Grey Power has formally voiced its disapproval of the Napier Conference Centre's loss of the Eternal Flame and Roll of Honour.

The War Memorial Hall was built in 1956, funded by a citizen's fundraising campaign for a memorial for lives lost in World War II. It featured an Eternal Flame and a Roll of Honour listing fallen local soldiers' names.

It was renovated and enlarged by the Napier City Council in 1995 and renamed the Napier War Memorial Conference Centre. Because Napier's inscription of World War I losses was destroyed in the 1931 Earthquake, those names were added. Another plaque recorded those who died in the post-World War II conflicts.

This year, following another renovation and enlargement, it was renamed the Napier Conference Centre and the Eternal Flame and a Roll of Honour removed.


Napier City Council said the building was a commercial entity so the war memorial was no longer appropriate. After consultation with the Returned Services Association the flame and roll were removed and put in storage until a more appropriate home could be found.

On Tuesday Napier and District Grey Power Association, which has 1200 members, passed a resolution condemning the removal. The resolution read: Napier Grey Power support all efforts to restore the Eternal Flame and the Memorial Plaques containing 606 names of Napier District persons who paid the supreme sacrifice in wartime. As well, the building's name should be restored as the Napier War Memorial Hall.

Grey Power president Laurie Jenkin said it was passed resoundably.

"It is a deeply held belief that we should continue with the flame," he said.

"It is a place of remembrance, to honour our war dead a and we think it should be kept going."

A Heritage New Zealand representative discussed the matter this week with Napier mayor Bill Dalton, who supports the removal.

While the ability to host a range of events is a boost economically, public opinion argues morality.