An $80,000 project to restore one of Tauranga's Historic Places is under way outside the Tauranga Domain.

Deterioration in the gates to the domain had been noticed but cultural heritage co-ordinator Fiona Kean said repair work carried out in the past had been cosmetic. The real cause of the deterioration had not been dealt with for 100 years.

The restoration work started on Monday and will cost the Tauranga City Council just under $50,000. The remaining $30,000 has been granted by the Lotteries Commission.

Planning for the gates began in 1915, making them one of New Zealand's first proposed memorials, Ms Kean said.

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The project was led by Colonel GA Ward, chairman of the Tauranga Domain Board, and had the support of the Tauranga Borough Council. For Colonel Ward the gates would not only commemorate Tauranga's men but also beautify the entrance to the domain.

Sharing his vision to erect the Memorial Gates at the domain to immortalise Tauranga's fallen, Colonel Ward wrote: "There they will always be, in the public eye."

During World War I, a fund was established, and in 1919 the Tauranga Borough Council was asked for 250, the war memorial committee needing 1200.

"Unlike many memorials around the country, which were constructed using government designs and names from official sources, our gates were designed by a Tauranga man, Colonel Ward.

"He had a passion for the gates and what they represented, having lost his only son on the battlefield in 1918."