Temporary reprieve for 103-year-old war memorial - The press
HPC Chair Mark Gerrard quote along with Christchurch Civic Trust Chair Ross Grey
Temporary reprieve for 103-year-old war memorial - The press
HPC Chair Mark Gerrard quote along with Christchurch Civic Trust Chair Ross Grey
Heritage advocates outraged at plans to demolish 103-year-old memorial library The Press online article.
Historic Places Canterbury Chair Mark Gerrard, Chirstchurch Civic Trust Chair and Dame Anna Crighton quoted.
RNZ Afternoons with Jessie Mulligan
Historic Places Canterbury Chair Mark Gerrard interviewed on decision to demolish Upper Riccarton War Memorial Library:
Media Release: Demolition of the Upper Riccarton War Memorial Library
Monday 14th February 2022
From Historic Places Canterbury and the Christchurch Civic Trust
"Historic Places Canterbury and the Christchurch Civic Trust call upon the Christchurch City Council to abandon its decision to demolish The Upper Riccarton War Memorial Library."
The Christchurch City Council (CCC) decided at the 10th February meeting to take over the ownership and demolish the Upper Riccarton War Memorial Library. The Upper Riccarton War Memorial Library dating back to 1919 is the first of seven built to commemorate the fallen of World War One. (The Upper Riccarton War Memorial Library consists of the Library and the Annex.)
Historic Places Canterbury (HPC) Chair Mark Gerrard:
"It is a shock the Christchurch City Council (CCC) decided to demolish the Upper Riccarton War Memorial Library, dedicated to the fallen of World War One, without extensive consultation with the community and heritage/interested stakeholders.
"The Report does not contain or refer to any type of heritage assessment of the Memorial Library by the CCC Heritage Team.
"The CCC should have shown leadership and had the Heritage Team formally assess the building(s) suitability to be protected by scheduling on the District Plan.
"The Council's "Our Heritage, Our Taonga" Strategy Executive Summary states "...We work together to recognise, protect and celebrate our heritage, ..." Surely this is a case where the Council and its Staff should have made an effort, to honour its own Heritage Strategy and decided to retain the building.
"A copy of the DEE (Detail Engineering Evaluation) was not attached to the report. For transparency it should have been included so it could be peer reviewed.
"Historic Places Canterbury considers the Upper Riccarton Memorial Library to be a living social link to an extremely significant event in our past which should be preserved for our future generations.
Christchurch Civic Trust Chair Ross Gray:
"It is distressing the CCC did not actively reach out and seek an alternative for this much loved local iconic building which has a significant social history.
"This Memorial Library has stood for more than 100 years as a symbol to the fallen of World War One. It was the first of seven such libraries. The CCC should show moral leadership and recognise this building is special by retaining it.
"I cannot find any reference to the CCC "Our Heritage Strategy, Our Taonga" (under Criteria for Retaining Council Property) in the report to the Council Meeting.
"Why was the CCC's Heritage Strategy "Our Heritage ,Our Taonga" not considered in the Report?
"The Residents of Christchurch might question why they spent time and effort submitting on "Our Heritage, Our Taonga" strategy, when in this case, it appears not to have been taken seriously by the Council and its Staff.
Dame Anna Crighton:
‘What is wrong with the current generation who seem to be hell bent on erasing memories of our past? This memorial exists to commemorate and honour those Cantabrians who died in World War 1. It is a tangible reminder of that sacrifice.
‘Whaka- aturia nga mahi a o koutou tupuna hei raukura ma nga uri whaka- tupu. Bring to light the achievements of your ancestors, gifts handed down through the generations to be handed on to the descendants yet unborn”.
Chair Historic Places Canterbury
Chair Christchurch Civic Trust
18 March, 2021
MEDIA STATEMENT ON THE NEED TO RETAIN THE THREATENED NG BUILDING From: Christchurch Civic Trust and Historic Places Canterbury.
10. Christchurch Civic Trust and Historic Places Canterbury urge all parties to work together to achieve a win-win for heritage, sport and culture – and for the environment.
