Erebus memorial site preparation begins

2:26 pm on 19 October 2021

Site preparation for the long-awaited National Erebus Memorial in Auckland has finally begun.

Proposed Erebus memorial design

Proposed Erebus memorial design Photo: Ministry of Culture and Heritage

In February, protestors occupied the proposed memorial site in Dove-Myer Robinson Park in Parnell and prevented work from starting for over 200 days.

Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage chief executive Bernadette Cavanagh said the memorial would be a place for those who lost their loved ones in the Erebus accident to gather, to remember and to reflect.

Cavanagh said it would also be a place where all New Zealanders could learn more about the tragedy and its significance.

Erebus remains the worst civil accident in New Zealand's history when Air New Zealand flight 901 crashed into Mt Erebus in Antarctica on 28 November, 1979.

All 257 people on board were killed, leaving their families and an entire nation bereft.

"Starting site preparation for the construction of the memorial is a significant milestone, and I want to thank the Erebus family members for their continued support and resilience throughout this process," said Cavanagh.

"Erebus families have waited more than 40 years to have their loved ones acknowledged with a national memorial. We are in regular contact with many family members who are eager to see this memorial built."

Cavanagh acknowledged that construction of the memorial has faced significant delays as Manatū Taonga took time to fully understand and respond to questions from the community.

"The site of the memorial is home to a notable pōhutukawa tree that is cherished by the local community. We've done everything we can to provide assurance that this tree will be protected during construction of the new memorial," she said.

"We have listened to the community, and we have sought independent expert advice to ensure all environmental, cultural and heritage values of the park remain respected and protected."

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