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Napier War Memorial rededicated and open to visitors

Published: 7 August 2023

Napier War Memorial Opening

The newly restored Napier War Memorial has been officially rededicated by Napier Mayor Kirsten Wise and is now open to the public.

The rededication took place at 9am on Sunday 6 August with 150 invited guests and members of the public in attendance. Representatives from the armed services included Commander Fiona Jameson of the HMNZS Te Kaha. Cadets from the Napier Army Cadets and the Napier Pipe Band were also present.

Mayor Wise said it was important to remember the main focus of the war memorial, a tribute to the fallen, but it was also a place the whole community could come to as a sanctuary in the middle of the city.

“In rebuilding this memorial, we are creating a space that people can visit to take a moment, to remember and reflect. It’s a place of tranquility,” Mayor Wise said.

The community, along with Napier councillors and council officers, worked hard for many years to ensure the War Memorial was reinstated. Close to 100 people had a hands-on role in the rebuild including expert tilers, landscapers, engineers, painters, builders, architects, metal workers, stone masons, horologists, gardeners and researchers.

Significant elements such as the Roll of Honour plaques, Eternal Flame, mauri stone and flagpoles have been installed at the site on Marine Parade. The curved wall on which the plaques are mounted is painted in a dark terracotta called Prairie Sand, a close-as-possible match to the 1957 original. Ceiling panels along the ‘arrow head’ pavilion include some that are red to represent red poppies. A single purple panel is for the purple poppy associated with animals used in war such as dogs, horses and pigeons.

The floral clock has been restored and returned to a location a few metres from its original home. It has been planted with flowers prepared in the Napier nursery including hundreds of pansys. The clock was gifted to Napier by the Hurst family in 1955, two years before the original Napier War Memorial Hall opened. Descendants of the Hursts attended an intimate rededication on Sunday morning ahead of the main formalities.

A historic birdbath dating from the 1930s has a new home near the easternmost pohutukawa, overlooking the lower pond. 

Ahead of the official rededication at 9am on Sunday 6 August, a dawn blessing was held. After the opening, the official ballroom naming ceremony took place with the unveiling of the new name: Natusch Ballroom named for Guy Kingdon Natusch, the original architect of the memorial.

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