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Memorial to Mayor Swan restored

Published: 2 December 2022

Last Updated: 5 December 2022

Swan Memorial Restored

From left, Andy Lowe, a descendant of Mayor George Henry Swan, his sister Sarah, current Napier Mayor Kirsten Wise, and descendant John Swan, at the recently restored Swan Memorial, Marine Parade.

The memorial to George Henry Swan, one of Napier’s longest serving mayors and members of parliament, is shining bright once again, thanks to a careful restoration.

Mr Swan served 27 continuous years as a councillor, mayor, on city boards and in the House of Representatives. The 105-year-old memorial, on Marine Parade, features a bronze bust of the former mayor. It was funded by public donation and unveiled four years after his death in 1913.

Napier Mayor Kirsten Wise says the project team has done a wonderful job of bringing out the memorial’s best features.

“Mr Swan has had an enormous impact on this city and it is fitting that someone who devoted so much of his life to public service should be remembered in this way.”

Wellington-based John Swan, the great-great-grandson of George Swan, says he has been looking forward to the day he could visit the restored memorial in person. “I am pleased and very thankful to the architects, those who restored the memorial, and Napier City Council for their commitment to this project.”

“The outcome is stunning and I feel George Henry is set for another century’s service in the city that he loved.”

The memorial sits near the former site of the public paddling pool constructed during his time in office. In 1991 the pool was filled in and became a play area next to a new pool, part of what is now the Ocean Spa complex.

The repair and conservation work was overseen by heritage specialists Salmond Reed Architects. Limeworks Ltd, masonry and monument repair specialists, carried out the restoration.

During Mr Swan’s era the Marine Parade sea wall, the planting of Norfolk pines, the progressive development of the Soundshell and surrounding gardens, modelled on those he saw on his return trips to England, were completed. These were followed by the construction of the paddling pool.

At this time there was disastrous flooding throughout Hawke’s Bay. As mayor he initiated a nationwide appeal for funds to assist the flood affected families, then led the committee which led to the Clive Memorial on Marine Parade, in their honour. He retired from public service in 1901.

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