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PM unveils winning tomb design

PM unveils winning tomb design

Prime Minister Helen Clark today unveiled the winning design for the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior at Parliament.

The tomb will be located in front of the National War Memorial in Wellington. The official dedication of the Tomb is scheduled to take place on 11 November, Armistice Day.

“The designs submitted by New Zealand artists and architects were of a high standard, and I thank all who participated,” Helen Clark said.

“The winning design is by well-known New Zealand sculptor, Robert Jahnke. It is striking, memorable and a fitting tribute to New Zealanders who sacrificed their lives in the cause of peace and freedom.

“The Tomb of the Unknown Warrior will enhance the precinct of the National War Memorial which is a significant part of our historic heritage.”

Helen Clark said that the government is working closely with the National War Memorial Advisory Council, the New Zealand Historic Places Trust, the Royal New Zealand Returned Services’ Association, Te Ati Awa (represented by the Wellington Tenths Trust), and the Wellington City Council on plans for the tomb.

Last year agreement was reached with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to repatriate the remains of a New Zealand soldier killed in World War One, to be interred in the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior.

“The tomb will symbolise the 27,000 New Zealanders who are buried in foreign lands as a result of service overseas,” Helen Clark said. “As the soldier’s name, rank, regiment, race, religion and other details are unknown, he will represent all those lost to their families through war.”

Construction of the tomb is scheduled to begin next month.

A New Zealand delegation will travel to France for a ceremony on 2 November to begin the process of repatriating the Unknown Warrior. On return, the Unknown Warrior will lie in State at Parliament to enable New Zealanders to pay their respects.

A State funeral will be held on Armistice Day, 11 November, at Wellington’s Cathedral of Saint Paul. It will be followed by a funeral procession to an interment ceremony at the National War Memorial.

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