Herriot Melhuish O’Neill Architects - Wellington, Christchurch, Auckland, Tauranga

Pacific Islands Memorial – Te Reo Hotunui o Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa

Pukeahu National War Memorial Park, Wellington

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HMOA worked closely with artist Michel Tuffery and the Ministry of Culture and Heritage to realise Tuffery's vision for a new Pacific memorial at Wellington’s Pukeahu National War Memorial Park. 

The bronze sculpture measures 6m high and weighs about 5000kg. HMOA had to manage and resolve the range of complexities inherent in creating and delivering a sculpture of this scale – from the initial design competition through to manufacture and installation.

Named Te Reo Hotunui o Te Moana-nui-a-KiwaThe Deep Sigh of the Pacific, the sculpture was inspired by a conch shell left in the Arras Tunnels by Kuki Airani (Cook Island) soldiers of The New Zealand Tunnelling Company and the New Zealand Māori Pioneer Battalion. The soldiers were stationed beneath the French town of Arras from 1916 to 1918.

Read more on our blog about the project and its 2021 unveiling in Pukeahu Park, also on the Ministry of Culture & Heritage site and Architecture Now

Watch the full unveiling ceremony on the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park Facebook page. 

Photos: Mark Tantrum for Manatū Taonga, Ministry for Culture and Heritage

HMOA engaged Dunning Thornton to design the structure and LT McGuinness to support the delivery and installation.

Michel says the memorial represents New Zealand’s enduring friendship with the Pacific Islands and the service of Pacific Islanders who fought for New Zealand in the two World Wars and later conflicts. The conch shell, a symbol deeply rooted in Pacific cultures, features a patina finish with remembrance poppies.