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Tawa Memorial


From the Resene Total Colour Awards gallery — Wellington

This project represents many years of local community commitment and effort led by the Tawa Historical Society, in association with the Tawa Community Board and the Tawa Returned Services’ Association.

World war two seat

The Tawa Memorial is intended to recognise the 13 young men from Tawa who lost their lives in the service of the nation, both in war and in the pursuit of peace. It is not a ‘war memorial’. The intention was to create a ‘memorial space’ that would engage people, rather than a ‘memorial object’ like the Cenotaph.

Tawa Memorial

The memorial includes a central area bordered on one side by a precast concrete wall containing commemorative plaques, and on another by a curved corten steel panel. This panel is perforated with a silhouette of Tawa Leaves, the English phrase ‘Lest We Forget’ and a commemorative Te Reo phrase developed in conjunction with local iwi. The resulting enclosure is a reflective, orienting space which is an integral part of the memorial.

The location at the edge of the Grasslees Reserve in Tawa, adjacent to the Porirua Stream further enhances the quiet reflective character. The ground treatment, paving and landscaping were all designed to complement similar components in the neighbouring reserve.

Tawa Memorial
Tawa Memorial

The memorial contains five low rectangular precast concrete seats, intended to encourage people to sit and linger. Each seat bears the name of a campaign relevant to the memorial, and sits on a base which is boldly striped in the colours of that campaign’s medal ribbon. The design team closely with the New Zealand Defence Force and the Resene colour service to ensure that these colours were as authentic as possible. The end results are historically accurate and provide eye catching pops of colour that enliven the space.

The colour scheme of the memorial was designed around the following key concepts – it should primarily be a quiet reflective space, it should sit comfortably in its site adjacent to the nature reserve and it should contain visual references to its historical context. The inspiration for the seat supports come from the colourful ribbons on service medals, these colour sequences are unique to either the medal or the campaign for which it was awarded.

The seats were painted in:

World war one seat
World war two seat

As on open public space it was paramount that the surface treatments were practical and robust. Resene Uracryl 404 UVS Clear was used to protect the concrete wall and seats.

The completed memorial has become the historical touchstone envisaged – a tranquil space of commemoration and reflection. This project was ten years in the making. While local Tawa resident and historian Bruce Murray was the driving force in bringing the memorial to fruition, the end result is testament to significant community support, fundraising, consultation and patience.

Architectural specifier: McKenzie Higham Architects
Building contractor: Maycroft Construction Ltd
Client: Tawa Historical Society
Painting contractor: Deneefe Signs (metal seat supports), K & A Decorators (concrete coating)
Photographer: Brent Higham


Resene Total Colour Awards gallery

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Resene Total Colour Awards 2018

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