Media Contact: Ross Gray 021 206 3620
CHRISTCHURCH CIVIC TRUST AND HISTORIC PLACES CANTERBURY DEPUTATION TO THE CHRISTCHURCH CITY COUNCIL OPPOSING THE RSA REQUEST FOR THE SHIFTING OF THE CITIZENS’ WAR MEMORIAL FROM CATHEDRAL SQUARE 27.09.18 Ross Gray, Deputy Chair CCT, HPC
The Citizens’ War Memorial monument is a vital and integral component of the city’s most important public space, Cathedral Square, and it is essential that it remains so in the post-disaster years. Its structural and visual form creates a carefully orchestrated synergy with the structure, form and symbolism of Christchurch Cathedral.
It needs the cathedral and the cathedral needs it, because of a shared meaning embodied in the crucifix form of both structures. We can see this in the Latin cross floor plan of the cathedral and in the 15m high structural cross of the War Memorial. This is no accident or coincidence: the Anglican Church gave explicit instructions on these design matters and sculptor William Trethewey and architect George Hart fully and faithfully executed them. In doing so they created what eminent New Zealand historian Jock Phillips says is possibly ‘…the finest public monument in the country'. To separate the two structures would be to considerably diminish both heritage structures.
Re-stated: for more than half its life Christchurch Cathedral has been the core of a shared civic experience of great profundity with its nearest neighbour, the Citizens’ War Memorial. The Civic Trust and Historic Places Canterbury cannot see any valid reason to sever this physical and deeply symbolic bond.
The Christchurch City Council through its ratepayers has recently agreed to contribute a generous $10m to the reinstatement of Christchurch Cathedral, with some stated restrictions. This follows a long history of the council making a significant contribution to the cathedral, including re-roofing and earthquake strengthening. Furthermore, the current concept plan by Regenerate Christchurch for the future of Cathedral Square shows the Citizens’ War Memorial in its present position. Planners have clearly not considered its presence a problem: rather they see it as part of the mix of features contributing towards a vibrant civic centre. The council has agreed to contribute half the initial costs for the redevelopment of Cathedral Square and must do all it can to strengthen the “Square experience”. The objection, that the cathedral is some years away from re-occupation, may be true, but in the interim, the south facing areas of the new City Library offer quiet spaces with views out to the War Memorial.
In light of these factors it would be highly counter-productive for the council to accede to the RSA’s request to move the Memorial away from Cathedral Square to another city location.
The RSA submission takes little account of the War Memorial’s function to be a reminder and a memorial of war and sacrifice for everyone, certainly not just for the comrades, family members or descendants of Association members. For instance: thousands of German and Japanese tourists come to Christchurch annually. Those tourists, descendants of some who will have fought against New Zealanders, are most unlikely to make a special trip to another open space to visit the Citizens’ War Memorial relocated there. In fact, because Christchurch Cathedral is so close to the War Memorial, visitors to it are provided with a magnificent, enclosed space whose prime purpose is to give people of any and all persuasions a place in which to reflect.
The Citizens’ War Memorial, when viewed from east of The Square, presents a relatively plain rear façade. This is not a significant problem given the extent of the surrounding built environment, but if it were to be shifted to another open city space, this would present a serious visual difficulty given the possibly long vistas from any direction. The Memorial is absolutely a site-specific monument and as such is totally unsuitable for shifting away from its designated site. The Christchurch Civic Trust has a particular concern for urban planning matters and is alarmed at the ramifications for inner city neighbourhood living that any shift would raise: siting, orientation, impact on living values and the like.
It appears to have been all too easy for the RSA to claim some sort of ownership of the Citizens’ War Memorial. It commemorates the ultimate sacrifice made by men and women from Canterbury, but those who remember are in fact all people – from greater Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand, the globe. The memorial is owned by the citizens of Christchurch and is administered and cared for by the funds from those ratepayers. The RSA’s line of thinking, that the War Memorial must be shifted at its request, may well be borne of years of post-earthquakes frustration, but it carries an ill-founded proprietorial attitude and fails to take into account all relevant heritage and urban planning factors.
I’d like to conclude with a brief comment from Professor Chris Kissling, Chair Christchurch Civic Trust: “The submission certainly represents my personal view regarding the war memorial staying where it is. I do not believe the restoration work on the Cathedral requires the shift of the war memorial and I have not seen any cogent arguments for such an undertaking.
