an independent review into the election result. He did not comment on any leadership vote.

 

Gordon Campbell: On Labour’s Very Bad Year

While Labour leader David Cunliffe still appears to be in denial about the extent of Saturday night’s debacle, there was hardly a single redeeming feature about the election results for the centre-left... More>>

ALSO:

General Election NZ: National Win

Election Night: With almost all votes counted National and John Key have won a third term and are close to being able to govern alone if they so choose. Key has indicated he will still reach out to form a Government with ACT, United Future and Maori Party. More>>

ALSO:

Perfectly-Timed Anniversaries: Suffrage Day Is Last Chance To Enrol

“The last chance to enrol is Friday 19 September. You can’t enrol on election day.” More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On First Time Voting (Greens)

For the last two days, I’ve turned my column over to a couple of guest columnists who are first time voters… Today’s guest columnist is Ana Avia-O’Connor, who will be casting her first time vote on Saturday for the Greens. More>>

ALSO:

Meddling: Aussie Liberals Embroiled In Key Campaign

John Key needs to explain why Australia’s Liberal Party is interfering in New Zealand domestic politics and is encouraging Kiwi voters across the ditch to vote for National just days out from the election, Labour’s campaign spokesperson Annette King says. More>>

ALSO:

SURVEILLANCE:

Election Ad Soundtrack: Rapper Eminem Sues National Party Over Copyright Breach

US rapper Eminem is suing the New Zealand National Party for alleged copyright infringement over unauthorised use of the rapper’s ‘Lose Yourself’ song in an election campaign advertisement. More>>

ALSO:

Big March: Call For An End To Domestic Violence

Hundreds of protesters marched down Lambton Quay to Parliament Monday calling for an end to domestic violence. Wearing white facemasks, waving banners and calling for “safety” for the women and children of New Zealand.. More>>

ALSO:

Pre-Election Chartering: Four New Partnership Schools To Open

Education Minister Hekia Parata today announced the Government has signed contracts to open four new Partnership Schools in 2015. More>>

ALSO:

Werewolf 50 Out Now - The Election Issue: Loss Leaders

Gordon Campbell: A third term requires a mature decision, with eyes wide open. It calls for a conscious vote of confidence… Without trying hard here are about 19 reasons, in no particular order, for not ticking ‘party vote’ National. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news