Rotorua's Te Arawa Memorial will be rededicated 92 years after it was first unveiled in Government Gardens.

The memorial commemorates Te Arawa men who fought and died in World War I and was unveiled by the Duke of York on February 28, 1927, in front of thousands.

In 2016 the Rotorua District WW100 Commemorations Committee announced the memorial would be restored as part of the district's World War I commemorations as it had deteriorated over the years and had also been vandalised.

When the announcement was made, Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick, who chairs the Rotorua District WW100 Committee, said it would be fantastic to see the memorial restored.

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

"The memorial is one of only a few erected by Māori to commemorate their men who fought and died in World War I," Chadwick said.

"Its restoration will be a fitting way to commemorate our city's contribution to World War I."

Originally due to be unveiled in time for Armistice Day in November last year, the memorial will now be unveiled as part of a dawn ceremony on February 28.

At an Operations and Monitoring Committee meeting last November the reason for the delay was reported to be because the recreation of the carving of Rangitihi was taking a little longer than expected.

Rotorua Lakes Council business development manager Joanna Doherty said details of the ceremony were still to be finalised by the WW100 Commemorations Committee.

"The completed work includes the repair and conservation of the stonework, completed by master stone conservator Marco Burger," Doherty said.

"The New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute team has replicated the original eight tekoteko [carved human forms] and four wheku [carved faces] that stood around the memorial."

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

Doherty said the process had involved 3D scanning the pou and making wax moulds before the carvings were cast in bronze.

"The original sculpture of the tupuna, Rangitihi, which stood in front of the memorial, was damaged and removed in 1936. This has been recarved in its original likeness by local carver Rakei Kingi."

Rotorua Lakes Council project manager Mandy Godo said on-site preparations for the rededication were expected to begin today.

"The work needs to be done in stages so a fence will be erected and the site largely hidden from the public as the work is carried out," Godo said.

"This will take approximately two weeks."

On February 28 there will be a small road closure so people can gather in the area for the 6am rededication. The ceremony is open to the public.

The restoration was completed with the help of a $275,229 grant from the Lotteries World War I Commemorations, Environment and Heritage Fund.

Other organisations which supported the project included the Rotorua Trust and the NZCT (NZ Community Trust).