Napier City councillors and Napier Rotary who raised the funds to build the Napier War Memorial in 1956 would wish that we think very carefully before the Roll of Honour and Eternal Flame are moved to another site.
Trevor Geddis of The Daily Telegraph and Rotarian representative was adamant at the time of opening the building that it must remain always primarily a memorial and not be altered simply for the sake of increased revenue.
Trevor Geddis observed personally to me (as architect) that fortunately the plan form of the building was such that it would be difficult to alter it without spoiling the architectural quality of the building.
The architects for the present extensions, Brent Scott and his team, have done well to preserve some of the original features such as the dramatic sea view to Cape Kidnappers and the carved exposed beams, prestressed - post-tensioned to minimise corrosion from the sea environment.
The architects for the first major extension acknowledged the architectural and historical significance of the original building but failed to guide council to a solution that would respect the heritage values created and reflected in the original building.
This would no doubt have involved some changes in the design brief.
I note in Hawke's Bay Today of April 8 that there are comments by Napier City Council manager visitor experiences Sally Jackson that the Roll of Honour and the Eternal Flame are to be moved to another site.
This prompts me to ask the question: Has the Napier City Council forgotten that the whole of the original building was designed and paid for by Napier citizens as a war memorial.
The while building was a memorial and to me the site and building are still the Napier War Memorial first and foremost, and should remain so.
I strongly object to Sally Jackson speaking of the Roll of Honour as if it is simply a chattel that can be moved to another location.
I feel sure Trevor Geddis for the Rotarians and the Napier City Council of 1956 would agree - the fact that the building has been expanded to be a larger conference centre does not alter the fact in any way that it is still the Napier War Memorial.
That is first and foremost and must remain so.
The problem mentioned by Sally Jackson are no more than a design problem which can be easily overcome and should have been in the early stages - but can still be resolved even at this late stage.
The memorial should be returned - that is its place.
It can be done.
Guy Natusch, MNZM, DSC, FNZ1A (rtd) was the architect of the original War Memorial Centre and is a WW2 navy veteran.