New Zealand War Memorial
The New Zealand War Memorial sits on the same traffic island as Wellington Arch near the edge of Hyde Park. It’s on the opposite side of the green from the Australian War Memorial, which is perhaps appropriate, since these two places are antipodeal to just about everywhere!
This memorial was designed to honor those from New Zealand who fought in the first and second world wars; it was designed to remind the British about the close ties between the two countries. The design consists of 16 vertical standards that come up from a slight rise in the grass. I believe they are constructed out of iron, with soldered designs from New Zealand on each one. Each standard is in the shape of a cross, but the symbolism (other than the obvious) eludes me.
The memorial opened in 2006, and was a collaboration between several design firms. Queen Elizabeth was present at the opening in her role as Queen of New Zealand. Unfortunately, the design has been somewhat criticized.
My personal opinion is that this is one of the more unfortunate memorials I have ever come across. The steel bars feel haphazard in their arrangement, and unfinished in their design. The soldered aspects look almost like graffiti, and other than the fact that they are all somehow related to New Zealand, don’t even seem to represent the fallen war dead. Most of the writing is bi-lingual (English and Maori), which is a nice touch, but since this place isn’t supposed to be a tourist advert, I’m not sure of the purpose. This memorial is harsh and unfriendly, which is unfortunate, since everything I’ve heard about New Zealanders suggests that they are quite the opposite!
Posted on 26/05/2010, in Exploring the UK, Within London and tagged architecture, expats, Exploring the UK, Free London Stuff, Memorial Design, New Zealand, soldiers, Travel, war, WWII. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.