The “Poppies over Gallipoli” sculpture at the corner of Anzac Drive and Travis Road has been restored and moved to higher ground in time for the centenary commemorations of the Anzac landing at Gallipoli.
The sculpture was originally commissioned by the Burwood-Pegasus Community Board in 2003 and was designed by artists Ian Lamont and Judith Streat. The ground on which it was mounted subsided into wetland during the earthquakes and the poppies adopted a pronounced lean.
A ceremony will be held at 12pm on Monday 27 April in front of the reinstated sculpture followed by a community planting event at the reserve.
The commemoration will be led by Rev Peter Beck with Associate Minister of Earthquake Recovery Hon Nicky Wagner, Mayor Lianne Dalziel and the Turkish Ambassador Damla Yeşim Say in attendance.
Shingle from the beaches of Gallipoli and Canakkale has been gifted by the people of Turkey for use in the landscaping around the memorial.
Ngā Tupuwae, the New Zealand First World War Trails logo will be displayed on a bronze plaque at the site, only one of two locations in the country sanctioned to do so.
“This is an important way to commemorate the centenary of the landings on the shores of Turkey in which both Anzacs and Turks suffered and died in great numbers,” says Rev Beck.
After the ceremony members of the public are invited to help transplant 500 native plants along a stream in the south west corner of Anzac Drive Reserve – part of the Mahinga Kai Exemplar project co-led by Avon-Ōtākaro Network and Ngāi Tahu in partnership with Department of Conservation, Christchurch City Council and Environment Canterbury.
“This is a cultural heritage and natural habitat restoration project that incorporates a dozen story lessons from the land and water in dedicated outdoor classroom areas,” says Evan Smith, Co-Chair of Avon-Ōtākaro Network.
“The story of the Anzacs is one of the subjects and the area in front of the poppies will be developed as one of the outdoor classrooms.
“It is a pilot project for the recovery of the residential red zone in East Christchurch,” says Smith.
AvON is a not-for-profit group. Its vision is to “establish a community-driven science-informed living memorial to rejuvenate and nurture the long-term environmental, economic, community and spiritual wellbeing of the eastern suburbs and of those living throughout greater Christchurch. Our aim is to turn a tragedy into an opportunity, a polluted drain into a vibrant river system, and exhaustion and despair into hope and inspiration.”
For more information about the Mahinga Kai Exemplar refer: http://www.avonotakaronetwork.co.nz/projects/mahinga-kai.html.
Please note there is no parking permitted on Anzac Drive or Travis Road.