The New Zealand War Memorial, Southern Stand, at Hyde Park Corner, London
In June 2017, while doing some research for this website, I came across an article in the December 2006 issue of Navy Today (page 28) that described the deditication of the New Zealand War Memorial at Hyde Park Corner, London, known as "The Southern Stand."
Part of he article says that:
More than 250,000 New Zealanders have served in or alongside British forces during the wars of the 20th Century. Thirty-two veterans of combined New Zealand and British campaigns (including WWII, J Force, K Force, Malaya and Borneo) were flown to London as par t of the official NZDF contingent. Former Leading Telegraphist Raymond Newport, who served with our Navy in Korea and Malaya, said attending the ceremony was a great honour. "This I see as a proud moment for not only myself and the official party but for the country
as a whole."
The $3million memorial was designed by architect John Hardwick-Smith and sculptor Paul Dibble, and was funded by the New Zealand Government. It shares the north-east corner of Hyde Park Corner with the Australian War Memorial, which was dedicated in 2003.
Each of the 16 bronze standards is adorned with text, patterns and small sculptures, which reflect the military, historical, social, cultural and economic ties between the two countries. "Through the words and images, any New Zealander visiting the memorial will recognise home, and British people may learn something of the relationship between our two countries", explains Paul Dibble.
Ten of the memorial's standards form an angled grid with a "leader", which contains the dedication text and is the site for laying official wreaths. Each standard is formed from two intersecting plates of bronze and, when seen from above and afar, the sculptures appear like a series of crosses hanging in the air.
Standard 6 in the main group is the Navy and Air Force standard, and the bronze reliefs include silhouettes of Achilles, Gambia, and a Flower-class corvette and an Isles-class minesweeper. The sculptor says he wanted to include the ships but has not made them too exacting so as to make a strong design.
The other six standards are positioned to form the shape of the Southern Cross. At night their tops will be illuminated so that the crosses look like the southern stars indicating the compass direction south – pointing the way home for wandering Kiwis.
The memorial comprises 16 bronze "standards" set out on a grassy slope at the east end of the Hyde Park Corner traffic island. Each standard is a cross-shaped metal girder weighing about 700 kilograms (1,500 lb), cast by the Heavy Metal Company in Lower Hutt, and set in a concrete foundation, with surrounds of British slate. The dark patinated surfaces of the standards are adorned with different texts, patterns and small sculptures, all symbolic of New Zealand, including fern shapes, a manaia figure, plants and animals from New Zealand, emblems of the New Zealand armed forces, and references to authors and artists from New Zealand.
The girders project from the ground at an angle towards the south. The angle is intended to resemble the posture of warriors performing a haka, or a cricket bat playing a defensive stroke, or the barrel of a shouldered gun. The standards have different heights, with the ends cut off at a diagonal so they resemble cross-like grave markers from a distance.
Nine of the standards form in a regular grid pattern, with a tenth as a leader. The six other standards stand away from the main group in a pattern similar to the Southern Cross, and bear LED lights that can be illuminated. The formal arrangement is intended to resemble a group of soldiers in procession, or Māori pouwhenua markers, or Celtic standing stones.
Sculptor Paul Dibble said that:
We set the memorial in a position where the main pedestrian route runs through the memorial so that visitors will walk amongst the sculptures, encouraging people to stop and explore. Through the words and images, any New Zealander visiting the memorial will recognise home, and British people may learn something of the relationship between our two countries.
The internet has a lot of photos of the memorial but I couldn't find any decent photos of the ships depicted on it. I have been living in the United States since 2001, but just happened that my wife and I had a trip planned to the UK in August 2017. That is how we spent a very wet afternoon on August 9, 2017, looking around the memorial.
Download the Southern Stand 2017 Brochure
Design for NZ Memorial in Hyde Park, London
Imperial War Museums - Contains a description of the standards
Navy Today, Issue 117, December 2006, Page 28
New Zealand Memorial in London - includes a PDF of the booklet produced for the unveiling of the New Zealand Memorial
The Southern Stand – New Zealand's War Memorial, Hyde Park Corner, London - this site has some nice photos of the memorial
Wikipedia - New Zealand War Memorial, London