Christchurch’s Citizens’ War Memorial is officially on the move.
Work to carefully deconstruct the earthquake-damaged Memorial started on Thursday with the use of a crane to lift the first piece of bronzing away from the supporting stonework.
The Memorial’s bronzing and stonework will be slowly disassembled in stages over the coming weeks and then transported and placed into temporary, secure storage. From there it will be repaired and strengthened before being fully reinstated on public land in Cathedral Square.
Christchurch City Council wants to restore public access to the Memorial by reinstating it as quickly as possible.
“The Citizens’ War Memorial is too large and fragile to be moved in one piece, so there is a process of very careful and respectful deconstruction first,” says the Council’s Manager Capital Delivery Community, Darren Moses.
“The process requires protection of the bronzes and the heritage fabric at all times. Each stage of deconstruction is meticulously planned and bespoke lifting frames are used to orientate and stabilise the bronzing during each crane lift.”
Mr Moses says that even if the Memorial wasn’t being relocated, it would still need to undergo extensive repairs to address the earthquake damage to its structure and rusting on the inside.
“Once reinstated in Cathedral Square it will look the same as before, but the internal structure will be stronger and more resilient.”
Going forward, the Council will be fully responsible for the Memorial, continuing to maintain and care for it on behalf of all the citizens of Christchurch.
It has agreed to receive ownership of the Memorial through a deed of gift from Church Property Trustees (CPT), which owns and administers property on behalf of the Anglican Diocese.
Keith Paterson, Project Director of Christ Church Reinstatement Limited, says, “We are pleased to be able to utilise our existing construction site and resources to efficiently carry out the deconstruction of the Memorial.
"We have become very familiar with the Memorial through the investigative works phase and are delighted to be able to play our part in the transfer of the Memorial to Council ownership.”