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Māori Monument To Be Unveiled Near Memorial Museum Passchendaele
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Māori Monument To Be Unveiled Near Memorial Museum Passchendaele

On Anzac Day (25 April), a new 8-metre-tall memorial honouring the role of New Zealand’s Māori and other service people in the First World War will be unveiled in the Passchendaele Memorial Park, next to the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917 in Zonnebeke.

The pou maumahara (memorial carving) was created from 4,500-year-old native New Zealand timber by master carvers, tutors and students from the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute (NZMACI) in Rotorua, New Zealand. It took them four years to do the job.

The pou maumahara is named “Pohutukawa” after a native New Zealand tree that symbolises new beginnings.

NZMACI board member David Tapsell: “Pohutukawa trees welcomed the ancestors of New Zealand’s Māori people when they first arrived in the country, as well as being the tree that spiritually farewells our loved ones.”

The red pohutukawa flower is also often compared to the poppy at Passchendaele when it blooms.

“The carving has two sides representing war and peace, acknowledging those who sailed vast distances to take part in the war, as well as those who remained in New Zealand”, says Tapsell. “The memorial carving celebrates the memory of our ancestors, expressed through our nation’s greatest carvers.”

The memorial weighs just over six tonnes and stands eight metres tall.

The memorial carving will be unveiled at a special ceremony following Australia and New Zealand’s annual ANZAC Day dawn service at the CWGC Buttes New British Cemetery in Polygon Wood, Zonnebeke.

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