The Citizens’ War Memorial is not a chess piece to be moved from square to square at the whim of current players who have decision-making power.”
The Christchurch Civic Trust and Historic Places Canterbury both urge Mayor and Councillors to reject the request by the RSA for the removal of the Citizens’ War Memorial from the heart of the city, Cathedral Square.
The following is the text of a letter published in The Press. The letter was sent by HPC Chair Mark Gerrard in his role as Convenor of “Victoria Square - No Need For Change" campaign committee.
" The re-opening of a restored Victoria Square will be celebrated by the many Christchurch Residents who supported the successful “Victoria Square- No Need For Change” campaign.
I am writing this letter to publicly “Thank” the many concerned residents who wrote letters to the Press, rang ZB Talkback, emailed their MPs, turned up for the Yellow Ribbon Picnic and attended the Knox Church Forum. I wish to acknowledge the “No Need For Change” committee, the volunteers, the residents who encouraged us, the Knox Forum panellists and Chris Lynch, and Historic Places Canterbury and The Christchurch Civic Trust who funded the campaign.
Whilst we celebrate the re-opening, we must all acknowledge the skill and thoughtfulness of the original Designers who, 30 odd years ago, created this very special space we know and love as Victoria Square.
Victoria Square is “Christchurch at its best” and it sets the standard for which the quality and success of the CBD rebuild will be judged.
The re-opening will be a momentus event. However, for most of us Victoria Square is about the quiet enjoyment of reclining under a tree, sitting on a park bench and stopping at night to enjoy the Bowker Fountain water display and the light show.
Convenor “Victoria Square - No Need For Change”
Owners of historic Christchurch building seek demolition consent for hotel project The Press Online;
Historic Places Canterbury Deputy Chair Ross Gary quoted in the following Press Online articles:
Hotel developer battles to demolish "decaying, doomed, eyesore" heritage building The Press Online.
"Objector Ross Gray, acting chair of the Civic Trust and deputy chair of Historic Places Canterbury, said the buildings concerned were at the heart of an extremely sensitive heritage precinct and any further loss of heritage buildings in the area was unthinkable."
Earthquake Act could help demolish Christchurch heritage buildings on luxury hotel site.The Press Online.
"Ross Gray, acting chair of the Civic Trust and deputy chair of Historic Places Canterbury, said he would be appalled if the GCRA was applied in this case.
About 250 Christchurch heritage buildings have been lost as a result of the earthquakes, those remaining deserved protection, Gray said, and he was surprised Heritage New Zealand had not opposed demolition of the two chambers. ..."
Heritage restoration is really ON THE MOVE! in Christchurch -
Brought to you by Historic Places Canterbury and the Christchurch Civic Trust.
HERITAGE RESTORATION Correct time FLIER FINAL (Free) [PDF to download]
Join the London double-decker free bus tour and get the full story from enthusiastic building owners and heritage advocates.
Leaving from the CWEA 59 Gloucester St at …
10.00 am Tour 1 Caffe Roma & the Public Trust building, then Shands and Trinity buildings followed by free sandwich lunch and heritage display/discussion back at WEA.
1.15 pm Tour 2 Wood’s Mill and then St Barnabas church followed by afternoon tea and heritage display/discussion back at WEA.
Interesting and surprising pauses to look at heritage sites on the way Mini award-winning Shop 7 heritage display at base for the day WEA – including heritage demolition roll, Civic Trust book “City and Peninsula” available for purchase.
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"Final Victoria Square plan considered" The Press:
"Christchurch City Council is being asked to approve a revised Government plan to restore Victoria Square.
The latest plan sees the layout of Victoria Square remaining largely unchanged and proposes repairs and restoration of existing features. ..."
“ We are pleased the Minister and CCDU have finally acknowledged that Victoria Square belongs to the Residents of Christchurch. CCDU have finally listened to the Christchurch Residents who have attended meetings, written letters, set Talkback alive and in endless private conversations have repeatedly stated Victoria Square No Need For Change.”
The Media Release is as follows: