Leading the charge to restore Napier's War Memorial has seen its original architect Guy Natusch nominated as Hawke's Bay Today's person of the year.
Napier resident Mr Natusch was nominated for his efforts to preserve the memorial, which became embroiled in a months-long emotional saga after its commemorative items were removed, and name changed following the conference centre's multi-million dollar redevelopment.
The veteran was one of the first to speak out against the changes, and became a figurehead of the fight to have the memorial, and memorial items reinstated. He later became part of the working group charged with finding their new home.
The original hall was built by public subscription in 1956, in memory of those who lost their lives in the World War II conflict.
As the original architect, Mr Natusch felt a connection to the hall and that it should be respected, and protected. This meant when the furore began this year, he felt he had a part to play.
"When you get to my age it's quite extraordinary how years of experience as an architect stand you in good stead. There's no such thing as full retirement, you can slow down but you shouldn't hold back if you feel you can make a contribution," he said.
"My job as an architectural heritage adviser is to endeavour to persuade the council to address that situation, and take a broader look at how they are doing it."
He thanked people like his nominator, Pat Magill, for considering what he had done this year was worthwhile.
"The community drove me to do it. It's the community that should have the accolade, not me. I said unless the people rise up ... we can't restore it completely but we can try our best to do it."
In September the council unanimously agreed to reinstall the memorial items - the Eternal Flame and a Roll of Honour listing the fallen soldiers' names - at the Floral Clock Site near the conference centre.
The council has agreed to consult with the community on the process - including memorial design concepts, the roll of honour plaques and the building's name.
Although there had been a lot of progress, Mr Natusch said "we haven't got there yet".
"The council's got to still make that big step forward to recognise that the building and the whole complex was envisioned in 1957 as the war memorial.
"We've got to make that big step and the people of Napier are not going to give up I think until the Napier City Council recognises the whole area as the war memorial."
Mr Magill said he nominated Mr Natusch "out of respect for a gutsy wise man, that put us on the right trail".
"I saw the man's logic and reason, and being the former architect I thought, thank goodness for Guy Natusch, that's all."
Mr Magill said he had not only nominated Mr Natusch for his work with the memorial, but how this fit in "as part of the bigger picture" of working to better Napier.
"Guy Natusch's work was about the good of Napier, the positive side of Napier, the values of Napier which somehow had been lost."
Mr Natusch served in the Royal New Zealand Navy during the war including during the D-Day landings, and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.