A bronze statue of 1905 All Black captain Dave Gallaher is winging its way to Belgium as part of the centenary commemorations of the Battle of Passchendaele.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff, who is part of the official New Zealand delegation participating in the commemorations, will be presenting the bronze statue of Gallaher to the people of Flanders on behalf of Auckland.
Gallaher was one of 492 Aucklanders who died in the Battle of Broodseinde, a successful offensive in the lead-up to the Battle of Passchendaele. The statue, created by cartoonist and artist Malcolm Evans, is a smaller replica of the statue of Gallaher that stands outside Eden Park.
Said Goff: "Every New Zealand family is touched by World War I in some way and my family is no different, having lost a great uncle on the Western Front whose grave I will visit."
Goff is travelling to Belgium, the United Kingdom and France on a two-week working visit, leaving today and returning on October 26.
He has been invited to attend a mayoral conference in Paris by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg whose foundation and other sponsors are meeting the cost of travel and accommodation there.
From Belgium, Goff will travel to London to meet local government leaders and hold discussions on urban planning, transport, affordable housing and urban regeneration.
That will be followed by a visit to Paris to attend the CityLab conference: Urban Solutions to Global Challenges.
"London is an incredibly diverse city that faces similar challenges of housing unaffordability, congestion and environmental harm brought about by huge population growth. There is much Auckland can learn from how London has funded investment in infrastructure and public transport, and managed growth.
"Citylab brings together mayors from around the world to discuss innovative ways to tackle growth, environmental protection and urban planning," Goff said.