The restoration of a war memorial, originally planned to be unveiled on Sunday, the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, now won't be formally finished until Anzac Day 2019.

The Te Arawa War Memorial in the Government Gardens is being restored by the Rotorua District WW100 Commemorations Committee, under the umbrella of the Rotorua Lakes Council.

Its restoration began in 2016 after the memorial had deteriorated over the years and been vandalised.

The project intends to give the memorial its mana back and was funded using $275,229 from the lottery WWI Commemorations, Environment and Heritage Fund, $25,000 from the Rotorua Trust and $30,000 from the NZCT.

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The monument shortly after it was unveiled, and the monument in February 2016 on the right. Photos/Rotorua Museum
The monument shortly after it was unveiled, and the monument in February 2016 on the right. Photos/Rotorua Museum

In April this year, the Rotorua Daily Post reported the restoration project was in its final stages and on track to be unveiled on November 11, the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

But at the Operations and Monitoring Committee meeting last week, the Rotorua Lakes Council's group manager operations, Henry Weston, told committee members it likely wouldn't be "formally marked" until next April.

"There are two key components to it. There's the bronze pou which were being created by Te Puia and there's the recreation of the carving of Rangitihi as well and that's just taking a little longer than expected."

In a written statement, the council's arts and culture manager, Stewart Brown, said Rotorua's WW100 Commemoration Committee was working with artists involved.

The stonework, done by Marco Burger, is complete and the replica bronze casts of the eight pou, made by Te Puia, are also finished.

In April it was reported the final step of the project was replicating the stone statue of Te Arawa ancestor Rangitihi which was badly damaged and removed from the memorial in 1936.

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Te Kei Merito leads the blessing of the Te Arawa War Memorial in Government Gardens in November 2016. Photo/File
Te Kei Merito leads the blessing of the Te Arawa War Memorial in Government Gardens in November 2016. Photo/File

Carver Rakei Kingi is doing this part of the restoration.

Brown said installation of the pou had to happen at the same time as the installation of Rangitihi. He said the carving of Rangitihi was on track to be completed by the end of the year.

The Te Arawa Memorial was originally erected by the Te Arawa Lakes Trust on Ngāti Whakaue gifted land in the Government Gardens on February 28, 1927.

Te Arawa War Memorial wheku form pou with wax cast by NZMACI. Photo/Rotorua Museum
Te Arawa War Memorial wheku form pou with wax cast by NZMACI. Photo/Rotorua Museum

The names and ranks of 35 Te Arawa men who died in WWI are inscribed on it.

The Rotorua RSA did not want to comment on the delay.