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Mayor says suffragette mural must stay

22 November 2005

Mayor says suffragette mural must stay

Mayor of Auckland City Dick Hubbard says the memorial commemorating one of the most important milestones in New Zealand's history should stay put.

The tiled mural in Khartoum Place marking the suffragette movement was unveiled in 1993 by Irish President Mary Robinson and Govenor General Dame Catherine Tizard in Auckland's CBD.

As part of the council's multi-million dollar upgrade of the CBD, a design competition for Khartoum Place was held earlier this year. The public were invited to give their feedback on 12 selected designs for the inner city open space.

None of the designs included the tiled artwork, including the preferred design team of architecture firm Brewer Davidson and Leo Jew.

Options were discussed with the artists for relocation of the tiles or a possible new artwork at a high profile CBD site. Since then it has been established that the tiles could not survive relocation.

"This is not about who likes the tiles and who doesn't. It's about respecting and preserving an important part of our history," says Mayor Hubbard, "The tiles must stay."

The Mayor is suggesting that Khartoum Place is revamped but a new design brief is developed that includes the memorial.

"We are proud that New Zealand was the first country in the world to give women the vote and the tiles are symbolic of that struggle. The memorial has local as well as national and international significance."

The Mayor says he will also personally undertake to reinstate the white camellia trees, planted in Albert Park in 1993 as part of centennial celebrations, which were subsequently vandalised and haven't been replaced since.

The Mayor will meet with Minister of Women's Affairs Lianne Dalziel and members of the New Zealand Council for Women and members of the original Suffragette Centennial Committee this week.


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