Te Arawa Memorial restoration on track

Thursday, 26 April 2018

The restoration of the Te Arawa War Memorial is on track to be completed in time for Armistice Day, 11 November 2018, which marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One.

Originally erected by the Te Arawa Lakes Trust, the monument has been located in the Government Gardens on Ngāti Whakaue gifted land since the late 1920s.

The project to restore this significant piece of Te Arawa military history was commissioned by the Rotorua World War One Committee in 2016 after receiving funding from the Lotteries World War One Commemorations, Environment and Heritage Fund, New Zealand Community Trust, the Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust and New Zealand Māori Arts & Crafts Institute (NZMACI).

So far the first phase of the project has been completed which encompassed the repair and the conservation of the stonework of the memorial. Master stone conservator Marco Bürger spent several months in late 2016 carefully working on the memorial.

Experts from NZMACI were tasked with replicating the wooden eight tekoteko and four ‘wheku form’ pou that originally surrounded the memorial. 3D scanning and wax moulds were made of the carvings prior to bronze replications being cast.

The final step in the project was to replicate the stone statue of Te Arawa ancestor Rangitihi, which was badly damaged and removed from the memorial in 1936. After a call to carvers Rakei Kingi was chosen to complete this part of the restoration.

Te Arawa War Memorial tekoteko with wax cast by NZMACI. Photo courtesy Rotorua Museum.

Rotorua Lakes Council Arts and Culture Manager, Stewart Brown, is pleased the project has remained on track and is looking forward to the unveiling on Armistice Day.

“The Te Arawa War Memorial is one of only a few erected by Māori to commemorate their men who fought and died in World War One. The restoration is a fitting way to commemorate our city’s contribution to the Great War”, says Mr Brown.


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