New Zealand’s biggest roading project - the NZ Transport Agency’s Waterview Connection - is helping a small rural town commemorate for the first time its people who fought for this country over the past 100 years.
The newly erected Soldiers Memorial on the Village Green at Te Kauwhata in north Waikato is made from 5 concrete segments that had been rejected for installation in the motorway tunnels at Waterview in Auckland. The segments each weigh 10 tonnes, and had been moulded at the project’s precast concrete factory at East Tamaki in Auckland where more than 24,000 segments for the tunnels are made.
“We are extremely honoured that we have been able to support Te Kauwhata’s community and make a contribution like this – especially as ANZAC Day later this month marks the centenary of the troop landings at Gallipoli in Turkey,” says the project’s Precast Sub-Alliance Manager Andy Bould.
Two of the segments lean together and represent the spirit of ANZAC – New Zealand and Australian soldiers supporting each other. The other 3 have inscriptions in Maori and English, and the names of locals who served in all the services from World War 1 through to East Timor. Thirty-nine people from the community died on duty and 214 returned.
The memorial was conceived and erected by the Lions Club of Te Kauwhata and Districts. The co-ordinator of the memorial project, David Hosking, says it would have been too expensive for the Lions club to build it from scratch.
“We then had the ‘brainwave’ of asking the precast factory if any tunnel segments were available. The support from the factory and the wider Waterview project has been fantastic. We’ve never had a memorial in the town to recognise people from the district who served our country in many distant places around the world,” Mr Hosking says.
The Transport Agency’s State Highways Manager, Brett Gliddon, says while Waterview will have significant benefits for Auckland and neighbouring Waikato, there has always been a strong community focus to the project.
“The Waterview project is very much about planning for the future, but it is great that we have been able to play a part in helping make sure that the Te Kauwhata community does not lose its past,” Mr Gliddon says.
The Well-Connected Alliance delivering the Waterview Connection includes the Transport Agency, Fletcher Construction, McConnell Dowell, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Beca Infrastructure, Tonkin & Taylor and Japanese construction company Obayashi Corporation. Sub-alliance partners are Auckland-based Wilson Tunnelling and Spanish tunnel controls specialists SICE.
Te Kauwhata’s Soldiers Memorial will be dedicated tomorrow (Saturday, 11 April) at the town’s Village Green at 2pm. For further information contact David Hosking 07 8267770.