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

'Tea Break Bill' Passes: Gordon Campbell On Bad Labour Laws And Poor Safety

By co-incidence, one of the prime dangers of the government’s new employment relations law has been underlined by the release of the death and injury statistics among workers at New Zealand ports. These are highly profitable enterprises for the port owners.

The Port of Tauranga for instance, is expecting its current full-year profit to be between $78 million and $83 million and other ports are enjoying similar boom times – but they are also highly dangerous places for the people who work on or around the port premises. At the Port of Tauranga, there have been 26 serious accidents since 2011, and two deaths. More>>

 

Parliament Today:

No Charges: Outcome Of Operation Clover Investigation

Police have completed a multi-agency investigation, Operation Clover, into the activities of a group calling themselves “The Roast Busters”. The 12 month enquiry focused on incidents involving allegations of sexual offending against a number of girls in the Waitemata Police district and wider Auckland area... More>>

ALSO:

UNICEF Report: NZ Cautioned On "Stagnating" Child Poverty

An international report by UNICEF has found that child poverty rates in New Zealand have barely changed since 2008, despite similar sized countries significantly reducing child poverty during the recent recession. More>>

ALSO:

Funding Report: Two Pathways For Transport In Auckland

Commissioned by Auckland Council, the group was asked to investigate two possible pathways for raising $300 million per year ($12 billion over 30 years) to pay for the improvements needed to help fix Auckland’s transport system. More>>

ALSO:

Pay Equity: Equal Pay Win In Court Of Appeal

CTU: The Court of Appeal has made a historic decision paving the way for a substantial equal pay claim for aged care workers. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The TPP Finishing Line, And Amazon’s Woes

If the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal wasn’t such a serious matter, this would be pretty funny… More>>

ALSO:

TV3 Video: Three Die On Roads Over Labour Weekend

The official holiday period ended at 6am Tuesday, with three deaths on the roads during the Labour Day weekend. More>>

Employment Relations Bill: Govt Strains To Get Tea Break Law Through

The Government has been left with egg on its face - failing to get its much-vaunted, but hugely unpopular, meal break law passed in the first week of its new term, Labour spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says. More>>

ALSO:

Guns: Police Association Call To Arm Police Full Time

"The new minister gave his view, that Police do not need to be armed, while standing on the forecourt of parliament. The dark irony was that the interview followed immediately after breaking news of a gunman running amok in the Canadian parliament in Ottawa..." More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news