logo HWI overlay
homepagebiographiesHAyley's Concert Appearancesconcerts scheduleaudio multimediagalleriesnews
albumsmedia scansRadio HWIradio & tvreviewsVideo Player 2006wallpapers

Race on to get NZ war memorial ready
Friday November 10, 2006
By Andy MacDonald
Touring All Black Daniel Carter takes in the New Zealand War Memorial at Hyde Park Corner
Touring All Black Daniel Carter takes in the New Zealand War Memorial at Hyde Park Corner.

LONDON - Workers are racing against the clock to have key infrastructure in place for the New Zealand Memorial, which is to be officially unveiled in London on Sunday.

All 16 of the bronze standards have been put in place on a grassy knoll at Hyde Park Corner, but around them is a hubbub of activity to ready the site for the ceremony.

The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and other royals will attend, as will Prime Minister Helen Clark, Opposition leader Don Brash and New Zealand musicians Dave Dobbyn and Hayley Westenra.

About 2700 guests - many of them expatriate New Zealanders - will attend, plus 280 New Zealand Defence Force personnel and 32 veterans who arrived this week.

In anticipation of this influx, workers have rolled out pre-laid strips of grass, and in other areas turf protectors have been laid down.

Temporary structures to house dignitaries at the Remembrance Day ceremony were still being put up yesterday. One worker did not think the site would be ready in time.

But a London-based spokeswoman for the New Zealand Memorial Project, Lindsay Smith, said it was progressing well.

While there was still work to be done, she said, she could foresee no reason all the decking, seating, platforms and fencing would not be in place. "There's absolutely no doubt about it being finished."

The memorial, because of its elevation, can be easily seen from nearby roads.

Leading Aircraftman Ryan Woodley of the Royal New Zealand Air Force was impressed by the New Zealand symbols on the memorial.

"What struck me most was that some of the bronze is laid out in the shape of the Southern Cross. I thought it said a lot about us as a people."

The bronze stands carry many motifs of New Zealand, among them a fern leaf, a manaia figure, a farmer, Anzac poppies and a rugby ball.

They also display several passages of poignant text, including the following in English and Maori: "This memorial commemorates the enduring bonds between New Zealand and the United Kingdom, and our shared sacrifice during times of war.

"It is a symbol both of our common heritage, and of New Zealand's distinct national identity."

Sergeant Mike Te Hau of the New Zealand Army was captivated by the white-coloured crucifix design atop each of the stands.

"If you look at them from a distance, it looks like they're floating in the air," he said. The crucifix device was to symbolise New Zealand war graves.

Defence personnel have been rehearsing for the event, including one at the site in full dress uniform with Steyr rifles and bayonets.

Rumour has it that the 80-year-old Queen - who has been suffering recently from back trouble - may personally inspect New Zealand's tri-service royal honour guard.

Leading Aircraftman Paul Deighton said: "If she asks me a question I guess my answer will probably be short and sweet."

credits : news item advised by jon vosloo
Top Of Page
~ Hayley Westenra's own little shop-on-the-web ~ HWI supports

HW ShopUNICEFbikes for GhanaUNICEF

An Independent Online Store UNICEF NZ