22 Mar 2020

Consent granted for Erebus national memorial

6:03 pm on 22 March 2020

Resource consent for the construction of an Erebus national memorial in an Auckland park has been granted, despite opposition from local residents.

Proposed Erebus memorial design

Proposed Erebus memorial design Photo: Ministry of Culture and Heritage

The proposed memorial will recognise the 257 people who died in New Zealand's worst peacetime disaster.

Despite considerable pushback from a group of people who do not want the memorial built in Parnell's Dove-Myer Robinson Park, commonly known as the Parnell rose gardens, the non-notified consent was granted this week by independent urban planning and design consultant Ian Munro.

In his written decision and report, Munro said he had "considered the concerns raised by interested parties including concerns with the proposal's effects and placement within the reserve, alleged public interest of the proposal, and the memorial's purpose".

But he found the concerns did not outweigh the benefits of the memorial.

Munro also noted that the memorial would have positive effects for those wishing to reflect on or recognise the Erebus tragedy. "I accept that this would contribute to them providing for their own social and cultural well-being."

On 28 November 1979, Air New Zealand flight TE901 crashed into Mt Erebus in Antarctica, killing all on board.

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An artist's impression of the memorial Photo: Supplied / Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Last year, a spokesperson for the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, which is leading the project, said all feedback about the memorial from family members - bar one person "who lives close to the proposed location" - had been positive.

After the decision was announced, a post on the Facebook page Save Robbie's Park, which is run by two women who oppose the placement of the proposed memorial, read: "The world is a crazy place right now and it seems even more insane that we are still having to fight to save a local park.

"How wasteful and irrelevant it all seems focusing on events 40 years ago, when there is so much more that is happening here and now."

An archaeological authority from Heritage New Zealand and landowner consent from the Waitematā Local Board are still required before work can begin.

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