A Wairarapa artist says plans for a sculpture marking Featherston's World War I Military Training Camp display the 'cliched attitudes' and 'phallic dominance' of most wartime memorials - and that the town needs something different.

Rhonda Greig was commenting on plans for a Paul Dibble sculpture in Featherston that would be reminiscent of a Dibble sculpture in Hyde Park, London.

The planned memorial - 10 bronze columns of 3.2m high stretched over about 22m - featured in the Times-Age last week after Trust House declined a $250,000 funding request.

Greig says this refusal might open the option for "other decisions" to be made.


Greig declared her own interest - as an unsuccessful tenderer for the Hyde Park installation in partnership with New Zealand master architect Mark Burry, who spent 30 years designing for the famous Sagrada Familia basilica in Barcelona.

"Burry and I - of course we were sorry not to win - were both overseas at the time and were the only internationally-located New Zealanders shortlisted " she said.

"We had the advantage of being able to access Hyde Park and do our research in situ - drawings, photographs, sight lines, traffic movement etc."

Greig says Dibble's Hyde Park work "is dignified but it expresses all the clichd attitudes of the glorified male warrior, using forms that emphasise weapons of killing".

The metal standards in their static severity are like enlarged shrapnel shards," Greig said.

"They resemble guns. They suggest phallic dominance, conquering, and - in their remorseless regularity - obedience.

"We need something different in Featherston."

Greig says the war camp site, which became the site of a prisoner of war camp for Japanese prisoners, is part of New Zealand's history.

"It seems strange to commemorate this site, as is proposed, with forms that are imitations of Dibble's earlier Hyde Park work," she said.

"An artwork that stressed imagination and exuberance, as well as creativity in the confines of a training camp, as the essence of survival, would seem more appropriate than gestures of killing".

"The thousands of New Zealanders trained here in Featherston could be honoured in a far more inspiring and original way."