New Look for Cenotaph Plaza

26 August 2014

More open space, a new public art sculpture and a grand staircase to improve pedestrian access to Parliament will feature in the refurbished Cenotaph area.

Artist's impression of upgraded Cenotaph Plaza.

An artist’s impression of how the Cenotaph will look

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Work set to start next week will rejuvenate the plaza around the monument. This $2.5m project is a joint venture between the Council and Parliamentary Service.

The Cenotaph was built in 1929 to honour soldiers killed in the First World War. It will be one of the locations for remembrance during next year’s Anzac commemorations by which time the refurbishment will be complete.

Parliamentary Service General Manager, David Stevenson, says the project will strengthen the connection between Parliament and the Cenotaph, a landmark in the city.

“It will also give more space for Anzac Day ceremonies and other gatherings, and create a more pedestrian-friendly area.”

Original features of the Cenotaph will be restored, including garden beds and three levels of light-coloured paving, and new seats, paving and lights will be installed in the plaza.

The Council’s Manager of City Planning and Design, Warren Ulusele, says the redesign is part of our overall plan to improve the area around Parliament.

“It will also greatly enhance the heritage of the Cenotaph and links to the surrounding area. This part of Wellington has tremendous significance for iwi and the city’s culture and history.

“While the Cenotaph is closely linked with Parliament and remembrance of the World Wars, the area’s history goes back to Māori settlement.”

Pipitea Pā was sited along Thorndon Quay, near where Pipitea Marae is now, and overlooked Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington Harbour). Over the road in Capital Gateway car park, a pou carved by Eruera Te Whiti Nia acknowledges Wellington iwi who fought in the 28th Māori Battalion. The Oamaru stone pou at Waititi Landing near the Cenotaph, by Rā Vincent, marks the old shoreline and waka landing beach used by Te Ātiawa and other Taranaki Whānui iwi.

The new sculpture by Joe Sheehan will lead pedestrians across the plaza, along the path of Waipiro Stream, with pieces of jade laid in the paving. The small gingko trees here will make way for open space and seats.

The public toilets on Bowen Street will be removed, as will four pohutukawa and a Norfolk pine in Parliament Grounds starting this weekend. The footpath on the Parliament side of Bowen Street, from Lambton Quay to Museum Street, will be closed during construction.

To find out about First World War commemorations, go to Events - WW100