Te Arawa War Memorial tekoteko with wax cast by NZMACI. Photo/Rotorua Museum

Restoration of the Te Arawa War Memorial is in its final stages, and the project is on track to be completed for the Armistice centenary in November.

Rotorua Lakes Council plans to unveil the monument on November 11, the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

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

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

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

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According to the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, 39 of the 500 Te Arawa men who served during the war died.

It is not known why Pita Tairua, Timi Awiti, Hori Huriwaka and Eru Rihari were not named on the monument.

More than 2000 people attended its unveiling by the Duke of York (later King George VI) during his Royal visit to New Zealand.

In recent times the monument's condition has deteriorated and elements of the structure have been vandalised.

In February 2016 a project was launched to give the memorial its mana back.

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

The Rotorua District WW100 Commemorations Committee, under the umbrella of the council, received more than $300,000 in funding for the restoration.

The first phase - repairing and protecting the stoneworl - is complete.

The council said stone conservator Marco Burger spent several months in late 2016 carefully working on the project.

Stone restoration and conservation completed by Marco Burger. Photo/Marco Burger
Stone restoration and conservation completed by Marco Burger. Photo/Marco Burger

Experts from the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute were tasked with replicating the eight wooden tekoteko and four "wheku form" pou that originally surrounded the memorial.

The council said 3D scanning and wax moulds were made of the carvings before bronze replications were cast.

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
Te Arawa War Memorial tekoteko with wax cast by NZMACI. Photo/Rotorua Museum
Te Arawa War Memorial tekoteko with wax cast by NZMACI. Photo/Rotorua Museum

The final step is replicating the stone statue of Te Arawa ancestor Rangitihi which was badly damaged and removed from the memorial in 1936.

"After a call to carvers, Rakei Kingi was chosen to complete this part of the restoration," the council said.

Council arts and culture manager Stewart Brown said the restoration was a fitting way to commemorate Rotorua's contribution to WWI.

"The Te Arawa War Memorial is one of only a few erected by Maori to commemorate their men who fought and died in WWI."