In its final year, the field consists of 5,270 named crosses for every person from the region who died in World War One from 1915-1918 – as well as those who died subsequently from wounds or illnesses contracted while in active service.
The White Crosses project is a nationwide initiative by the Fields of Remembrance Trust, which has organised four regional Fields of Remembrance for reflection – also located in Auckland, Christchurch and Dunedin – around Anzac Day every year since 2015.
Councillor Andy Foster says this project has been a really significant event through all the WW100 commemorations.
“We’ve been commemorating the centenary of the First World War for the past four years, acknowledging key events like Gallipoli and Passchendaele, as well as the massive contribution New Zealand made to the campaigns.
“The visual impact of the white crosses installation really demonstrates the massive, and personal, impact the War had on the young Wellington community. Every cross is named, one for each of those who served and died in the Wellington regiments – covering the area up to Hawkes Bay and Taranaki.
“Every one of them had their own stories. There will be many of us who will find members of our families, names familiar to us, and it’s fitting that 100 years later we remember them all.”
Nationwide, 103,000 New Zealanders served overseas from a population of 1.1 million, 59,500 casualties with 18,200 dead, and 41,300 wounded.
A blessing, speeches and launch ceremony performed by a military chaplain and officials will be held at the Salamanca Lawn site at 2pm on Wednesday 18 April.
Crosses are no longer available for collection
The installation was open to all, and this year the public was encouraged to come and collect the crosses of their friends or relatives on Sunday 6 May between 10am-4pm – when staff was on hand to help find them.
The window of collection is now closed, as the 4,000 remaining crosses are back in storage. The crosses are being held for use by the Fields of Remembrance Trust schools project. Some unclaimed crosses have been given out to schools so they can continue having their own fields each year.