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Cenotaph soldier displayed next to Rose Garden

1 Oct 2013

Cenotaph soldier displayed next to Rose Garden

The intricately-sculpted soldier that was removed from the top of the Cenotaph earlier this year will be installed on a small concrete plinth next to the Rose Garden in Fitzherbert Street this week.

The three-metre high soldier and its temporary home will be blessed at 8.15am on Thursday (3 October) before the last Gisborne District Council meeting prior to the election. All are welcome to attend the blessing and to be amongst the first to get up close to the soldier and examine his fine detail.

There was a lot of support to put the soldier on public display after he was removed from the December 2007 earthquake damaged Cenotaph, says Council projects and development manager David Wilson. “Thanks to funding from community trusts including the Eastland Community Trust this will be a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the soldier up close while repairs to cenotaph are completed.”

“The soldier has been getting a spit and shine courtesy of Brian Shepherd from Monumental Masons prior to going on display. Whilst on display the soldier will be encased in a toughened glass enclosure built by Currie Construction. Lights will further illuminate the soldier’s details and provide security.”

The soldier is likely to be on display until at least April 2014 depending on the result of funding applications for the repair of the Cenotaph. Applications have been made to the First World War Centenary Fund, the outcome of which will be known in late October. If funding is successful repairs will start before the end of the year.

Registrations of interest for the repair of the Cenotaph closed last week and a preferred contractor should be selected in November.

The grassed area in Marina Park was chosen to display the soldier because it made installation cheaper and easier and there is a lot of foot traffic in the area allowing the public plenty of access. It is also close to existing lighting, power and security. The actual site is adjacent to the Evolution (Three Archers) sculpture. Once the soldier is installed on top of the repaired Cenotaph, it is likely the foundations will be reused for a future sculpture.

Planning is underway for an Armistice Day Commemoration around the soldier on 1 November, 2013.
More information on the Cenotaph restoration.