The Memorial Garden was opened at Ara City campus Christchurch today at 1pm in a fitting tribute to past students and staff who lost their lives in the service of New Zealand.
Christchurch Memorial Returned and Services Association President Peter Dawson was guest of honour at the event and read the Ode of Remembrance, following a Hiki Tapu by Reimana Tutengaehe.
Speaking at the event Ara Chief Executive Tony Gray explained the significance of the Memorial Garden.
“In the mid-thirties, when we were the Christchurch Technical College, funds were raised from the Government and private donations to erect a memorial hall. To commemorate those students and staff lost in the Great War, the hall was built and opened in 1935.
“Over the years it served as an assembly hall, classrooms, housed the café, bookshop, and health centre at various times, and more recently as the home to our CircoArts students.
“You will all know that the structure of the hall was seriously compromised by the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes and it was eventually deemed unfit for public use and demolished.
“Acknowledging the significance of the hall as a memorial to fallen past students and staff, CPIT undertook to donate the commemorative plaques from the hall to the Christchurch RSA and to create a fitting memorial on the revamped campus.
“The brief for this area was to create a contemplative space reflective of its intended memorial focus.
“The chosen pillar designs are the work of our Ara Art and Design students - Abby Marriott, Madison McPherson, Grace Duval - along with Ara alumnus and artist Dallas Matoe. Their designs have now been cut into the six weathered corten steel pillars that mark out the garden.
“The garden was designed by landscape architects Align. The garden also creates a sensory environment, that in part fulfils a commitment to ensuring an accessible campus that caters to blind and deaf students through the senses of smell and touch.
“I would also like to acknowledge the work undertaken by our Art Curator, Julie Humby, who oversaw bringing the artistic components of the garden to life.
“In the days ahead I hope all at Ara and our many visitors can experience this garden and reflect on the remembrance images and words inscribed on the pillars, recalling the sacrifice of all past students and staff in the service of their country.”