Memorial Gates Updated to Save Time

HALF THE WORLD DISTANCE FROM HOME THEY CAMPED HERE. Words on one of the two memorial plaques attached to the pillars

Interfering with the national heritage?

By Roger Childs

A new sliding gate has replaced the original 54 year old gates (Photo by Don Polly)

The Queen Elizabeth Park Memorial Gates at Mackays Crossing have been removed. The pillars remain and a new sliding gate has been installed. Park Management staff will now be able to open and close it electronically.

The work was done by the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) who administer the park. However key stakeholders such as the Kapiti United States Marines Trust, the New Zealand – American Association (NZAA) and the Queen Elizabeth Park Guardians were not consulted.

The Memorial Gates, dedicated to the Marines who lived and trained in the area in 1942-3, were opened in 1963 by Prime Minister Keith Holyoake, in one of the biggest official events in Kapiti’s history.

The gates were paid for by 2nd Marines Veterans and the NZAA, and are an important part of the heritage of the Kapiti district and the nation.

Quo warranto: by what right?

Amanda Cox from GWRC had provided this explanation on why the gates had been “updated”.

Yes, the gates have been up-dated and new wrought-iron security gates have been attached to them very recently.  This allows the Park Management staff to open and close the gates off their cell phones or from their computers without having to do it manually every day. This is in-line with what they’ve done on the Cycleway and saves them time and money. They have a very big job to do across the whole region and a limited number of people to do it.

Coming through the gates in May 2017 with a reconstructed Marines hut

There are number of issues here.

  • The Gates were paid for by the 2nd Marines Division Association and the New Zealand- American Association.
  • They were opened by the New Zealand Prime Minister of the time and are of national importance.
  • They are gates leading into Whareroa Road which is technically under the “control” of the Kapiti Coast District Council.
  • They are part of the nation’s heritage and there should have been consultation with the Ministry of Culture and Heritage, the Kapiti US Marines Trust, the NZAA, as well as other stake holders.

By what right did the GWRC go ahead and remove them?

One wonders if proposed improved access to the farm off Whareroa Road is one of the reasons for the changes. The new sliding gate will provide more room for stock trucks to get through between the pillars.

(KIN has asked Kapiti’s representative on the GWRC, Penny Gaylor, for more information.)