Pacific Islands Memorial Sculpture Unveiled – Pukeahu National War Memorial Park

25 October 2018
A ceremony was held at the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park on the 25 October, 2018 where the Hon Carmel Sepuloni, Associate Arts, Culture & Heritage Minister and His Excellency Fisa Pihigia, High Commissioner for Niue unveiled a model of the Pacific Islands Memorial which will be installed in 2020.
Named Te Reo Hotunui o Te Moana nui a Kiwa, or ‘the deep sigh of the Pacific’, the memorial will take the form of a bronze conch shell – a symbol used throughout the Pacific in traditional ceremonies, on many national currencies and in the literature of the region.
The design recalls the conch shell left in the Arras Tunnels by Kuki Airani (Cook Island) soldiers of The New Zealand tunneling Company and the New Zealand (Māori) Pioneer Battalion, who were stationed beneath the town of Arras during 1916 to 1918.

Michel Tuffery MNZM, John Melhuish and Herriot Melhuish O’Neil Architects created the design, which was selected by a judging panel chaired by His Excellency Fisa Pihigia.
Prior to the unveiling, a Maori Stones Laying ceremony was carried out. This is a traditional Māori ceremony in which stones from the Pacific Islands and New Zealand were placed beneath what will be the foundations of the Memorial. Also present were Sir Peter Jackson and Hon Aupito William Sio.
The Pacific Islands Memorial is a joint initiative by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, the Ministry for Pacific Peoples and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, with support from the New Zealand Institute of Architects.

Due to be unveiled in 2020, the Pacific Islands Memorial will recognise the service and sacrifice of Pacific Islanders who fought for New Zealand in the First World War, the Second World War and subsequent conflicts. It will also signify New Zealand’s close ongoing relationship with the nations of the Pacific.
The conch sculpture will join memorials for Australia, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Belgium and France and a US memorial in Pukeahu.
The High Commissioner of Samoa, H.E Leasi Papali’i T Scanlan accompanied by the Counsellor, Ms Belinda Filo-Tafunai laid a stone signifying the people of Samoa.