Isaac Davison

Isaac Davison is a NZ Herald political reporter.

New War Memorial Park for Wellington

The planned National War Memorial Park in Mt Cook, Wellington. Photo / Provided
The planned National War Memorial Park in Mt Cook, Wellington. Photo / Provided

A National War Memorial Park will be developed in the middle of Wellington to mark the 100th anniversary of Gallipoli, Prime Minister John Key revealed this morning.

Mr Key announced plans to fast-track the project in Mount Cook so it would be ready in time for Anzac Day in 2015.

The new park would link the existing memorial, the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior, the Hall of Memories and the National Carillion.

"This will be an enduring reminder to our children and their children, so they can better understand our past," Mr Key said.

The project required a $75 million redevelopment of State Highway One, which currently divided the site.

An underpass would be created beneath the new park so that a large open space could be developed in front of the existing memorial.

Mr Key said the park would be a centrepiece of the World War II centenary and would commemorate the 100,000 New Zealanders who went to war, the 18,000 who died, and the 40,000 wounded.

The Australian Government was also planning a memorial for the park.

Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage Chris Finlayson said the park would provide an opportunity to recognise military conflicts which did not have a national memorial in New Zealand, such as the country's ongoing role in peacekeeping.

The development of the site was expected to cost $12 million, of which the Wellington City Council would contribute $2.11 million.

The New Zealand Transport Agency would oversee the construction of the underpass, which was estimated to cost $70-75 million.

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said the park would give New Zealanders the opportunity to commemorate fallen soldiers "without the noise of traffic".

A minute's silence was held at the unveiling of the plans for Lance Corporals Rory Malone and Pralli Durrer, who were killed in combat in Afghanistan's Bamiyan Province on Saturday.

Mr Key said the deaths "bluntly reminded" New Zealanders of the sacrifices servicemen made.

- NZ Herald

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