Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the government building a national memorial to the Erebus accident?

Erebus remains one of New Zealand’s worst accidents, 257 people lost their lives when flight TE 901 crashed into Mt Erebus in Antarctica. The National Erebus Memorial will acknowledge the loss to their families and the nation.

The aircraft involved in the Erebus accident was from the fleet of the national carrier Air New Zealand, which was in full state ownership at that time. 

Where is the memorial being built?

Dove-Myer Robinson Park in the Auckland suburb of Parnell was announced as the site for the National Erebus Memorial in November 2018. The proposed location is in the north eastern corner of the park on a lawn overlooking the Waitematā Habour.

Why is the memorial in Auckland?

The flight at the centre of the Erebus accident left from Auckland on the morning of 28 November 1979. Those onboard came from across New Zealand and around the world, but the largest number were from the wider Auckland region. Many of the victims’ families live in Auckland.

How much will the memorial cost?

The total budget for the development of the National Erebus Memorial is $3.5 million, $3 million of which is earmarked for design and construction.

Who is paying for the memorial?

The costs associated with the design, construction and ongoing maintenance of the memorial sit with Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

What process was followed in selecting the site for the National Erebus Memorial?

Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage began working with Auckland Council in mid-2018 to identify a site that would be appropriate for the National Erebus Memorial. Feedback from the Erebus families showed a clear preference for a peaceful park-like setting.

Several sites were looked at before Dove-Myer Robinson Park was selected as the best fit – central, accessible, park-like. Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei gave their support for the memorial to be built on the site. In November 2018, Waitematā Local Board gave their approval in principle as the landowner, subject to a series of criteria being met.

What criteria was the memorial design required to meet?

Waitematā Local Board required that the memorial:

  • blend with, and be sympathetic to, the natural environment
  • protect view shafts
  • maintain open space values
  • allow multiple uses of the area
  • be consistent with the heritage and mana whenua values of the park
  • accommodate current use types / patterns
  • increase the use levels of this area of the park
  • provide additional amenity value.

What was the process for selecting the design Te Paerangi Ataata - Sky Song?

Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage ran a national design competition to select the memorial concept, based on the site at Dove-Myer Robinson Park. The winning design, Te Paerangi Ataata- Sky Song, was chosen from six shortlisted options by an expert panel which included an architect, a landscape architect, an artist and an urban planner, as well as two representatives from the Erebus families.

Prior to it being confirmed, the preferred design was reviewed by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei and the Auckland Urban Design Panel, as well as the Waitematā Local Board who were satisfied that it met all the required criteria.

The winning design was announced in April 2019.

How big will the memorial be?

The National Erebus Memorial has a footprint of approximately 95 square metres. View a detailed plan of the site.

Will the selected memorial design be fully accessible?

The National Erebus Memorial is designed to be fully accessible to all who wish to visit it.

Will any of the heritage trees at Dove-Myer Robinson Park be affected?

The National Erebus Memorial poses no risk to the heritage trees in its vicinity at Dove-Myer Robinson Park. These trees have been of paramount consideration throughout the design process. The memorial access path has been designed specifically to avoid any impact on the large pohutukawa at the southern end of the memorial site. 

The memorial plans have been reviewed by an independent arborist as well as the Council’s arborist. Their advice has been adhered to and the Ministry will continue to consult with the Council’s arborist throughout the construction stage.

Does the memorial have resource consent?

Resource consent for National Erebus Memorial was granted by Auckland Council on 18 March 2020. The decision was made by Independent Commissioner Ian Munro.

Why was the resource consent application not notified?

Under the Resource Management Act, decisions about whether a resource consent application needs to be publicly notified are made by the relevant local authority. In the case of the National Erebus Memorial, Auckland Council referred the application to an independent commissioner.

The Commissioner reviewed the Ministry’s application and decided that it could proceed on a non-notified basis because he was satisfied that no one would be adversely affected, and there would be no more than a minor impact on the park itself.

What other consents are needed before the project can proceed?

In addition to resource consent, the Ministry also needs archaeological authority from Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga and landowner approval from Waitematā Local Board.

The Ministry is currently working towards securing archaeological authority. At the end of January 2020, an archaeologist undertook an assessment of the proposed site at Dove-Myer Robinson Park to investigate whether there is anything of archaeological significance that would affect our ability to build the memorial in this location.  A summary and the full archaeological report are available here.

This report will form a key part of the Ministry’s application to Heritage New Zealand.  

Once this archaeological authority is in place, the Ministry will submit its application for final landowner approval to the Waitematā Local Board.

Alongside these regulatory processes, Manatū Taonga has offered to work with Auckland Council, Parnell Heritage and Parnell Community Committee, amongst others, on signage within Dove-Myer Robinson Park and how interpretation, particularly of the history of the park, can be improved.

Wasn’t the memorial supposed to be finished by May 2020?

Early on in the project, it had been hoped the National Erebus Memorial could be completed by May 2020. This was always an ambitious target. Several stages of the memorial development, particularly around the regulatory processes, have taken longer than anticipated meaning this timeline could not be achieved. The Ministry understands these delays are disappointing to the families of the Erebus victims.

When is the memorial expected to be complete?

Construction of the National Erebus Memorial will begin once all the necessary approvals and consents are in place. Construction will take approximately six months.

How much money has the Ministry spent on the development of the National Erebus Memorial to date?

To the end of April 2020, just over $1 million has been spent on the development of the National Erebus Memorial.

I have a friend or a relative who died in the Erebus accident. How can I be involved?

Family members have been involved at various points throughout the design process for the National Erebus Memorial. As the planning for the memorial progresses, Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage would like to hear from anyone with a connection to the Erebus accident. Email: [email protected]

I live near the memorial site. How can I keep up to date?

Regular updates on the memorial development project will be posted here.

If you would like to be added to the project email list, please contact us at: [email protected]

If you have any questions, you can also contact us at: [email protected]

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Updated on 8th May 2020