Pukeahu National War Memorial Park

An oasis in the city to remember and reflect on Aotearoa’s experiences of war throughout history

Where

Mount Cook

Location

State Highway 1
Te Aro

Contact

Phone

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A short walk from the centre of the city, the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park is a place for all New Zealanders to learn about, remember, and reflect on how New Zealand’s experience of war, military conflict, and peacekeeping shapes our ideals and sense of national identity.

The park is set in Pukeahu/Mount Cook, and the lush grounds and gardens are the perfect spot for a picnic or a walk. Visit the gardens to learn about Aotearoa’s history through the park’s various memorials.

The park and gardens

Pukeahu National War Memorial Park was built in 2015 to enhance the setting for the National War Memorial and commemorate the First World War centenary. The flowers and trees within the park are living memorials to New Zealand’s military history.

Rengarenga lilies flower into sparks of white around Armistice Day, the eleventh day of the eleventh month, which marks the end of the First World War. The lilies symbolise the peace achieved with the armistice.

The red flowers that bloom on pōhutukawa trees represent the blood of Tāwhaki, a Māori spirit ancestor who guides the way from earth to heaven.

Olive trees are a universal symbol of peace and friendship. They reflect the fraternity forged between those who ventured offshore to serve Aotearoa.

Rosemary symbolises remembrance for all those who have passed on.

Memorials

Five national memorials placed throughout the park tell the story of New Zealand’s history with war and its aftermath.

The Tomb of the Unknown Warrior greets visitors as they climb the steps to the National War Memorial. It is the symbol of remembrance for all New Zealanders who did not make the journey home after serving their country overseas and have no known grave.

Outside the Hall of Memories, you will find The Man with the Donkey. The bronze sculpture commemorates all medical personnel who served alongside New Zealand troops in wartime.

Māori have long associations with Pukeahu (Mount Cook), which are reflected in the gardens below the National War Memorial steps, named Ngā Tapuwae o te Kāhui Maunga (the footsteps of the ancestors).

The bronze sculpture of a , named Hinerangi, stands ready to . Hinerangi faces the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior.

International memorials in the park

Pukeahu is also a place for memorials gifted to New Zealand from countries with a shared military heritage. There are currently eight international memorials dotted throughout the park.

Opposite the National War Memorial is the Australian Memorial. The rugged red sandstone columns represent the heart of Australia: the “red centre”. These are interwoven with grey stone, symbolising the New Zealand landscape. The intertwined stones serve as a reminder of the shared experiences of the two nations.

Other countries that have donated memorials include Turkey, the United Kingdom, France, the United States, Belgium, and the Pacific Islands.

National War Memorial

At over 50 metres tall, the National War Memorial Carillon has been prominent on the Wellington skyline since its opening on Anzac Day 1932. At the base of the Carillon tower, the Hall of Memories serves as the commemorative chapel of the National War Memorial.

Please note: the National War Memorial is currently closed for seismic strengthening. While work is underway, visitors can admire the impressive buildings from the outside, and continue to visit the park and gardens.

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