5 Apr 2019

Mount Erebus tragedy: Design selected for memorial

9:12 pm on 5 April 2019

A design has been selected for an Auckland memorial to the 257 people who died in the country's worst ever aircraft crash, the Mount Erebus disaster in 1979.

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A pictorial representation of the chosen design, Te Paerangi Ataata - Sky Song Photo: Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today announced the memorial, Te Paerangi Ataata - Sky Song, to be installed in Dove-Myer Robinson Park overlooking the Waitematā Harbour.

"The design reflects the enormity of the tragedy and provides a strong sense of connection and loss. The design has a strong narrative to engage visitors and provides a sanctuary within its walls, evoking the great emptiness experienced for those who lost their lives," Ms Ardern said in a statement.

A panel chose the design by Wellington firm, Studio Pacific Architecture, after consulting relatives of the victims and people who worked on the recovery operation.

It was created by artist Jason O'Hara and musician Warren Maxwell, and includes a walkway projecting to the horizon, with 257 snowflakes cut out of a stainless steel wall to represent the lives that were lost.

Mayor Phil Goff welcomed the progress being made on building the memorial and said it was long overdue.

"The memorial in Dove-Myer Robinson Park, overlooking the Waitematā, is in a beautiful setting, which I hope will provide comfort and solace to those who lost family and friends on Erebus," Mr Goff said in a statement.

Kathryn Carter was 15 when her father, pilot Captain Jim Collins, died in the crash, and she helped choose the design.

"I think to come to this point now where we have a national memorial to recognise the lessons learnt, and obviously the losses of the dead will mean that we can look into the future with some sort of sense of recognition of the impact it's had on us all, both personally and nationally."

Air New Zealand flight TE901 crashed into Mt Erebus on 28 November 1979, killing all 237 passengers and 20 crew.

The finished memorial is expected to be unveiled in May 2020.

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